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December 13, 2018, 04:15:23 am
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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 5146 times)
Carol M
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2013, 09:12:28 am »

Or you could start using Argentium Sterling Silver [which was not invented when these fellows got into silversmithing], but many 'older' jewelers who have tried Argentium have 'converted' to Argentium and say they wish it had been around 30 years ago when they started.

They love that it fuses beautifully and easily [so NO solder to slide around and no solder to clean off], also it doesn't get firescale [huge bonus for many] and it is VERY HIGHLY TARNISH RESISTANT because if the fact that it also contains germanium.  I'd say tarnish proof, but that's not what the Argentium people say so I'll back off.

It's more ductile, can be worked longer [for forging etc.] between annealing, but when heat hardened it's way harder than regular sterling.  It's whiter than sterling, balls into a gorgeous mercury like ball, and takes a patina beautifully and evenly. 

For more info check it out  http://www.argentiumsilver.com/
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Carol M
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Debbie K
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2013, 05:04:49 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
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Carol M
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« Reply #17 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.


* P1020190.JPG (43.85 KB, 480x360 - viewed 8 times.)

* 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!"

Debbie K
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« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2013, 06:40:36 pm »

Carol:

Just got off of Ganoksin (if you haven't found that forum, check it out, it's great!) reading about casting Argentium, and soldering and fusing. The main problem with casting is that it needs to be done in a reducing atmosphere (special equipment or graphite or boric acid on top the metal, parted occasionally to see if the metal has melted). I suspect that people used to working with Sterling have made two major mistakes: one, they overheat the Argentium due to not being able to see the metal or heating it until it is the right color for Sterling) and two, they probably quench it like it was Sterling and make it crack.

I like the tarnish that develops on sterling, and when I don't want it I depletion gild it. I see the attraction of the Argentium, especially in the hardness aspect for making rings or bracelets that you don't want to distort. But the hardness would also make it more difficult to set stones, both in settings and bezels. They say that it isn't really case-hardened, just harder than sterling, but setting stones is difficult enough for me already.

A lady I know is interested in working with it, so I'll probably give it a try in the next few months and I'll let you guys know how I like it. Thanks for your reply and sharing your experience with it.

Debbie K
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Carol M
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2013, 09:13:25 pm »

Sounds like a plan, Debbie.

I can't comment on casting Argentium, as I haven't given it a try, but that's a tiny part of my world.

I'm more interested in general silversmithing with Argentium, and that's where it really 'shines'. 
I hate tarnish, and I hate firescale, so for me it's a win, win.

Good luck when you give it a try though. 
I'd love to hear how you make out.
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Carol M
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« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2013, 06:41:59 pm »

Argentium is not a good alloy for casting, but United Precious Metals has developed some other sterling alloys that also contain  germanium so are also tarnish resistant  like argentium but cast and work more like sterling.
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David

Carol M
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« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2013, 10:33:37 pm »

Argentium is not a good alloy for casting, but United Precious Metals has developed some other sterling alloys that also contain  germanium so are also tarnish resistant  like argentium but cast and work more like sterling.

I'd be interested in knowing what it's called, if you know.  Also any links to casting info about it.
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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!"

Carol M
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« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2013, 10:43:32 pm »

Argentium is not a good alloy for casting, but United Precious Metals has developed some other sterling alloys that also contain  germanium so are also tarnish resistant  like argentium but cast and work more like sterling.

I just had a look at the Rio Grande website because I saw that there was a 5 star review of the Argentium 935 Sterling Casting Grains.

Check it out.   http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Argentium-935-Silver-Casting-Grain/103635?Pos=14#BVRRWidgetID

Maybe, like working with Argentium 935 generally, you just have to work with it a bit to realize the differences from regular 925 Sterling.
Haven't tried it yet, but I'm prepared to 'give it a go' one day when I get through all the other things I'm trying to teach myself about these hobbies.
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Carol M
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"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2014, 06:23:35 am »

I find a couple of things troubling in that article. First, joints MUST fit perfectly for a good solder joint. If not, the solder will actually release gases at the joint. That's what causes pitting at the joints. 

Secondly, when solder is heated and flowed, some of the alloy is burnt off making that joint 'a little' harder when reheated for additional soldering. It is all about heat control. That's why some people can use the same grade of solder on multiple joints.
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2018, 07:48:38 pm »

George - I've done this before in the past but have found that my bezel will sometime open up or separate when soldering other parts of the piece.  Am I doing something wrong or is there a way to over come this problem when using all hard solder?

Thanks for the help!
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Robert
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« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2018, 10:20:14 pm »

I am not the absolute expert, but the one and only thing I can think would be happening is that your getting the piece to hot, and maybe to hot to fast.

I have never used the hotter acetylene, only propane which burns a bit cooler.  So the hotter acetylene, and or just getting the piece to hot with what ever gas your using would be a guess.

I may have been a little overly cautious when I soldered, but I liked to bring the piece up to the solders melting point slowly..  Moving the torch slowly around the outside of the piece, letting the solder chips sitting on the interior, melt and be drawn under the tape and to the outside towards the torch's heat.  And all the time, keeping the flame somewhat away from the bezel joint..

Although I see plenty of videos where they just point and melt, so what do I know ! 

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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2018, 10:09:25 am »

I use the keep propane, Home DePot plumbers, torch so nothing too hot for me either.  I also try and do the slow heat-up - usually starting underneath till the flu turn clear/disappears before moving up top.  Getting the bezel too hot is the only thing I can think of that might be happening as I also use the "swirl" method to get the solder to flow.  Like I said, it doesn't happen a lot but it just happen again a couple of weeks ago so it was on my mind.
Thanks for the help,
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Robert
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« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2018, 11:30:42 am »

Like I said, it doesn't happen a lot but it just happen again a couple of weeks ago so it was on my mind.
Thanks for the help,

I think it can happen to anyone at any time Robert..
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