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Thread: Optimum thickness of sheet for sweat soldering

  1. #1
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    Default Optimum thickness of sheet for sweat soldering

    Hi folks, I havenít been making much for the last few months as work has been really busy but Iíve been back at my workbench last week for a birthday present.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Iím mostly happy with it as itís my first proper attempt at sweat soldering (the polish is now much better than this pic!) but I had a few problems so thought Iíd ask the collective for some tips.

    I used 0.7mm sterling, partly because itís for a guy & I didnít want it to look too delicate but mostly because it was what I had available. I used hard solder to attach the wave as I also needed to solder a bail of some sort on the back.

    My mini torch just about coped with it but it took a fair bit of heating. What do you think would be the optimum thickness of sheet and is it better to have the pieces the same thickness or different?

    Would I have done better to do the bail first in hard then use easy for the sweat solder?
    And are these problems fixed just by having a better torch?
    Hazel

  2. #2
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    Hi Hazel and welcome back. You have really answered your own questions:
    As a piece gets bigger, you will need more heat or an easier solder to get the solder flowing.
    You would have had a better time fixing on the ball with hard first and sweating the front with easy solder after.

    Many of us skip medium silver solder as being difficult to use and if I have used easy extensively, I might even go on to extra easy next.

    If your torch is not doing its thing after thirty or forty seconds, its best not to continue along that route, because you will get more firescale and risk damage to your piece. That is when you use a bigger torch, or two torches one in each hand, or easier solder. Dennis.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Hi Hazel and welcome back. You have really answered your own questions:
    As a piece gets bigger, you will need more heat or an easier solder to get the solder flowing.
    You would have had a better time fixing on the ball with hard first and sweating the front with easy solder after.

    Many of us skip medium silver solder as being difficult to use and if I have used easy extensively, I might even go on to extra easy next.

    If your torch is not doing its thing after thirty or forty seconds, its best not to continue along that route, because you will get more firescale and risk damage to your piece. That is when you use a bigger torch, or two torches one in each hand, or easier solder. Dennis.
    That's a lovely brooch Hazel.

    I remember someone posting on here that medium solder was the work of the Devil and have avoided it since then. Thanks for the tip about the 30-40 seconds Dennis.
    Jules

  4. #4
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    Just to mention do you have a large tip for your torch a 7 or a rose tip, the rose tip will easily melt Silver for casting if used sparingly can also be used to solder larger pieces .

    P.S. What am I doing wrong I have never experienced the "medium solder syndrome", then again these days when using Silver I work almost exclusively with Argentium maybe this does not have the problem.

  5. #5
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    I've recently started using Argentium and find the "medium hard" Argentium solder much nicer than the medium sterling solder. Having said that, I really struggled with soft Argentium solder and have given up using it for now.

  6. #6
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    I find the soft Argentium solder a breeze to use, it flows so quick it is scary, one thing I have stopped using is the liquid Argentium flux just doesn't seem to be much good.

  7. #7
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    I remember someone posting on here that medium solder was the work of the Devil and have avoided it since then. Thanks for the tip about the 30-40 seconds Dennis.[/QUOTE]

    It was when I was learning to solder Bob and I made the mistake of trying it out with medium solder, which wouldn't flow. I then went onto easy, but now use hard for 90% of my work. Having said that I am told that medium is commonly used with gold...?
    Jules

  8. #8
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    I’ve never used medium, I’ve always stuck to easy & hard because folks here said it was tricky and I don’t generally have lots of separate joints in a single piece where I’d need a greater range.

    Thanks for the nice comments, I’m quite pleased with the design though there’s room for improvement in my execution of it ��
    Re thickness of sheet, what sort of size would you choose for this sort of piece?
    Hazel

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by china View Post
    I find the soft Argentium solder a breeze to use, it flows so quick it is scary, one thing I have stopped using is the liquid Argentium flux just doesn't seem to be much good.
    Good to know. Thanks Bob

  10. #10
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    When I did my training the rule was hard medium easy solder and I can’t ever remember having a problem with medium but I did use a borax cone and now auflux. It wasn’t until I joined my first forum 10 years ago that everyone complained about medium solder and I haven’t used it since. I must try it again just to see how I get on!

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