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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 4440 times)
Carol M
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2013, 06:26:56 pm »

Carol:

Just curious; have you actually ever soldered Argentium, or "fused" it? Have you soldered sterling, and how does it compare?

The only thing I know about Argentium is that it doesn't cast well, and since I do alot of casting, I know I won't invest in Argentium grain. But the sheet might be another matter, if it works well.

Debbie K

Hi Debbie,
I have both soldered and fused Argentium sheets as well as wire.
I have also soldered sterling silver.
Attached is my first Argentium Sterling Bead.  I'm showing it to you because it's both fused and soldered. This is not my design, it's a variation on one I did from DVD I got from Ronda Coryell on Argentium. My beads are a little 'simpler'.
The short explanation is - I basically cut two Argentium discs and dapped them.  Then I polished the discs a bit and applied diluted My-T-Flux [the yellow liquid flux you can get from RioGrande.
Then made the wire decorations and dap them. 
Then you make a jump ring and fuse it for the hole on either bead half.  After you've fused the ring and fused it to the bead half you cut out the hole with a jewelers saw[to coincide with the leather cord or whatever you're going to string it on.
Then you place any dapped wire decorations onto the 'face down' domes and arranged them so they would line up.  As you can see, I didn't do a perfect job but this was my first try at it, and I wear it all the time and get tons of compliments, flawed as it is.

Anyway, you let the decorations dry and then you can actually lift the bead halfs up carefully and put them together [before fusing] by handling them carefully, and you can gently shove the wires a little to fix alignment issues.
Then you put the two halves together, and Ronda fuses them.  At this stage I was too afraid to screw it up and my bead halves didn't fit as perfectly together as they should for fusing so I chickened out and sat some tiny pieces of medium solder on one half and put the other half on top and soldered the two halves together. 
In her DVD Ronda goes into more sanding etc to make it fit perfectly, as well, she adds tiny granules to the design, but I wanted a plainer look so I didn't do them.

The biggest difference I've found between the two is 'courage'.  When you solder sterling, you gently bring the whole piece up to temperature and very gently get the solder to flow.  With Argentium it's almost the opposite.  You briefly bring the whole piece up to temperature but then you go straight in with a lot of heat and watch for the flame to turn red and for the My-T-Flux to go clear and then look for a sort of 'dancing water droplet' effect, and when that happens you're done.....back off.
Ronda's DVDs are not inexpensive but  since there are not a lot of ways to learn about Argentium, I decided to take the plunge.

Cynthia Eid has done a lot of work with Argentium too and she's won all sorts of awards and she wrote this FAQ which I've also found very helpful. http://www.cynthiaeid.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=39&Itemid=91

I hope this helps.

Re expenses, other than buying the Argentium sheet or wire, and the My-T-Flux and if you're soldering use Argentium solder so it doesn't tarnish [as silver solder definitely will],   I can't think of any other expenses. 
Re casting, I bought some Delft Sand and [when I get some courage] I'm gonna try sand casting with Argentium.  At least it will give me a way to use some scrap.  If it doesn't work, I can always send whatever I produce to Rio for recycling.


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* P1020189.JPG (42.73 KB, 480x360 - viewed 9 times.)
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"



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