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Torch Work Problem


#1

Hello all, I have been following the torch work advice and have been
finding it very helpful, thank you all for sharing. I would like to
share a problem that I am having that has me at wits end. I am a
beginning jeweler so please bear with my simple basic question.

I am in the process of making a 30 mm circular copper pendant with
sterling overlay. I am trying to attach a sterling bail to the
pendant, unsuccessfully I might add. The pendant is made of 18-gauge
copper and the bail is a 5 mm wide sterling strip also 18 gauge. I
made a loop at the top of the sterling strip and want to connect on
the other side of the strip end to end with the top of the pendant,
so that it was flush with the pendant. I had it soldiered on, but
when I had just finished polishing the piece, the strip broke off at
the joint between the pendant and the strip. I had filed and fitted
the strip so that the joint was a perfect fit to the pendant with
the radius and used easy soldier due to the other elements of the
piece having been attached with hard and medium soldier.

So in short my question is can two piece of the same gauge sheet be
attached end to end without any overlapping? Or is the soldier not
strong enough for an end to end joint such as this one resulting in
what will always be a weak joint? Thus eventually always breaking at
the soldier joint over time. Or is there something that I may be
doing wrong? I hope I was able to draw a clear enough picture with
words for all to understand my ill-fated attempt.

Thanks in Advance
Joe


#2
  So in short my question is can two piece of the same gauge sheet
be attached end to end without any overlapping? Or is the soldier
not strong enough for an end to end joint such as this one
resulting in what will always be a weak joint? 

Hi Joe, Yes you can solder same gauge sheet end to end and the
solder is strong enough to do it successfully. I think what happened
is that you never had a solid solder join. It may have looked okay
on the surface but the solder didn’t fully flow. I would guess that
the copper was not as hot as it needed to be. Or perhaps the butt
ends of the metal were not as clean as they should have been.

Beth


#3

When soldering on copper, it is also imperative to have a heavy-duty
flux, and to make every effort to get the piece up to soldering heat
fast. Copper oxidizes very readily, so you are running a race
between flowing the solder and saturating your flux with crud. I use
Stay-Silv paste flux, which is made for plumbers (and thus for
copper soldering) and it works well for me.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com