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Re: [Orchid] Soldering silver bangle with mouth blown torch
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R.E.Rourke Saturday, July 27, 2013
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    Forgetting the argentium since its not what you have, and knowing
    the capacities of mouth pipes it is perfectly acceptable to use it to
    do your simple join: First reclean and scrape any old solder, flux
    glass and whatever else may be sticking to the metal (oxides, etc.)
    off the ends and pickle. rinse well and neutralise it with sodium
    bicarb, rinse- dry and start again. Sand or otherwise expose clean
    silver on all parts of the join. Make ready your soldering fixtures
    so you can heat from all sides (using a tripod with nichromium
    netting works extremely well with a mouth pipe).If you don't have a
    tripod, have your charcoal fixtures cleaned and ready to prop up the
    ends and create a wall to reduce the oxygen in the atmosphere around
    the piece. Bind the ends of the wire or otherwise clamp them
    together. Warm the metal. Apply flux : you may want to use a paste
    as its a good indicator of temperature and goes clear when the flux
    is near the flow point of most "hard" solders. Handy flux, Hoover and
    Strong's' FreeFlo" proprietary paste flux, Goba (in the EU),and
    Dandix are all reasonable brand names, or A product I love for all
    flux and firecoat applications :Cupronil- (its a spray on liquid that
    prevents firescale and is a flux all -in - one, goes on absolutely
    evenly, and one can build up layers on warmed metal to make the
    firescale preventative extra effective and the flux action extremely
    free flowing. but any flux you have that is not contaminated will
    work. Place the paillion on the join once the firecoat (if you use
    one) has formed a skin, and the flux has clarified. Apply full heat
    from the bellows pumping action and concentrate it around the join
    until the flux glass liquifies and then you see the paillion begin to
    melt. Once the melt happens and it runs through the joint remove the
    heat to check the joint but don't put the flame out yet, if the join
    is not sound, you may need to quickly reflux and add more solder. If
    it still fails- make sure your ends are flush- file the whole off
    with a bastard file, so clean metal is exposed. Get a new
    brush/applicator (if using a paste type flux) and apply clean flux
    or pickle, neutralise, rinse and dry the join, bind or clamp as
    needed to hold the ends perfectly together with no gaps. Warm the
    cleaned metal and spray on or otherwise apply flux to metal and using
    a clean pick ( preferably of titanium in a wood handle as solder will
    not stick to Ti, and one can pre-bead the solder and/or) move the
    solder bead into place if you have trouble with the paillion as it is
    or move it around with a pick as necessary if it slips out of place
    from the air pressure of the pipe. The solder should run into the
    joint. At that point remove all heat. Check for soundness. 

    Remember, *solder is not caulk!* It will not fill gaps in the metal
    and the metal itself must be clean and oil free, the solder too must
    be clean and not dirty. If you don't cut many paillions at once into
    a container it is likely the solder sheet becomes dirty and
    fingerprinted. Use an alcohol wipe and clean the sheet, then cut your
    paillions into a holding container. If you use stick solder (wire
    solder) wipe the stick with denatured (ethyl) alcohol on cotton wool.
    The mouth pipe is and has been perfectly effective for many many
    centuries and was my first soldering tool for silver gold and small
    Pt group wires (filigree) or cloisonnes when enamelling. That isn't
    the problem. Ensure the flame is close enough to the work and warm
    the metal. Don't think it the same as a torch with which you have to
    move it over the entire area constantly to do even hit-and-run
    soldering. the flame must be constant- that comes with knowing your
    pipe and the thickness of the metal being worked. One thing to do to
    assist in a faster sound joining is to run the sheet of solder
    through a rolling mill to thin it as much as possible before cutting
    the paillions. With an 8 mm piece of metal (x 2 mm) you may need 2
    small paillions or beads of solder to flow and fill the join cleanly.
    You don't want to have to clean up excess solder from overflows. If
    it does overflow from too much solder in whatever form, you should
    use a copper braid to absorb the excess but that requires reheating
    the joint and you can detach the ends this way quite easily. So
    balance the equipment and consumables. ensure on your first
    re-attempt that all parts are clean and oil free, you have pre-warmed
    the metal and built a firecoat keeping heat from the blowpipe on the
    work, When the flux starts to create glass, place or move the
    paillion into place (or touch the heated joint with wire solder).It
    should immediately flow into the join at which time you back the heat
    off quickly. test it and it should be a done deal! I can't stress
    enough preheating, using the right flux and firecoat in an
    appropriate quantity given the work, the amount of heat you direct
    onto the work before you apply the paillion and the point when you
    back off the heat all contribute to one's success using a blowpipe
    particularly with natural/city gas line run to the assembly. If you
    master the technique it is the safest and most time tested way to
    solder without having to deal with an Oxygen/Fuel set-up, refiling
    tanks or rentals and insuring one's studio when it's your livelihood
    and the building or area in which you live has restrictions on the
    allowed torch types or soldering set up ( most "regulative bodies" do
    not have problems with butane torches). 

    Much heat can be generated from a basic brass blow pipe. It can be
    reamed to allow more air to flow through. The mouthpiece must match
    the capacity of the pipe though. Having an effective flux and
    firecoat in one product (like Cupronil if a liquid is desired) Handy
    flux or Goba, if a paste or there are gels, or you use an oil for
    repair are the best for both soldering and protecting the metal
    (particularly silvers) from stain or scale (oxides result from a
    non-reducing flame) as with a blowpipe with which you are controlling
    not only the flame and direction but directing the solder to the
    work. Once you have practised it and become proficient, it is a great
    skill most never even try as it is not taught in the US and the
    America's but is still found in many goldsmith's shops in Europe, the
    Occident and the Orient. I hope you will not give up on the blowpipe
    as I personally wish more would learn to use the method. If you are
    using propane keep in mind the heat will be lesser than acetylene,
    and natural gas. If I can be of further assistance please contact me.

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