Silver Solder Question??
Q: I am brand new to silver work, and wondered if anyone could give me their
preferences about silver solder. I will be doing small work (like links and
chains,) and I have a tiny torch. I found a solder/flux paste in the Rio
Grande catalog--is that good for a beginner? Any comments or suggestions would
be very appreciated.
A:I teach all my students to never use any thing but hard solder for sterling silver, for every project, every solder joint. I do not recommend paste flux/solder because you will always have flux and solder every place you put it. I spray on Dixon's flux to coat the whole piece and then put solder only on the solder joints. I have two reasons that I teach this method, one is that the most important function of flux is too keep oxygen away from the surface to be soldered. There fore I want it covering the entire surface to protect in from oxidation. This promotes easier soldering and less fire scale or fire coat. But just as nearly important is that I teach my students to watch the flux as a temperature indicator, as to when the solder will flow. Dixon's flux will melt in to small brown "syrupy" puddles just before the hard solder flows. It is an important indicator to begin to raise your torch farther away from the piece to control the surface temperature of the piece. Because I teach only to use hard solder, this is important for good torch control, with out melting the piece. I would like to invite you to visit my web site at: http://www.frii.com/~dnorris Especially these two tips pages. http://www.frii.com/~dnorris/mar99tip.html http://www.frii.com/~dnorris/sept99tip.html I teach all my students to never use any thing but hard solder for sterling silver, for every project, every solder joint. It makes better jewelry, becomes easier to use than easy and medium solders, and will be faster to use (more profitable) than those two lower melting point solders. I realize this may be contrary to most opinions, but all the jewelry on my site was made with only hard solder by beginning students. Even more amazing to some is that they were all solder together with only a $10.00 propane torch from the hardware store. Which means that when the students step up to a better torch, they are really experts at soldering. In the mean time this $10.00 torch can make them thousands of dollars of very profitable jewelry. I also teach a 12 week Online Beginning Silversmithing Class that may be of help. You can find information about the class at: http://www.frii.com/~dnorris/homesilversmithing.html
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