Working with gold-filled metal

Hi all. I just started using gold filled metal and I’m needing some

Can I use 600grit sandpaper on it. When I’m piercing it or working
with it in anyway it always gets a few scratches on it. Also I am
using a denatured alcohol and boric acid solution on it, but I’m
still getting firescale. Any suggestions on how to use this
metal…how annal retentive do I have to be?

Virginia Pledger
Virginia Leigh Designs

Hi Virginia,

Gold filled metal can withstand a little 600 grit sanding, but not
too much in fact very little… be careful.

Firescale can be polished off no problem and you are taking the
correct precautions.

It requires precision to get things aligned just so in order to
miminize the sanding steps with gold filled.

My experience is with repairing gold filled items. They require more
time and precision and are more problematic than solid alloys.

In many ways gold filled is false ecomony today. Solid 9ct gold is
more ecenomical to deal with than gold filled metal…9ct solid
gold will be far more productive and hold more value in the long
run. 14Ct is not much more expensive. Jump to 18ct and it’s a whole
new world!

No negatives intended, but gold filled is a very industrial process
compared to solid alloys.

Regards, Alastair

I, too, would be very interested in learning how to work with this
product. It is great for wire work but I have had very little luck
with soldering. Are there any tutorials out there, either from
manufacturers or wholesalers?


I completely agree with ALA, gold filled is falsely economical- far
better to order 8 kt from Karl Fisher GMbH in Pforzheim Germany,
even with the VAT and shipping you come out ahead cost wise for these
reasons: with filled material sheet- you must buy double clad,
unless you have a plating set up. so you are paying a premuim price
for 20% gold on a base metal that has to be sealed on the ends (i run
at least 10 karat HARD solder on the ends to seal it - but rely more
on colour matching in choosing the karat as i have had some fairly
rich yellow GF material in the past) with wire same deal, seal the
ends by slumping some solder, then heating the ends and dipping in a
borax based flux (after thoroughly drying a few coats of Cupronil on
the wire to prevent firescale) then in the melted solder to seal.
then work as your design dictates (no need to pickle at this point if
you don’t mind getting your hands dirty- but do remember to wipe your
tools down and protect them with a light oil coating after you’ve
completed your work piece. with the ends sealed there is no
contamination of the entire pickle pot from the brass or ferrous
metal base. If it is vermeil then there is no need to do any of
these steps but the gold is far thinner than a 20% fineness that is
the gold filled standard. after you complete your design and are
ready to finish- if a high polish is desired try using the 3M
tri-m-ite papers in 1200 grit and then the 10,000 and work up to
using the 3M radial bristle disc to polish (the light green 6 micron
style). Most compounds, polish etc on anything but a leather wheel on
your polishing motor are too abrasive for gold filled. With 8 Kt.
gold (or 9kt, 10kt etc) all of this additional care is completely
unnecessary and any polishing method you like can be employed. gold
filled, while readily available is not worth the expense given a fine
gold alternative at a lesser cost in many instances from online
vendors. rer