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WeekendMiniaturist

Solder for Sterling Silver & Pickling

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WeekendMiniaturist

Is silver solder paste the only solder I can use to soldier sterling?  I have always used silver solder from Radio Shack for my electrical connections.  (This special rosin core solder is ideal for surface mount devices. It has a 62/36/2% tin/lead/silver formula with a .022” diameter. 1.5 oz. spool. )  2% silver isn't a lot of silver. 

If I use the Radio Shack product does this destroy the perceived value of my finished sterling silver piece?  Guess I should sign up for one of Peter Acquisto's classes at Guild School..Unfortunately for me, all of his classes are filled for 2017. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catherine Ronan

No... you can buy flux and hard, medium and easy silver solder. There is also extra easy. I never use it but it exists. You can buy all of that from Rio Grande. Look on their website. I use sheet solder, sold in strips. You will also need solder snips. Which are basically scissors for that purpose.

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WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks Catherine! I am still trying to figure out how to make my purse frame to attach petitpoint too... and I might be one step closer. 

 

 

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Catherine Ronan

You also might need a pickle pot. I use a crock pot for that. If you do a lot of soldering you should seal all the joints (on the pot)  with silicone. You will also need pickling compound like Sparex.  I crank up the pot to high once the pickle is hot you can turn it down to medium.

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WeekendMiniaturist

Yes, dreaded oxidation is likely to be a problem when I solder.  I haven't figured out if I am going to solder or mill.  Last night I was going to solder; today I am thinking of milling.  When I looked at Rio Grande website, I thought I saw something about pickling compound at the bottom - where when the customer looks at a certain product the website gives you recommendations what other people purchased...  I will experimenting with sterling silver and brass as GOLD is so expensive.

Thanks for the crock pot suggestion.  If will look for one of those little mini crock pots for the pickling solution.

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Catherine Ronan

Great because our next discussion (I fear) was going to be firescale. A result of soldering sterling sometimes. It is when the copper content is brought up to the surface (it becomes a stain on the silver). That can be dealt with a couple of ways. 

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MeezerMama
On 12/15/2016 at 11:21 PM, Catherine Ronan said:

You also might need a pickle pot. I use a crock pot for that."

I use a glass beaker on a coffee-mug warmer as a pickle pot.  It takes a little longer to get warm, but it is hot enough.   I use Pre-Po-Pickle.  Otto Frei is another good source for jeweler's solder and supplies.  

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Lynda S

Have you thought about using argentium silver? It avoids the fire scale issues and can be "work hardened" in a toaster oven. Rio has special solders for it including paste solders that already have the flux mixed in. The solders are so you will have a good color match in any seams and because of the differnt melting points for the differing alloys. Also, argentium silver fuses beautifully - no solder necessary - tricky but sometimes what is needed for a piece. Best of all, it is very tarnish resistant. I think Pete uses it for most of his pieces. Oh yes - you can also fuse argentium silver onto brass or copper. Hmm - must be a mini application for that trick!

See if you can get a weekend workshop at a jewelry studio in your area. 

https://www.argentiumsilver.com/

And never let your pickle pot run dry or boil - off gases are toxic.

Using the radio shack solder will mean your solder joints will be more and more visible over time. Also, any patinas you might want to do will be very different on tin/lead/silver solder. As a collector, I would strongly prefer any silver pieces acquired to have jewelry grade solder joints.

There are also copper paste solders and copper solder rods to better color match.

And Nu Gold is a brass alloy jewelers use because gold is so expensive. It is interesting to work with and available in many thicknesses at Rio Grande and such.

Good luck with the purse frames. I'm taking photo etching with Bonnie Backe next weekend. I want to make my own fan frames and lampshade parts.

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Lynda, you are making me smile... the petitpoint purse frame has been on my list for decade...... I want the mini to open and close like a life size frame, and perhaps someday will learn to cast them properly in a foundry ... lots of ideas circling in my brain...I frequently look at the antiques trying to find the perfect frame to miniaturize.  Yes, I was aware of argentium silver as a non-tarnishing silver and will try this.  (I love my GessWein, Rio Grande and Lee Valley catalogs!) There is so much info available on the internet for using products so at least YouTube gives me access to methods... and our library has a lot of new library books on jewelry so I can counterbalance YouTube instruction with written instruction.......

I did not recognize NuGold, so I will do some research on this product.

Thanks for adding to the thread!

 

 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

I edited the Topic to include Pickling - perhaps Jan will post her question in this topic.

For others that are learning about soldering,  I am posting a link regarding Pickling and its uses...as I am still learning... I would consider myself at the pre-beginners stage of metals :-).

https://www.gemsociety.org/article/pickle/

 

 

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Jan Jones
On 12/14/2016 at 3:29 PM, WeekendMiniaturist said:

Is silver solder paste the only solder I can use to soldier sterling?  I have always used silver solder from Radio Shack for my electrical connections.  (This special rosin core solder is ideal for surface mount devices. It has a 62/36/2% tin/lead/silver formula with a .022” diameter. 1.5 oz. spool. )  2% silver isn't a lot of silver. 

If I use the Radio Shack product does this destroy the perceived value of my finished sterling silver piece?  Guess I should sign up for one of Peter Acquisto's classes at Guild School..Unfortunately for me, all of his classes are filled for 2017. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understood that lead near sterling silver can cause the silver to be eaten away so, I wouldn't use this solder on sterling silver.  Jan Jones

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WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks Jan,

All is good, I have not soldered any silver yet.  I used the specific Radio Shack solder mentioned for my electrical connections when I was wiring chandeliers.

 

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