Working with 14K double clad GF sheet

I’ve been asked to make a few of my sterling designs in 14K
double-clad GF. I annealed it to a dull red (what I had read was
proper) and put it in my pickle pot (new batch of sodium bisulfate
and water in a small crock pot). The gold came out as if partially
copper plated (about 60%-70% of the surface looks like copper). I
realize that gold is an alloy of gold, copper, and silver and that
the gold-fill has a brass core. Is this normal behavior or am I
doing something wrong? I can remove the copper using a brass brush
(and some flex shaft time) but am thinking I must be doing something
wrong. I have two separate pickle pots (one for this gold-fill, one
for sterling) but am using copper tongs in each.

Thanks in advance!


If this were silver that was copper plated, I would tell you to add
some hydrogen peroxide to some pickle and repickle the item.
However, you are using a bi metal and the gold may have alloyed into
the base metal. If you try the hydrogen peroxide and pickle mixture,
watch it closely. It’s a very strong pickle and will etch solder if
the item stays in it to long. I don’t measure amounts and find the
it works in five minutes or so.

Marilyn Smith

I have also recently started working in 14k double clad gold filled
sheet and noticed the exact same problems; even after tiring to clean
it up with some 400 grit 3-m bristle wheels. How aggressive can one
get on gold filled before polishing away the skin? I’m open to any
and all pointers on learning gold filled soldering and cleanup. I
feel good about my sterling skills but sure can use some improvement
on the final outcome of my gold filled work. I’m using plain old H+S
14k hard plumb solder.

Mark Kaplan

I called Rio today (where I had gotten the 14K double clad GF) and
talked to a tech support person (who was very helpful).

Two things I did wrong…

  1. Should have fluxed the entire piece of gold-fill prior to heating
    (I forgot to do this – I don’t usually do it on silver).

  2. Make sure that when I annealed the GF, the lights should have been
    dim in the studio so I could easily see when the first appearance of
    a dull red color. I should have stopped heating at that point. Since
    I had brighter lighting, I was unable to see the red until I had
    overheated the metal, causing the copper in the gold to oxidize. Same
    thing would have happened in any yellow gold alloy. It will have to
    be abrasively removed.