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Thread: Soldering a 5mm bangle

  1. #1
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    Jul 2016
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    Default Soldering a 5mm bangle

    Hi all
    I'm new to this forum and have a question
    I have done a beginners Jewelry course a couple of years ago , and tried bits and bobs myself since.
    On my course I made a 5mm wire silver bangle , which I am attempting to make again
    When I made it the tutor did the soldering and I watched .
    On my first soldering attempt yesterday I heated the bracelet for a long time with a big blow torch .
    The solder wouldn't run for ages and the eventually did but not on the join . Also the bracelet seened to shrink so there was a gap in the join afterwards .
    It's quits scary and also very frustrating .
    Any advice would be brilliant !!
    Thanks
    Anna

  2. #2
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    Sep 2011
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    That's what happens when a tutor does all the work - the student doesn't learn properly. (15 years lecturing in further and higher education).
    It sounds like the torch was not able to get the whole bangle hot enough. Plus you need to heat the area directly away from the joint first so that the heat expansion causes the metal to close up at the joint, rather than open out, which is what may have happened here. Add in a bit of annealing as the wire heated and you have a joint opening up.
    You'll need to pickle and then clean the joint by filing it to bright metal before you can try again.
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  3. #3
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    It would also be worth using binding wire across the bangle which would help to keep the joint together until you master it

  4. #4
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    I have the same problem, had a commission for a 6mm x 3mm bangle and put two blowtorches and made a "cave" out of firebricks, and still can't get it hot enough to melt the solder. My big blowtorch with butane/propane mix has run out of gas now, but the solder I'd very thin, almost see through. Got fed up now as can't think of anything else to try.

  5. #5
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    Something your tutor should have explained is that metal moves when it is heated, as said before the bangle will need cleaning before your next attempt at soldering. This is easier to show rather than explain, open the bangle sideways, file the solder surfaces flat, flux the surfaces, then squeeze the bangle into a tighter circle before re aligning the join. By squeezing the bangle into a tighter circle the joint surfaces should be tight together now. Gently heat the whole bangle running the torch flame circular around the whole bangle and make sure it does not open again, then attach a piece of fluxed solder across the join on the inside of the bangle, as the bangle is now warm it should stick in place OK. Now play the torch flame in a circular motion around the bangle playing the flame onto the outside of the bangle opposite where the solder is set. Bring the whole bangle up to solder flow temperature and then the final play of flame on the join opposite the solder and it should then flow through the join nicely, remember that solder will follow the heat.
    I hope this all makes sense, good luck!

    James

  6. #6
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    It hasn't worked for me, normally use the butane/propane gas cannisters type for bigger jobs. Ran out so will get another one tomorrow, but my bullfinch one with a calor gas bottle with butane in just isn't melting the solder, not even easy solder.

    What is the best for soldering silver butane, propane or a mixture. Got a calor gas bottle with butane, three cooks hand torches an a bigger propane/butane cannisters ( like the cooks torch but a lot bigger).
    Last edited by Patstone; 28-07-2016 at 03:00 PM.

  7. #7
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    Thank you to all for your helpful replies . I'm not sure how to bind with wire/ what sort/ how/ and how it dosen't melt so will try that another time .
    I think also the reason it happened is that the join wasn't good enough . I spent a long long time trying to get it right with a file but in fact I was making it worse . In the end I cut it again and cleaned and prepared it . The soldering nearly worked after that but now my problem is that the solder didn't fill all the way round on the join . Not sure why ?
    Guess I'll have to be brave and try again . Any encouraging words of wisdom out there ?
    Again I have cleaned and filed it ready to go .
    Thanks
    Anna

  8. #8
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    As James explained, metal hardens when you bend it and tends to straighten again when heated. What you were finding is that a gap opened and solder would not fill the gap.
    Now that it is annealed you have a better chance, particularly if you begin to heat at a point remote from the join.


    Every jeweller should have a reel of binding wire to forestall emergencies like this. It can be iron or stainless steel. It is inexpensive and will not melt. Buy one about 0.45mm in diameter and dont put the iron one in pickle, or your work will turn pink.

    Here's a little box being made using it Dennis.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by be-bops View Post
    Thank you to all for your helpful replies . I'm not sure how to bind with wire/ what sort/ how/ and how it dosen't melt so will try that another time .
    I think also the reason it happened is that the join wasn't good enough . I spent a long long time trying to get it right with a file but in fact I was making it worse . In the end I cut it again and cleaned and prepared it . The soldering nearly worked after that but now my problem is that the solder didn't fill all the way round on the join . Not sure why ?
    Guess I'll have to be brave and try again . Any encouraging words of wisdom out there ?
    Again I have cleaned and filed it ready to go .
    Thanks
    Anna
    Hi Anna
    This is the sort of wire I mean, it's made of steel so won't melt http://www.cooksongold.com/category_...y=Binding+wire

    Do it James's way and it should work but if you are still having problems the wire is a little bit of extra help. Cut a piece of binding wire more than twice the width of your bangle. Fold in half and put in a loop in the middle with your pliers . Wire around the bangle , if you think the joint as being south wire east to west and twist the ends. You can tension both ends if necessary but it would meanthat your joint stays together. Hope this makes sense, as James says it's easier to show than explain. It's also worth laying the joint on the pallion of solder.
    Hope you manage to get it done, it's just practise I'm afraid. It's not a big job being wire, it's just a matter of spreading the heat and getting it all up to temperature

  10. #10
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    Jul 2016
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    Thank you I'll get some wire for next time .
    But HOORAY I did it !! I can't beleive it for a newbie like me . Feeling quite proud of myself as I was very nervous .
    Thank you all for your brilliant advice.
    By the way , James , or anyone else , while I'm here , and for the future , how do I know when the silver temperature is up to solder melting point ?
    Anna
    It seems especially hard on thick 5mm wire .

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