Monday, October 22, 2007

How to Solder Silver - Tips for the Complete Novice

When I was first interested in learning to solder silver, I was very intimidated by the range of the enterprise not to advert the flame. So I started very little with few outlooks about the results. My greatest tip for the novitiate is to not anticipate it to travel the manner you believe it should. Take your clip and larn what it will actually make and not do. Be prepared to run things beyond repair. You larn your best lessons from your worst mistakes.

For my first modest raid into Ag soldering, I bought: A butane powered mini-torch; a periclase soldering block; easy solder in wire form; a few 18 gauge, unfastened leap rings (8 or 9mm are easiest to manage at first); pickle; Cu pair of tongs and flux. You will also necessitate a jar of H2O for quenching, safety goggles, a brace of heatless pincers and a brace of wire cutters. Always wear safety goggles.

To begin, put your periclase block (I prefer these to wood coal because of the lesser cost, they take less clip to heat up and they chill faster) in an unfastened country with nil burnable around it. Push back your arms if they are long and necktie back your hair as well, if it is long. It is a good thought to familiarise yourself with the operation of the torch before soldering your first leap ring. Bend it on and off respective modern times until you can do it easily.

Take a clean leap ring and make certain that the ends line up exactly and that they are touching each other. Solder will do a fall in solid, but it will not fill up gaps. Use flux to the topographic point you desire to join. When the solder runs it will follow the fire and flowing where the flux is. Make not set flux anywhere you make not desire the solder to go.

A few words about fluxes are in order. There are a batch to take from. I utilize either a paste flux or a liquid flux depending on what I desire to do. Flux have two purposes; to assist the solder flowing and to assist protect your Ag from firescale. When you heat energy your sterling to soldering temperatures, you convey some of the Cu in the metal (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper) to the surface. The Cu is essentially what do sterling Ag maculate so rapidly and is responsible for the firescale. Firescale demoes itself as a achromatic coating on the surface of your sterling. A figure of "how-to's" on Ag soldering volition state you to flux the full piece in order to restrict the firescale. But this sometimes make the solder travel where you do not desire it and it is not always merriment trying to take the solder later. Paste flux remains where you set it and liquid makes not always remain put. But paste flux can go very difficult and glassy after warming and necessitates more than clip in the pickle to get rid of it all. You really will not have got a job with your first leap ring soldering undertaking and may utilize any type of flux that you like, but these are a few things to retrieve for later; if there is a later. I caught the "bug" right off and haven't regretted it.

Now, take your wire stonecutters and cut off a little piece of easy solder. About an 1/8 of an inch should be more than than enough. Topographic Point the solder on the periclase block. Topographic Point the fall in of the leap ring on top of the solder so that it constitutes a cross. Bend off any direct lighting on your work country and usage only room lighting. Light your torch. Bring the torch slowly closer to the leap ring so as not to blow the leap ring off of the solder.

If you are using a paste flux and you put the leap ring quickly down upon the solder, you can allow it dry a spot and the two will lodge together. If you are using a liquid flux, make as I recommended in the former paragraph.

By not brightly illuminating your work, you will be better able to see the alterations in colour of the flux and the metallic element as it heats. Learning about these colour alterations now will assist you later when you do bigger projects.

When the country of the periclase block that the leap ring is resting on and the leap ring and solder range the thaw point of the solder, the solder will flow. Travel the fire around the perimeter of the leap ring. As you see it begin to turn pinkish, dressed ore the fire mostly on the join. You will see the leap ring driblet degree onto the surface of the block and you will see the solder go very glistening and flowing up the join. You will have got to look speedy for that last part. Remove the fire as soon as you see those two things happen. Leave the fire too long and you will run your leap ring into a nice ball. When I first made this error, I then had a batch of merriment devising balls from bit silver. They can be utile in some designs. Also, retrieve that the solder will follow the flame, so take the fire away consecutive up; not sideways. Otherwise, the solder will follow the fire over the leap ring and coat portion of your ring.

A speedy word about heat energy sinks. Everything your work touchings soakages up the heat energy of the fire and takes it away from your work; including the air in the room. Never seek to solder anything together by hanging it in the air. I cognize one individual who tried this and failed. You can not (and make not desire to) heat energy all the air in your work room to soldering temperatures.

Pick up the leap ring with the heatless pincers and dunk shot it in the quenching water. It will hissing and tongue a bit. Dry the leap ring and inspect the join. A little hunk at the fall in is acceptable. A big hunk is not, unless you desire to do it a designing element. Ideally, the joined topographic point should not be obvious. It will take some experimentation with the different estimates of wire and amounts of solder to acquire to the point where you can do a nearly unseeable join.

Take your Cu pair of tongs and topographic point the leap ring in the pickle solution. Pickle is basically a hebdomad acid that volition bend the Cu firescale into a achromatic coating that tin be easily polished off. Bash not drop it into the pickle. Even though it is a relatively weak acid, it will still fire you and set holes in your clothes. Not immediately, though. They be given to demo up after you rinse them. You must utilize Cu pair of tongs because any ferrous (iron bearing) metallic element that come ups in contact with the solution will electrolyze it and you will stop up plating Cu onto your silver. Remove the leap ring with the Cu pair of tongs also. Rinse it well in your quenching water. Or have got a jar of H2O with baking sodium carbonate added to it standing by to completely neutralize the acid.

If you make not desire a hard, bright, glistening gloss on your leap rings, you can utilize a brass brushwood to take the achromatic coating. Dip a soft brass brushwood in a solution of dish soap and H2O and thoroughly rub the leap ring. The soap maintains brass from depositing on the silver. If you desire a bright shine, you will have got to utilize a buffing wheel of some kind charged with a shining compound.

Even person who have been soldering Ag for a long clip can larn something new; usually the difficult way. Recently, I learned that you can not solder brass to sterling silver. I did some research and learned why. Brass is an metal of Cu and zinc. Silver solder is an metal of mulct silver, Cu and zinc. So, if you are trying to solder brass to sterling, the Zn and Cu in the brass bend the sterling Ag to solder, basically. And it just looks like a mess. You can, however, solder Cu to sterling Ag as I have got done, without this problem. Also, you can solder Cu to brass. I was trying to compound copper, sterling and brass with no fortune at all.

So have got some fun. Get out there and visible light that torch! In no clip you will be moving on to larger and better things.

1 comment:

Vinod said...
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