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Welding gold without solder

Hello all: I have a friend up north that has asked me a question I
don’t know much about. She told me her boss said he had a jeweler
that never uses solder. My question is, Does anyone out there not
use solder for sizing gold or silver? Is it possible and practical
to fuse all sizings? The only fusing I have ever done is with

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA

Michael, I’ve taught myself to weld sizings. Whether or not you
get porosity in the joint seems to be in how fast you can
recognise that the joint has fused. That is, it’s all in the heat
of your flame. Too oxidizing (too hot) and you boil the metal and
pump Oxygen into the joint. Too reducing and you take too long to
fuse increasing fire scale and maybe heating too large an area
and slumping the weld. United’s #57 Sterling also works with this
technique. Try it, You’ll like it. ( After a little practice)
Chuck Hunner, waxman

Hi Michael: I do almost all of my size work by fusing, excluding
old rings with many solder joints. I use a little torch,ox and
acetylene, a #5 tip and a hot sharp flame. I do not use any
extra flux, just a strong mixture of boric acid and alcohol. 14 k
yellow seems to work the best but I have did this on 14kw,18ky&w
but do not bother with silver. Most of our SS rings have that
heavy plating we have been talking about and that makes it too
much trouble to mess with. I use do it just like soldering. I
take a small ball of gold, from the same ring if going down, set
it on top and fuse away. Most common sized rings of quality can
be fused even before the alcohol burns completely off, leaving
the bottom of the ring quite cool. It is quite handy thing to do.
Many ring sets come back to be soldered together after weddings
and you never have to worry about solder seams popping. I use
fusing in many other areas too like basket head modification for
off shaped stones, no seams to open when soldering to other
pieces, assembly of many tube style heads into clusters and many
other jobs that require assembly work. If you fuse your first
parts the latter ones can be put together with hard solder.
Practice and the characteristics of your torch are the key.
Michael Chapman OZ[Kansas]

Michael–If the temp needed for fusing is higher than that
needed for soldering (in granulation, all fusing has to be done
before any soldering is done) don’t you run into trouble with
soldered seams? Also, Fine Silver is wonderful for fusing.

 My question is, Does anyone out there not use solder for
sizing gold or silver? Is it possible and practical to fuse all
sizings? The only fusing I have ever done is with platinum


I have a friend who has a shop and does just that. He feels very
strongly that no solder should be used when sizing anything. He
does very nice work and I usually don’t try to change his mind. I
always fuse certain things, like pits in castings. I will usually
use tiny wires (22-24 gauge). I heat the casting up to just
sweating, then ball up the wire to the size of the blemish
needing filling, then touch the two together, cut the wire with
the torch and melt the bead smoothly into the mounting (usually
leaving a little hump). I think its much better than using solder
in this case.

Sizing is another matter. I think its much more efficient to use
solder, its faster and its neater. I also think its just as
strong as fusing. Fusing is much more tricky, and I think you are
risking melting a little more than you might want to.

My friend does beautiful work, but he is pretty slow. I have
told him that he could get more done if he wouldn’t choose the
most complicated method possible to get a relatively simple task
accomplished. He thinks he is right and I respect that, maybe he

Mark P
Wisconsin where the daffodils are a’bloomin’.

You can do without solder, but you’ll change (because you melt!)
the surface into something like the moon’s landscape…it is
nice, though. I sometimes make this kind of rough-looking
jewelry. I don’t know how it works with hydrozone apparatus, but
that jeweler might have meant this: nowadays one can use
laser-soldering machines for a lot of purposes, especially for
soldering delicate or antique pieces or pieces with delicate
stones, because the piece doesn’t get hot except the very
soldering spot. >