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Thread: Soldering Help Needed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Unhappy Soldering Help Needed

    Hi. I'm new here. Just started jewellery making. Went on a course some years ago. Anyway got the basic kit I need and some copper sheet to practice on before working on silver. So I'm starting with a simple textured copper pendant which will have a little silver square sweat soldered onto it. I've been careful not to hammer where the silver square will be.

    The copper square is 4cms square. I cut 2, one from 1mm sheet and one from 0.5mm sheet. My problem. Is that I cannot get the solder to flow. I'm using easy flo powder which I'm mixing as instructed and like they show on you tube. I'm not heating the solder itself but the whole piece. I'm using easy silver solder. I know that cleaning is important and I've used lots of different cleaning but nothing works. I've also tried with a borax cone. Still nothing. I was using a proxxon micro torch and worried that it was getting to a high enough heat so now using a macro flame butane torch. Both seem to annealing perfectly and when I tried to melt solder on a smaller price of copper and then silver it worked initially but when. I've tried since nothing.

    Just to clarify my intention is to melt the solder onto the copper and then sweat solder the silver piece onto by heating the copper side

    I'm getting so frustrated as I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've carefully watched every you tube video going. Help. I've tried everything evening for a week now. Any advice would really be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Is everything clean including the solder? Have you cleaned it between your attempts at all?

    Admittedly I have never used copper, however I would assume you sweat solder the same as with anything else and I've always melted the solder onto the smallest piece first - the part you are going to put on top, then place on the fluxed larger piece and heat from underneath but also ensure the top is heated!!

    No idea if will make any difference but as you say you want to put the small piece of silver on top, melt it into the silver anyway. Much easier.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Hi silverlining. I'm cleaning the copper throughly before soldering. And between each attempt by pickling then either using grit paper, detergent and water or pumice powder. I do the water test to make sure it's flowing with no signs of grease etc

    Your point re soldering the smaller piece first is interesting and I tried that. The solder melted on the silver and then tried to sweat solder onto the copper but didn't work. I made sure that the surfaces met.

  4. #4
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    If the copper is clean and the area to be soleered sanded lightly it shouldn't need anything then but flux. As Suzie said melt the solder onto the back of the silver and place it on the fluxed copper. The whole piece will need to be brought to heat as the copper is much larger than the silver and the solder should flow. It sounds as if you aren't heating the piece enough

  5. #5
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    Hi Suzie,

    make sure you have enough flux - not enough, it won't flow. Clean is great, but it still needs flux. I don't pumice my work.

    heat the big piece up and then place the silver piece on when it has become hot. Reheat all over before concentrating a little more on the silver piece. If your copper is heating up enough, there shouldn't be a problem with the flame you are using - but it is always a factor to consider.
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  6. #6
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    This problem occurs here about once a month and I'm rather afraid the answer will be the same.

    Your torch is simply not giving out enough heat to do the job. You might succeed if you use both torches together, one in each hand, but ultimately you will need to get a bigger torch. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 17-03-2016 at 10:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    This problem occurs here about once a month and I'm rather afraid the answer will be the same.

    Your torch is simply not giving out enough heat to do the job. You might succeed if you use both torches together, one in each hand, but ultimately you will need to get a bigger torch. Dennis.
    but we are here to help and as phased as sometimes it is, I think when you are desperately trying not to throw it in the bin it is always easier to ask than look. Wood for the Trees and all that.


    moving the flame about too much can reduce the heat too... just saying
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  8. #8
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    Sep 2014
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    I suspect Dennis is right, Im not familiar with the torches you are using but copper does require higher temperatures to solder than silver.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    His again. Thanks for all your replies. I did wonder if it's the torch but watching you tube using the same torches it should be possible. I'm going to persevere. Re the flux I'm using quite bit and it's going through the stages in bubbling then dirty then clean. I even tried reducing the amount in case I was using too much. The flux goes clear and not a bit of firescale where it's been on the piece which would suggest it's doing its job. I've just got the book soldering made simple so am going to do some of the projects this weekend and see how I go. Although frustrating I am really enjoying it. The possibilities are endless........

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Is the solder itself clean?

    I don't personally see why the torches you have wouldn't do it

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