Gold overlays

tdelewis

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Soldering gold flowers on silver for the first time. I know there is a material that will block heat from traveling and causing the first flower to come lose while soldering the second and third as well. What is it? Where do you get it? It is a belt buckle that I am working on but haven't started yet.
 

Barry Lee Hands

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#2
Back in the day when i was in the western business, generally the rope edge was soldered first while the buckle was still a flat piece of sheet with hard solder at a higher melting temp, then the overlays were all soldered on at the same time with an easy, lower melt solder. If a third layer need to be added we would use lead solder.
 

Crossbolt

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I'd google "thermal paste" with "soldering" and browse the products. I've not used any with the metals you're working with and even with brass have tended to go with mechanical heat sinks. As Barry says the best strategy I find is to work from high to low temperature solders, but as I said my experience is with brass and white metal ("pot metal") ... yes it can be soldered...that may not be possible with the metals you're dealing with, I admit.
Jeremy
 

tdelewis

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Thanks, I understand the use of lower temperature solders. But what I am doing will require the low temp solder (450 degrees) in three separate spots. I think that there is a material that can be used to keep the heat traveling from the second soldering to the first and causing it to become lose. Boric acid is used to keep the silver from turning dark but will it dampen the heat from traveling through the silver and cause the first flower soldered on to move or slide?
 

diandwill

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There is a heat shield to protect stones, but I don't think it's effective as much on Silver. Silver distributes the heat too much. Two options. The first is to use small metal clamps to hold the overlay in location, one for each piece and solder them all at once. The second is to flux the first piece and solder, then pickle. Clean and flux the second piece, etc. The flux makes the solder flow at a slightly lower temp so you should be able to get away with that.

The first is what I have seen used by many makers doing overlays, to ensure that they stay where you want them and to do most (or all) the hotwork at one go.
 

tdelewis

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After reading crossbolt's reply I started a search and this is what I found. Reo Grand has several products. 1. Flow stop, It is used to keep solder from flowing where you don't want it. There were three comments. One gave a detailed reply and liked it, while the other two were negative as it caused oxidation that was difficult to remove. 2. Heat shield is another, it is used to protect stones while soldering near them. I talked to a technician and it seems like this would be a good choice and had good reviews. 3. Another is called extra hands and positioning compound, it is also used for protecting stones. The reviews said that there was a strong odor when using it. 4. A fourth option is to use a lower temp solder. Tin solder that melts around 275 degrees. I know they have gone to tin for copper plumbing but never thought of it for this application. The 450 degree solder that I mentioned above is used to solder shotgun barrels in double barreled guns. If any one has tried or uses any of these I'd like to hear from you.

One more comment; I have learned so much from ENGRAVERS CAFE. It is a great site. Thanks to all those who contribute their ideas.
 

DakotaDocMartin

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Thanks, I understand the use of lower temperature solders. But what I am doing will require the low temp solder (450 degrees) in three separate spots. I think that there is a material that can be used to keep the heat traveling from the second soldering to the first and causing it to become lose. Boric acid is used to keep the silver from turning dark but will it dampen the heat from traveling through the silver and cause the first flower soldered on to move or slide?
When you are soldering silver, the entire piece needs to be 90%+ of the soldering temperature. What I've done in the past is to use angled soldering tweezers and weighted third-hand holders. Adjust them so the tips are holding down on the piece and maybe a little more tilt on the base for when the solder flows. Pre-solder the back of the applique piece and flux it before putting it in place. Have the boric acid coating the whole piece prior to that. Heat the entire piece and then play the torch over and around each applique until the solder flows. :biggrin:

ThirdHand.jpg
 

Roger B

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#9
OK, personally I don't allow lead solder anywhere near where I might be working on silver or gold (a little matter of contamination which in future can be a real bother!!). It is quite feasible to make a number of solder joins near each other without having to resort to changing the solder to a lower melting temperature. Having said that if you are looking for a paste to prevent solder flow try yellow ochre - I haven't tried it but it is a solution used by many old time jewellers.

Roger
 

Omar Haltam

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#10
all of the above tips are from experienced hands, like Barry said try soldering them all at once and hold them in place with third hands like Doc said.
and as Barry mentioned that the lead solder is a last resort if you need to add something to the design. But like Roger mentioned lead solder contaminates silver and gold, and looks ugly when it tarnishes. I have used lead solder in certain instances but a very small controlled amount.
but try Barry's and docs method and place everything where you want them and heat up the silver
evenly you should get the best results with that method.

I have sometimes soldered with easy 14K white solder onto silver in some instances because of the lower melting point

good luck
 

Brian Marshall

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#11
VERY BAD IDEA

If the piece is karat and sterling stamped - with a hallmark/makers mark ANY lead used is going to cause problems down the road.

Technically, it is illegal if the item is sold to a consumer - because it brings down the stated & stamped qualities of the metals used. Never heard of a buckle getting assayed, but the law exists.


And the next poor unsuspecting fool who tries to work on it with heat is going to aim more than a few cusswords in your direction if you did it.

You cannot repair the damage that molten lead will do to silver and gold.



Brian
 
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golden forge

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Anything that you can use as a heat sink will help you keep other soldered pieces from un-soldering. Using a pair of soldering cross lock tweezers as a heat shrink can work good.
One of the little bench tricks that I got from a master Jeweler early on in my career was to take a piece of copper flat sheet 20+/- gauge, and around 2" square and punch a few holes in it, 1/8" to 1/2", (or as big as you need). You can place the copper plate over your work, and use the torch through the appropriate sized hole to solder the next piece on. I have use this trick for soldering clusters of crowns on jewelry, or to help with repairs for years with good success. The copper acts as a heat sink, and helps to shield the surrounding area from the direct heat of the torch.

If you are working with gold over silver, look at the flow temps of the solder you are using, from hard silver down to extra easy, and also for the gold solders, to see where you have the biggest working range, and then plan out what pieces get soldered in what order, and with what solder can make things easier on you too.
Just my 2 cents worth, hope it helps.
 

monk

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#15
micro-mark.com and riogrande sells lead-free solder. comes in a syringe, with solder and flux blended together. these melt at a bit over 400 f. i think they're blends of silver and tin. under ten bucks.
 

Brian Marshall

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Sure they do. And the 400 degree stuff has its uses. BUT NOT ON SILVER OR GOLD!

Tin or bismuth will do just as much damage when reheated to repair or alter the piece - and you still contaminate the stated/stamped quality if you quality marked and hallmarked/signed the piece and SOLD it.


Brian


You can do this if the piece doesn't have a quality mark and you didn't charge for it. Otherwise, if you are charging for the work you are misrepresenting your product. You CAN still do this sort of thing if you wish. You most likely won't get caught. And if you are luckier yet, the piece will never need repairs or a banner or date plaque replaced and you won't get cussed. In my shops, it is not done. It is your choice, and your reputation. As silverchip advised - take the time or spend the money to learn to do it right from the get go...
 
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monk

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Sure they do. And the 400 degree stuff has its uses. BUT NOT ON SILVER OR GOLD!

Tin or bismuth will do just as much damage when reheated to repair or alter the piece - and you still contaminate the stated/stamped quality if you quality marked and hallmarked/signed the piece and SOLD it.


Brian


You can do this if the piece is not paid for. Otherwise, if you are charging for the work you are misrepresenting your product. You CAN still do this sort of thing if you wish. You most likely won't get caught. And if you are luckier yet, the piece will never need repairs or a banner or date plaque replaced and you won't get cussed. In my shops, it is not done. It is your choice, and your reputation. As silverchip advised - take the time or spend the money to learn to do it right from the get go...
thanks for the heads up. i use the syringe on brass & copper. on silver, i use 2 different grades of silver wire. un fortunately, both grades of wire have hig temp requirements. if i needed one even lower, i would have unknowingly resorted to the syringe-based stuff. i appreciate your response, brian.
 

Brian Marshall

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#18
Bet no one caught silverchips use of the word braze?

By definition, that IS the correct term for what you are doing when using high temp. silver alloys to stick the parts together. "Soldering" is not what you are doing.



Brazing vs. Soldering

Brazing - The American Welding Society (AWS ), defines brazing as a group of joining processes that produce coalescence of materials by heating them to the brazing temperature and by using a filler metal (solder) having a liquidus above 840°F (450°C), and below the solidus of the base metals.

Soldering - Soldering has the same definition as brazing except for the fact that the filler metal used has a liquidus below 840°F (450°C) and below the solidus of the base metals.



But people - including instructors - have been using the term "soldering" to cover everything in general.


Another term that is incorrect is "oxidizing" silver. Silver oxide is greyish white - not black. What you are really doing is sulfiding the silver. It's silver sulfide that gives you the black color.


They are never gonna correct either term, simply because most people have heard them used too many times by now... and I'm sure both terms will join the thousands of English words that get mangled by texting - if they haven't already?

Anyone know what the texting abbreviations are? If not, here's your chance to "coin" some... :(


Brian
 
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Barry Lee Hands

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#19
Brian, excuse me, but i have worked in some of the best silver houses in the world, and we manufactured many thousands of buckles as i describe, and was never arrested, at least not for making belt buckles, hehe.
 

Brian Marshall

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Sorry Barry, with all due respect,


Strictly speaking that does not make you or the silversmiths who taught you - or let that slide by - correct. If it is stamped at 925 and doesn't meet 925 or better - it ain't right.

I cannot think of a single fabrication situation in which I might have to reach for the "easy way" out - other than cutting costs, time, and utilizing lower skillsets - which is always of importance to large scale manufacturers.


I agree that in the real world - it is fairly common practice. But just like never getting called on it, that does not make it right.
(AND I have a few special cusswords in several languages reserved for the times I have to re-work a piece done in that manner.)


Brian
 
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