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Thread: Removing silver solder from copper sheet

  1. #1
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    Default Removing silver solder from copper sheet

    Hello and happy new year to everyone!

    I've been trying to solder some sterling silver wire to copper sheet, on one of my pieces I've used too much solder and it has overflowed onto the surface of the copper. Pretty please could someone give me some advice as to the best way to remove it, sandpaper doesn't seem to do much but I'm not sure about filing either? I'm worried about mucking up the surface of the copper as the solder is quite a thin layer that has spread a long way!

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Its not possible to do a professional job with that now, Claire. Filing away with the tip of a half round, or barrette needle file, will remove unwanted solder, but leave a groove.

    I would start again really, but to stop the solder running over, try to spread solder onto the wire first, helped with a soldering pick.

    Then lay it onto the copper and re-heat preferably from underneath so that the copper gets to soldering temperature. This is sweat soldering and should confine the visible solder to the wire, where it will blend in.

    Practice with scrap first. Dennis.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the advice Dennis, I had a feeling it was going to be a case of starting again. Annoying as it's the second one I've done, the first one I managed to completely melt the silver wire as I got it too hot! I will try sweat soldering, have had success with silver on silver sweat soldering, not sure why I didn't think of that to begin with.

  4. #4
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    I actually find solder paste easier if its thin wire ( 0.5- 0.8mm ), I put a thing coating all the way along.
    Im sure you can also do a great job with solder pillions but I haven't yet figured out how much to use!

  5. #5
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    Hmm I hadn't thought of solder paste. I'd heard that it 'goes off' if you don't use it up quickly enough so have resisted buying some so far! Might have to ge some and try it.

  6. #6
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    If it's a thin layer you might be able to remove it by wrapping your sandpaper around a wide file so that you don't create a ridge and you can move the file around. The file gives you more leverage and allows you to work more evenly than just using paper by hand or the file on its own

  7. #7
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    You can stop the solder spreading by using some rouge or tippex, especially if you are doing several soldering points.

  8. #8
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    Claire, there are many ways to clean the surface of metals, it would help if we could actually see your problem, is a photo possible? have you ever used abrasive stones? not knowing the shape of the wire you have soldered limits the suggestions that I would give. I use old water of ayr stones but they are not available new nowadays although there are some suggested replacement stones, I have also used a fine pumice stone as an abrasive stone to remove defections from metals prior to polishing.

    James

  9. #9
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    Do you have to mix the rouge with anything first Wallace or just smear on?

    Claire, I think the solder paste lasts for quite a long time as long as you replace the cap on it.
    I mostly use panels or strip now but it is handy for certain jobs.

    You might get the solder off well enough with Everflex burrs, I use them all the time and they are great for cleaning up any mess Ive made.

  10. #10
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    Sarah, use rouge powder mixed with water into a paste that can be applied with a paintbrush, this has been used in the trade a a block for solder runs ever since I have known. After soldering just wash off the hardened rouge with running water and a stiff brush, do this before pickling otherwise you will get red pickle. I mix my rouge paste in a tiny plastic lidded box, it will harden and set after a while but it can be returned to a paste by adding a little more water when needed.

    James

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