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Trouble wit overlay cuff bracelet


#1

Since I haven’t seen this show up in the forum in the lst couple of
days, I’m going to create another thread.

Thanks Richard for the rosebud tip suggestion. I tried it, but
produced another 50 grams of scrap. There was plenty of heat, but
the two pieces never seamed to want to have a good flat fit. I can
file a butt joint to a perfect fit, but I can’t figure out how to
make a larger flat surface perfectly flat, especially after applying
solder to one side first. Can anyone suggest a video or a book that
describes the various techniques for sweat soldering large pieces?
Also, is it normal to spend 30 minutes placing small pallions of
solder on the work piece?


#2
I can't figure out how to make a larger flat surface perfectly flat

One way of flattening out a larger piece of metal is to anneal it,
pickle it and lay it between two perfectly flat pieces of wood. You
can either hammer the wood with a mallet to flatten the metal without
damaging it, or put the ‘sandwich’ into a vise and keep tightening it
until you get the desired flatness.

Dee


#3
Can anyone suggest a video or a book that describes the various
techniques for sweat soldering large pieces? Also, is it normal to
spend 30 minutes placing small pallions of solder on the work
piece? 

I use some odd methods to solder. I use the stand that the wire mesh
goes on, a circle of steel with three legs like a tripod. I use
soldering tweezers to hold the two pieces of sheet silver in contact
with each other. I use three tweezers and locate them so they support
the bracelet in the opening of the circle with some area available
where the tweezers are not to start soldering the pieces together. I
heat from underneath, I get one area started, quench, I do not pickle
at this point. I reflux, solder some more and keep doing this until I
have pretty good contact around all edges, and then I put the piece
on a solder block with no tweezers and heat the whole piece from the
top till the solder runs all around the edge, adding solder till
there is no place around the edge that is not filled. If you do it
right, solder will be everywhere it should be and not where it
shouldn’t be. Solder all around the edges and then heat the whole
piece so you pull the solder toward the center. Check careful along
the way till you can see where the solder is and is not. I do use
paste flux and I flux both pieces till there is no place that the
flux has not touched, not to thick, not to thin…and I have used
wire solder, but I usually find it easier to use pallions. I either
have areas that will be cut away where I put the solder, or the
bottom sheet is thick enough to clean up where the solder was and
keep the surface flat. Probably because I have been soldering for 30
years, it only takes me a bout fifteen minutes to sweat solder the
pieces together. The last one I did both sheets were 18 guage. I
think you will have to be move careful with thinner sheet silver and
be more careful to make the sheets flat.

Richard Hart
Annealed metal, a flat metal surface and a dead blow hammer works for me.


#4

Kelly, Many of my students reach the point where they want to
overlay metal to make bracelets, etc. First, the Little Torch, which
I use extensively, just is not large enough for sweat-soldering
anything larger than roughly an inch or two sq. It is important to
heat the entire piece quickly and evenly. A propane plumbers torch
will do better than the Little Torch Ieven with a rose bud) in this
case. The procedure I teach follows:

  1. Clean metal thoroughly including light sanding of all surfaces.

  2. Use 18 ga metal for the base (though for some smaller pieces I
    allow 20 ga)

  3. Use 20 or 22 ga for the top piece. Do all piercing first.

  4. After piercing, clean the piece again and then pre-solder the
    bottom of the top piece. This includes complete coverage with Pripp’s
    flux (or other) followed by flooding the bottom of the top piece with
    cleaning flux such as Batterns, etc.

  5. Cover the bottom of top piece with either medium solder filings
    or pallions.

  6. With the top piece laying on a FLAT soldering block (charcol
    block is best) heat from above with large flame (a #3 Smith acetylene
    tip or equivelent) until the solder balls up and then flows.

  7. Pickle the top piece.

  8. On a piece of 240 or 360 paper laying on a flat surface, gently
    sand the side with the solder until it lays flat on the 18ga base.

  9. Build a bridge of two soldering blocks and a square of medium
    wire cloth (generally 14 ga stainless wire with 1/4" holes). The
    blocks are set so they form a ‘V’ and the wire reaches across the
    wide mouth part which should be positioned at the edge of a annealing
    pan to give easy access with a torch flame.

  10. Lay the 18 ga base on the wire and, after preparing it with flux
    as before, place the top piece on top solder down.

  11. Heat underneath using as large a flame as possible (at least a
    #3 acetylene tip). If the piece is large, use two torches. The object
    is to heat the entire piece to critical temperature as quickly and
    evenly as possible.

  12. When you see the solder flash at the edges, immediately remove
    the torch(s). Wait for 10-20 secs to allow the entire piece to reach
    an even heat and quench.

  13. On occasion, it might be necessary to use some medium wire
    solder to touch up a spot or two when the solder didn’t flow but
    normally this should not be required.

Hope that helps explain the process. Cheers from Don at The Charles
Belle Studio in SOFL where simple elegance IS fine jewelry!


#5

I sandwich silver sheets together all the time making inlay
bracelets. I solder 14-16 ga overlay on top of 22 ga. I do work to
make it flat as possible but while soldering and the solder is being
drawn between the sheets by capillary action, if there is a gap I
press it carefully down with my big solder pick. You have to be
careful as the silver is very fragile when it’s at soldering temp.
My big solder pick is a 10 ga titanium pointed rod with a handle. I
also free hand the solder feeding the wire in as it melts.

I still think your problem is not enough heat spread out over the
area of your bracelet. I use Presto-lite acetylene and air torch.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#6
I use soldering tweezers to hold the two pieces of sheet silver in
contact with each other. 

For what it’s worth, an alternative that isn’t a heat sink is to cut
sme small strips of titanium, an inch or less long (depending on the
job) and a few mm wide and bend them into bobby-pin shapes. That is
to say, bend them in the middle, almost flat together, with an
upward curve at one end like a money clip. Slip these over the edges
of two pieces to hold them together. You cannot solder them on even
if you tried. They only last a few uses (if you don’t lose them
right away) but they cost nearly nuthin if you have titanium sheet
around.

Noel