Soldering is joining together two pieces of silver by using a solder that has a lower melting point than silver.
Soldering is essentially the fusion or joining together of two pieces of silver by the application of heat melting a solder. When heat is used to melt together two piecs of silver without solder then it is welding.
Make a white paste by grinding the borax cone into a dish with a little water.
Brush on the Borax paste onto the two pieces you want to join. The photographs illustrate making a silver ring however the same method can be used for almost any item of jewellery that requires soldering.
Cut out a small piece of solder. (paillon) For making this ring we are using easy solder as there is only one joint. For more complex welds start by using hard solder then apply medium and then finally the easy. Place the small cut just below or on the joint.
Heat the piece gently using a titanium stick to occasionally reposition the item. make sure the solder stays in position. Make sure you direct the heat at the piece and not the solder itself which will naturally heat through conductivity.
When the solder has become shiny and run along the join, remove the heat and let the item cool for a few seconds.
For keeping awkward or large pieces together use binding wire. You can also use a long strip of solder instead of a paillon. This is known as stick soldering. If you want to prevent the heat from conducting to other areas of the item, for example chain making, then isolate the area that does not need soldering. One method is to leave that area in a dish of cold water. As regards gemstone set rings then generally the gemstone will have to be removed before soldering, otherwise the silver will conduct the heat that will damage the gemstone.
Finally quench the item in a bowl of pickle and then rinse with water.
If you wish to solder chains or pendants, special consideration should be given to ensure the pendant bale or chain-link is sufficiently isolated to prevent it from fusing together.
Beside using binding wire, for larger pieces of jewellery such as bangles, you can try using staples or T-pins to hold the bangle down flat on a charcoal or soldering block.
1. Borax Cone used for flux making
2. Strips of easy solder
3." Argotec" mixed with some methylated spirits. Brushing this onto the silver can help prevent fire stains.
There are four basic grades:-.
Enamelling - since it has the highest melting point (1490F) it is only suitable for pieces that need to be enamelled.
Hard - strips of this solder are about 6mm wide and it is the first solder you should use for soldering heavy pieces together. Its melting point is higher than the other solders and consequently reduces the risk of accidentally dissolving the precious metal .
Medium, about 3 mm wide and is used after hard but before easy. Not an easy solder to work with as it can be very sticky.
Easy - melts at approximately 1240F and is generally about 3 mm wide. Used for soldering findings, jump -rings or where there is one simple joint to make.