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Author Topic: silver solder  (Read 1423 times)
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flame n fuse
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« on: November 29, 2013, 06:13:51 AM »

I've started silver smithing evening classes at the local school and my husband has dug out some strips of silver solder from 30 years ago. Unfortunately most of it has lost its labels, so we only know which is 'medium'. Is there a way of telling which of the others is easy or hard? I know that melting points are different, but not sure that I could heat it in a sufficiently controlled way to tell the difference.

Also, browsing through catalogues - what are your opinions on silver solder pastes?

thank you!!
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mizgeorge
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2013, 06:36:18 AM »

Strip solder is sometimes graded by width, but I can't remember if this was the case then!

The simple way is to cut an identical size pallion from each grade and place them close together on a soldering block then just hit them with a fairly wide flame. The difference in melt point is enough that you should easily be able to see what order they melt in, especially if you have a known quantity for one of them.

I use a lot of paste now - the traditionalists don't like it, but I think that's a lot to do with wanting to maintain the mystery of how to solder - for small pieces in particular, paste is much quicker and easier, and not having to use flux is such a bonus. It's considered expensive, but used right, the saving in time and effort more than makes up for it!

As a tip, I never, ever use medium solder - it's the devil's work and is sticky, less good in colour and serves no real purpose IMO. Hard for first joins and easy for everything else works just fine - especially bearing in mind that the re-melt temperature goes up by about 10 degrees each time.

Have fun!
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flame n fuse
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 10:24:22 AM »

thanks for the tips George, I'll report back. Some of the solder strips are wide and thin and some are narrow, but thick (including a strip labelled M). I've made a ring which isn't perfect but which I'm quite pleased with, and now trying to make a cabochon ring, using one of my broken beads. It's all good fun! Fiddling around with tiny pallions is quite a challenge, so I may invest in some paste.
Julia
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