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Thread: Enamelling & solder

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, UK
    Posts
    188

    Default Enamelling & solder

    Hi everyone.

    I'm new to the forums but have been reading the threads on here for quite some time. I have searched the internet for an answer to my question and everyone seems to have different ideas but I was hoping there might be someone who could give me some advice.

    I have recently started enamelling, something I have been meaning to try for years but procrastination seems to have got in the way. I have read Linda Darty's 'The art of enameling' from cover to cover and it is excellent.I have had great success so far. I started practicing on copper then naturally progressed onto fine silver and sterling silver (after depletion gilding) and I have used just a basic Clarke butane torch which works surprisingly well (this has been my trusty torch for small work for years, it's excellent). I have just been creating pieces that do not require any further hot connections, either pieces to be attached with a jump ring or riveted and everything has worked very well. However, I would really like to make some simple silver flower stud earrings and introduce some colour using enamel. I am planning on doming the flower shapes and then emamelling the surface but I am curious whether I should solder the flower to the earrings post before enamelling using a hard/enamel solder, or wait until the piece is successfully enamelled and then solder the post on with an easy solder. I am generally reluctant to use easy solder for earrings posts but I'm also hesitant to solder before enamelling as I don't want the solder to re-flow. I did have a go at soldering a post onto an enamelled flower the other day and the solder just wouldn't flow, maybe I hadn't cleaned the piece properly, and the enamel lost its lustre. In Linda Darty's book she states that she prefers to solder afterwards and completely refire the enamel at the same time but I feel this would be very awkward when trying to solder an earring post onto the back of a tiny component while it's upside down and you can't see the enamelled surface.

    Any thoughts/tips would be greatly appreciated, I know there are a couple of absolutely wonderful enamellists on here. Just to clarify, I use WG Ball jewellery enamels and fire them with my butane torch using a trivet or a steel mesh (depending on the piece) for support.

    Thanks so much in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    3,172

    Default

    Hi and welcome.

    I have no problem soldering on the back of enamelled silver but it's best if the piece hasn't been pickled as that's why you lost the lustre. For a small piece I use easy solder. If you solder a post on first it would definitely come off unless you could find a way to hold it in place - you can use fibreboard with the wires stuck into it, but if you torch fire you need to direct the flame underneath, so that wouldn't work for you. My enamelled flowers have been a mainstay of my business for about 10 years and they did take a while to perfect.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, UK
    Posts
    188

    Default

    Thanks so much for your reply.

    I had a feeling that might be the best way but at the time I just couldn't get the solder to flow, partly because I was scared of overheating the little flower and mostly because the surface to be soldered had been cleaned and prepared in a rush so wasn't ideal. I'll definitely give it another go and see if it works. If not, then I'll have to see if I can think up some sort of way to stand the (pre soldered) earrings up and secure them while still being able to fire from underneath. At the moment these flowers are way too tiny to support on any of my trivets so I use a steel mesh held about 10cm above my soldering block with a 3rd hand. Time to experiment some more. I am only doing the most basic of enamelling at the moment but the results are so gratifying.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, UK
    Posts
    188

    Default

    Oh! I forgot to say, I stumbled across your website quite a while back and your work is beautiful. I didn't see your flower earrings until today but they are so dainty and elegant. I love the little silver granules in the middle of the flower. Do you fuse these to the enamel? I was trying to think of a way to add some little stamen to my flowers but I wasn't sure whether soldering them on before enamelling would be a good idea as I heard that enamel and solder are not the best of buddies. Do you think it would be possible to fuse them to the molten enamel while firing?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    4

    Default Enamel solder

    Quote Originally Posted by silken View Post
    Hi everyone.

    I'm new to the forums but have been reading the threads on here for quite some time. I have searched the internet for an answer to my question and everyone seems to have different ideas but I was hoping there might be someone who could give me some advice.

    I have recently started enamelling, something I have been meaning to try for years but procrastination seems to have got in the way. I have read Linda Darty's 'The art of enameling' from cover to cover and it is excellent.I have had great success so far. I started practicing on copper then naturally progressed onto fine silver and sterling silver (after depletion gilding) and I have used just a basic Clarke butane torch which works surprisingly well (this has been my trusty torch for small work for years, it's excellent). I have just been creating pieces that do not require any further hot connections, either pieces to be attached with a jump ring or riveted and everything has worked very well. However, I would really like to make some simple silver flower stud earrings and introduce some colour using enamel. I am planning on doming the flower shapes and then emamelling the surface but I am curious whether I should solder the flower to the earrings post before enamelling using a hard/enamel solder, or wait until the piece is successfully enamelled and then solder the post on with an easy solder. I am generally reluctant to use easy solder for earrings posts but I'm also hesitant to solder before enamelling as I don't want the solder to re-flow. I did have a go at soldering a post onto an enamelled flower the other day and the solder just wouldn't flow, maybe I hadn't cleaned the piece properly, and the enamel lost its lustre. In Linda Darty's book she states that she prefers to solder afterwards and completely refire the enamel at the same time but I feel this would be very awkward when trying to solder an earring post onto the back of a tiny component while it's upside down and you can't see the enamelled surface.

    Any thoughts/tips would be greatly appreciated, I know there are a couple of absolutely wonderful enamellists on here. Just to clarify, I use WG Ball jewellery enamels and fire them with my butane torch using a trivet or a steel mesh (depending on the piece) for support.

    Thanks so much in advance
    Hi There, have just started an interest in enamelling myself and someone has just let me know that you can buy solder particularly for enamelling as it has a higher melting temperature and will not re-flow when you are firing the enamel. You can buy some from either cooksongold.com product number CTV500 or on ebay. I just typed in enamel solder and there it was!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,121

    Default

    Hi Tanya, this thread was posted in 2012, by members long departed. However I hope you will stay on to reply to current aspiring enamellers as there seems to be a shortage of replies on this subject. Dennis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    4

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Hi Tanya, this thread was posted in 2012, by members long departed. However I hope you will stay on to reply to current aspiring enamellers as there seems to be a shortage of replies on this subject. Dennis
    Hi Dennis, obviously didn't check the date of the thread did I! There's plenty of great, interesting info here for all kinds of jewellers, aspiring or otherwise!!

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