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10 Good Reasons To Use Hard Solder

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Author Topic: 10 Good Reasons To Use Hard Solder  (Read 5229 times)
Taogem
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« on: November 01, 2008, 08:47:14 pm »

Medican Man sent me this link.

The importance of using hard solder.

Colorado Academy of Silversmithing and Art Metal

Don Norris method of soldering is his own and sometimes is critized for using this system.
However, he  taught this method for over 30 years now, and have not had any student, both beginners and experienced Silversmiths, that did not learn this method and begin using it for their jewelry making.

He uses only Hard Solder for every solder joint and this goes against the
traditional method of using Hard, Medium and Easy solder.

He also uses a less than $20.00 propane torch for most my teaching, and recommemd it for his beginning students.

Ten Good Reasons

1. Hard solder actually becomes easier and quicker to use  than the "step" method. No hat trick, just controlling your torch, all my students can do that easily with in the first 30 minutes of learning to light a torch. This includes junior high age students. By using only hard solder there is no reason to ever have to "tie" your pieces together with "bailing wire", oops, I mean "binding wire". I have not used it in 25 years, and can not imagine a sitution that would require it. Hard solder will hold every thing in place while soldering. Saves time, more profit. In the same time it takes to try to tie something in place you can have it soldered.


2. Because hard solder polishes and ages just like sterling silver, you can use a lot of it to fill gaps, so there is no need to waste time getting every solder joint to fit just perfect. This insures that the  customer gets a quality piece that takes less time  to make, so more profit!


3. Hard solder polishes just like sterling, wears just like sterling, and tarnishes just like sterling, unlike easy and medium that begin to oxidize, tarnish faster than sterling. If you like unsightly darkened solder lines then use easy and medium.

4. Hard solder will not undercut as easy and medium solder will. I have had many repair jobs come in (when I did repairs for about 5 years) with solder lines on polished surfaces that were polish in to unsightly grooves. They tarnished, began to show, so they were polished and repolished to the point that the solder joints began to undercut, the solder eaten away. Then the sides of the sterling begin to get buffed and the result is a rounded groove where the joint is.


5. There are only three solder grades, some time in every piece you make, multi joints must be made with the same solder. All I am trying to teach is the more joints you make with hard solder the easier it is to do the piece. As soon as you begin to use medium or easy, you make it harder do make the next solder joint with out something bad happening.  Doesn't this just make sense. If you use hard solder for nearly or all solder joints, it is actually easier to control the temperature of the piece and not harder.

6. The real proof that using only hard solder is easier to use, all my students use the $10.00 propane torch to learn with. Then as they sell jewelry and make a good profit, they can pay for a better torch.


7. Hard solder does not pit as medium and easy do

8. Faster to use, which means to most fabricators, more profit! I teach my students they do not have time to dork around using three solders. In the time it takes to decide which one to use where, they can have it soldered and finished.


9. If a piece gets ran over by a car, the poor slob that must repair it, will not have fall completely apart as he, or she, heats it up. The piece will be easier to repair! That's a  good thing, for the person doing the repairs and the customer!

10. Hard solder makes stronger solder joints. If you want to know why joint the Silversmithing List and ask. The answer is simple and will makes sense to you. See test below.
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MedicineMan
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008, 06:39:58 am »

George,

This was the way I was taught by a Silversmith/Artist named Jimmie Burnett, I worked with Jimmie from 1975 to 1978 and then off and on as friends after that. I do use softer solders on occassion, but not much. I also use binding wire when needed. I remained close friends with Jimmie until she passed away a couple years ago. Having spend time over the years with Jimmie and sharing art and silverwork with her, I can honestly say that once torch control is learned, hard solder to me is just too easy. It will walk anywhere you need it to, remains supper strong, and polishes great. Having repaired pieces that have med and soft solder on them, I can tell you its pucker time, hoping it all stays together.

Hope this article gives some food for thought, and remember there is really no right or wrong way... learning a process is half the fun...and anytime someone says "YOU CAN'T",
along comes someone to show you "YOU CAN".
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MrsWTownsend
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 11:15:41 pm »



I was actually looking for answers to something else when I discovered this.  I am going to try it and see how it goes~
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 09:17:30 am »

I've always used only medium solder for everything and never used binding wire. As you make a solder join the act of heating the solder to its melting point boils off the lowest melting alloy -zinc- and the melting point of that solder joint has stepped up to the next level. I'm not sure if it goes all the way up to the hard solder level in one melting, though.
Bob
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2011, 02:34:07 pm »

and I have had a few lessons from a successful Tucson jeweler who always uses only soft.



go figure?     

I guess the right way for you is your way. . .
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Stay healthy in 2011.  .  .  . and don't forget to eat some dark chocolate!

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MrsWTownsend
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2011, 07:41:50 pm »

Until I took my jewelry class I only ever used easy solder paste.  Using chips is a whole new learning experience for me so I figure I might as well experiment across the board and see what I like best.  I like the idea of the solder being as close to the material being soldered in composition as possible although for the most part, my applications are such that, if I am careful, it doesn't really make that much of a difference.

My big pet peeve is having to use silver solder for copper and brass; especially copper.  I don't like the color contrast!
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 08:25:35 pm »

I am definitely sold on getting rid of my easy solder.  I was going to order hard solder on Monday and maybe i will order more than i originally planned.

I totally agree with the following part of #5 "As soon as you begin to use medium or easy, you make it harder do make the next solder joint with out something bad happening."  I have often melted my bezel joint made with medium solder, when soldering my bezel to the sterling backing with easy solder.  This has always really ticked me off, as the bezel was joined with higher temp solder that has been raised even higher by soldering.  The soldering of the lower temp easy solder will go past the temp of the "raised" medium soldered bezel and melt the bezel joint.

The issue of discolored easy solder joints has been bothering me and i was thinking of changing my soldering from medium - easy to hard - medium.  After reading this post and finding out that medium also discolors, I will be trying to do some hard - hard soldering.

I have also encountered the problem of pitting in my easy solder joins.  If hard solder can get rid of the pits, that is so much better.  I have to go back and sand/grind down the joins which is a waste of time and it also allows an opportunity to screw up something else while doing the extra clean up.

So there are several ways to do things, as usual.  I will try to move to hard - hard soldering and hard - medium soldering when necessary.  I will keep my easy solder, for use only when necessary.  So i am still learning how to solder.

Mark
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 12:37:23 pm »

I want to use easy wire solder and have none.  If anyone wants to trade I have lots of hard solder, sheet and paste.

Please let me know.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 02:31:27 pm »

Until I took my jewelry class I only ever used easy solder paste.  Using chips is a whole new learning experience for me so I figure I might as well experiment across the board and see what I like best.  I like the idea of the solder being as close to the material being soldered in composition as possible although for the most part, my applications are such that, if I am careful, it doesn't really make that much of a difference.

My big pet peeve is having to use silver solder for copper and brass; especially copper.  I don't like the color contrast!

Have you ever heard of 'phosco'?  It is a product that plumbers use on copper and brass.  It is not silver colored but it works like silver soldering.  I can not say that it is copper color but it is much closer than silver.
I remember getting thin flat sticks in packages branded "turbo torch"  the sticks are around 14" long and do not require flux!  Just clean surface and proper torch heat.  About the time the copper starts to glow the phosco should flow in and around the joint.  At the time when I was using this material regularly it was much cheaper than hard silver solder. 
Might want to check some out.  I would have to look at home to see if I still have some, I could send you a piece to test and see what you think...
email me and let me know :)
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 06:24:01 pm »

I also noticed on Monsterslayer.com that they had some solder that was for copper & brass.  I am about ready to get some solder & I am going to start with the hard.  That is as soon as I can decide which way to buy it since there is more than one form of it!  hairy1
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Baron von Smoogle
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 08:30:30 pm »

My big pet peeve is having to use silver solder for copper and brass; especially copper.  I don't like the color contrast!
Reviving another old thread......


I read an article that called for putting your copper piece with silver solder into contaminated pickle and letting it plate the silver solder joint.
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 09:02:25 am »

Just my two cents: I use medium or hard on most everything, except jump rings and for them I use easy.

I bought some brass solder from Rio Grande and found it really difficult to work with. I was trying to solder bronze pieces back together and the bronze would glow BRIGHT yellow orange, but the dang solder would just sit there and laugh at me. I was afraid I was going to actually melt the bronze (maybe I did, and the pieces may have fused). I don't know if I was using the wrong flux, but there was no indication that you should use anything different than for silver and gold. I tried dandy flux and liquid flux, neither worked well. I had to grind solder paillons off where they attached to the piece but never flowed. It seemed like it oxidized regardless of the flux and that kept it from flowing. I had to try 4 or 5 times to get one thing to solder.

I also tried bronze brazing rod, but it really needed a oxy boost; I was just using Mapp. It never would melt.

I, too, long for a yellow-colored solder. I'm going to do a search for "phosco".

Re: contaminated pickle, thanks! I'll give it a try. By the way, if you don't want your pickle contaminated, if you put hydrogen peroxide in it after you've inadvertently put some iron in, it will rejuvenate it.

Debbie K
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 09:37:13 am »

Have you ever used Wolverine Ultra Flux?   Best I ever used for silver gold and copper bronze.



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Debbie K
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 03:20:12 pm »

I haven't used Wolverine Ultra-flux. Is it a jeweler's supply flux or a propane/gas type flux and is it liquid or paste? Right now, I'm using Engelhard Ultra-flux, a paste. Where might we find the Wolverine flux?

Thanks in advance,

Debbie K
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 05:08:19 pm »

It is a paste info PFD here

www.silvaloy.com/techsheets.php/wjt-td-Ultra Flux.pdf

I found a guy in quartzite that had it but ran out and could not find any so i bought a case from the manufacturer.

I have extra 1/4 lb jars  will sell for $4 plus shipping
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