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Thread: 14k rose gold soldering struggle - advice needed!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    3

    Unhappy 14k rose gold soldering struggle - advice needed!

    Hello all!
    I have been silversmithing (usually only silver, sometimes copper and brass) for a couple years but was recently commissioned to make a simple wedding band in 14k rose gold (with 7.8k rose gold solder).
    I'm having a lot of trouble with the join (on a plain band!! ridiculous, I know!) and it's really making me question my skill (or lack thereof?!).
    It's my first time using gold in any form, so I'm positive there are things I need to know that I didn't find in my research prior to commencing the job.
    It's quite a thick band at 1.5mm (5.5mm width) which I believe is not helping the matter, it's been increasingly hard to get two flush sides for the perfect join (any tips for this also welcome!!).
    I am welcoming any tips, tricks and advice, as I'm beginning to worry a bit! I don't want to ruin this piece of gold as I can't face a disappointed customer or the hundreds of dollars I'll lose.
    I need a win!! Please help!!

    Thanks in advance,
    Elly

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
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    7,546

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    This should not be a struggle, so take a deep breath.

    Check on a block, that the solder you have will actually flow when heated. Best to use strip and avoid paste

    To match the ends, anneal the ring and push the ends together using two pliers if necessary. Do remember that removing 1.00mm of metal will reduce the ring by approximately one size, so do as little of this as possible. A ring stretcher is a great asset for making good any loss without hammer marks.

    The next most common reason for failure after useless solder is that the ends of the ring pull apart when heated. You can help by tying binding wire across the ring and by heating at a place remote from the joint, until the metal becomes hot before homing in on the solder.
    It also helps to work in a darkened place, to judge how it is coming along, and not to use a very fierce flame. it should also be done within a minute or so, and not need prolonged heating.

    If in doubt , practice with copper wire first. Dennis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    3

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    Thanks so much for your response, I really appreciate it.

    I'm going to test the solder tomorrow as well as buying some binding wire.

    I'm so worried about the integrity of the metal as I've already attempted the join a few times and it has gone from hot to cold repeatedly as well as being bent all over the place. Will this have much effect on the finished product?
    It's also appearing very yellow gold at the moment, is this just copper missing from the outer layers due to heat & pickle? Can I file it back down to the desired pink gold? Hoping so!!

    Again I really appreciate the response, I really needed a helping set of eyes (ears?!).

    Many thanks, Elly

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
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    You need only file away pitted metal, but bear in mind that you will be reducing the ring size. If you consider it too damaged, continue to use it for experimentation, but ultimately return it to your dealer for scrap and buy new.
    At Cooksons you can return mixed metal scrap (for instance gold and silver) and pay only one assay fee.
    The loss of copper should only be very superficial and the colour return with normal polishing. Unless you are brilliant at filing, you will destroy the pristine contours and have an imperfect result. Dennis.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    3

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    I got my join yesterday! I upped the amount of solder used as I don't mind spending a bit of extra time tidying up after.
    Thankfully I ordered the gold thicker than what I needed as I assumed I would need a little bit of leeway for my first time.
    It's looking good!
    Thanks again for your words, appreciate it. Feeling much better about it all. (and now know for next time!)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    7,546

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    Well done. It proves we can beat a piece of metal into submission any time. Dennis.

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