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Thread: Soldering Gold and Sterling silver...

  1. #1
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    Default Soldering Gold and Sterling silver...

    Hello All,

    Wondering if any one can help! I am making a men's wedding ring using sterling silver and 9ct gold. The design is predominantly silver with two fine strips of gold. I have never tried inlaying so I thought I would make it in strips of metal and solder them all together....Is this a good idea? and doe's anyone have any tip's on soldering gold and silver together. Any help would be much appreciated. Thankyou, Sophie.

  2. #2
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    If I understand you correctly the finished ring will have two or more bands of gold and silver. If I were doing this I would join the wires as a flat strip and then turn that into a ring.
    1. Make sure the different wires are perfectly straight by annealing and stretching hard. They should lie side by side without gaps.
    2. Make sure the edges are bevelled at least on the side which shows, so that there are grooves when you are finished. This helps to control the flow of solder. It also helps if you push a row of pins into your soldering block to steady one side of the assembly. Then lay out your wires upside down, apply Auflux and solder from the back using small pallions of silver solder.
    3. Once you have completed your composite strip, and made your ring, the grooves can be accented by running a fine saw blade along them, used back to front as a file.
    This is not a beginners project, if you want it done well, so practice with cheap metals first.

    Alternatively you could start with a simple silver wedding band made from a strip, force on two tight gold rings made from thin round wire, and then solder them on. But the result might not be as neat. Good luck Sophie, Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 04-11-2011 at 12:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Hello Dennis,

    Thankyou so much for your detailed advice it has been a great help but what I am finding difficult now is to get the solder to melt without heating the gold up too much! I am using auflux and easy silver solder. It just wont melt!!! Im thinking maybe the metal isnt clean enough? could this be the problem? Am i right in that you can dip the piece in alchol first then light it to prepare it?...Any further advice would be so great!

    Many thanks,


    Sophie

  4. #4
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    Sophie,
    Clean the metals by annealing and pickling or use a scraper or glass fibre bush, any heat treatment without pickling before fluxing will leave a surface that solder does not like to flow on.
    Remember to scrape clean the solder also. I am not sure what your skill or experience levels are. Also I cannot picture the job you are attempting. If you are soldering standard 9ct to silver using easy silver solder then don't worry about overheating the gold, the melting point of easy silver solder is about 700 to 730 degrees and the melting point of standard 9ct is about 850 degrees so if cleaned and fluxed correctly the silver solder will flow long before the 9ct gold will. Cleanliness is important and don't forget to clean the solder. I use a small scraper that was made from an old broken three square needle file that has it's teeth ground off, for cleaning solder joints and solders before fluxing, I also only use a plain old borax cone and borax plate as a fluxing agent.
    Practice on something other than the ring first as dennis suggested.
    Good luck,
    James

  5. #5
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    Hi James,

    Thankyou very much for your advice. I have annealed and pickled the metal first. I didn't clean the solder first, so I will do this. Also maybe I am being abit reluctant with the heat. I was just so worried about melting the gold. Maybe I will try it with borax aswell other than the auflux! Thankyou, i will give it another go!

    Many thanks,

    Sophie

  6. #6
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    Hi James,
    I have just read your note to Sophie about cleanliness. I cut a little pile of solder and keep it in a small jamjar like the ones that hold about a teaspoonful or so. The solder does tend to oxidise a little but not much, should I put a small amount of pickle in with it to keep it clean, and should you sand or file the bit to be soldered if it comes out from the pickle, or can you just solder it straight from the pickle. Like Sophie I have made some gold balls for decoration on things and soldered them without a problem.
    Regards, Pat

  7. #7
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    Hi Pat,
    First did you see the note I left you about using clamps when soldering after your last question on the other forum.
    My pickle is a sulphuric acid solution of 4 parts water to 1 part acid, and I solder items OK straight from the pickle after washing off any pickle residue in clean water.
    I also cut small pallions of solder for use, but I only cut about 10 pallions at a time, I keep mine in small plastic boxes that I are sold for storing gems. Dirty solder does not stop it melting, but it may stop it running smoothly. I would not add pickle to your solder pallions, keep them dry, just don't pre cut so many. It is usually just fresh air that oxydizes silver so an air tight plastic bag will keep it clean.
    James

  8. #8
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    Not particularly to do with the making as per this thread but has anyone else blinked a bit when the silver with a bit of gold comes back from hallmarking with a note ..'and metal'? harsh!

  9. #9
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    Hi James
    I did see your clamps note, and I responded too, the only stainless steel I have in the house at the moment is a few old kitchen tools, but they are the right thickness so I may have a bash at making some of them. Thanks for the website address tho, if I cant make them with what I have at the moment I will order a sheet. Make do and mend generation I'm afraid. I have copied the pics into another folder so that I can use them as a reference. I have ordered the sash bolts, just need to contact woodworker friend to see if he has any hardwood, and I am sure hubby wont notice a small chunk of his chamois go missing.
    Pat

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