Using fine silver

Hi all, After reading some of your comments a while back, I’ve decided
to play with fine silver for a while, so naturally I now have
questions. Do you use solder, and if so, IT? How much does it show?
Can it be welded, and if so what’s the technique (e.g. high heat
small flame, flux/no flux, etc.). Thanks.

I guess I ought to check the archives. I’m just so lazy and asking
is so easy. MP

Hi Michael. In my work I use fine silver much of the time. If the
piece is to be enameled I use IT solder, but for all other work I use
regular silver solder–hard, medium and easy as required. No
problems with any discoloration, as I use the minimum amount of
solder—just enough to get the job done. Cheers, Alma.

Hi Michael,

Use conventional silver solders. The only time I’ve really ever heard
of IT solder being used is when something is going to be subsequently
subjected to high (near melting point) heat, like cloisonne


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)


last year i learned how to make enamelled beads by enamelling joined
domed disks of fine silver. in the workshop we used IT solder to join
the domes. the pieces were soldered on a charcoal block using a
simple propane torch. however, i prefer now to use propylene, or
brazing fuel, for a hotter flame and shorter soldering time. repeated
heatings after revealed grey spots of solder. we filed these away and
repeated until no spots occured. i wonder if it would have helped to
use a solder repellent to prevent the spread. a goldsmith acquaintance
said to me that there was an additional benefit the extra heatings; it
made the solder harder. I presume it is because the heat drives out
the zinc (it has a relatively low vapour pressuRe: at 100 mm Hg,
Hg-260, Zn-730, Ag-1850, and Cu-2190 degrees C; source CRC Handbook
section D-211). in any case we could put the soldered domes into the
kiln at 1400 deg F without them falling apart. To hide the seam, we
placed a bezel around it. and you still need to use flux, because both
the filler and base metals will create oxides at the heat necessary to
liquify the IT solder.

Hi all:

The enameled bead is a passion of mine and I have experimented with
many processes using fine silver. I have riveting the bead halves
together. I have also used IT solder with fine silver, as well as
regular hard solder (which I can get away with since I fire at 1375
degrees F.) and the clean up mentioned by David. Instead of solder I
prefer to fuse the silver halves together. I like to use transparent
enamels and it saves time and I get a whole bead affect. It is very
important when fusing the two halves together to make sure they are
fused completely, no separations, or the halves will start to separate
at the weak point and that makes for it’s own set of problems.

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
Willits, CA