This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1985 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda Weiss-Edwards herself.


Dear Linda,

In the fall issue of Metalsmith you mentioned Grifflux #1. Is this flux better than Handy Flux because it contains no fluorides? Where can Grifflux #1 be purchased? My main concern for improvement in my own studio is a ventilation system. From your article in Metalsmith Papers, I gather a local system for soldering and pickling areas must be made to fit each studio?

– Beth Carey

Dear Beth,

Gifflux #1 may be purchased from Otto Frei & Jules Borel, 114 Third Street, Oakland, CA 94607 Telephone: (415) 832-0355. They are supportive of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, and you should mention that you are a member when you place your order. I recommend Grifflux because it contains no free fluorides and I particularly like a paste flux for the long, continuous seams; in some of my holloware projects. Frei & Borel also sells a fluoride-free liquid flux for hard soldering gold, silver and platinum alloys. It should work like Batterns. It’s called “K” flux; 4 ounces costs $3.50. When tested in our studio we found it to be a good alternative to Batterns, although it seemed to require more heat to make gold solder flow.

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Your understanding of ventilation is correct. A ventilation system for pickling, soldering and kiln operations, should be tailored to each individual studio situation. There is a new book out that you may find helpful in setting up your ventilation system. Ventilation. A Practical Guide, by Nancy Clark, M.A., Thomas Cutter, PE., Jean-Ann McGrave, M.S , Center for Occupational Hazards, New York, 1984, $7.50. This book is concise (approximately 100 pages), complete and easy to understand. The information is clearly and logically presented, and it is applicable to single-person studios, light manufacturing and classroom situations.

Some other safety products were provided by Frei & Borel for evaluation, and are available from Frei & Borel They were tested and evaluated by John Edwards in the manufacturing studio of Weiss/Edwards Designs. The soldering blocks were tested for high heat performance while soldering 14k and 18k hard solders.

German Soldering Block ($2.75) This is a tall, square bricklike block, similar in shape to a charcoal block. It took heat well, it did not disintegrate nor break down under high heat. It did not take heat away from the piece. The block will hold pins and binding wire used in soldering jigs. The block did not emit any offensive fumes when subjected to high heat. The only problem encountered was when soldering jump rings, it seemed to inhibit a complete flow of solder if any of the joint was in contact with the block. But if a soldering probe was used to pivot the joint off the block, the solder would flow as expected. This block does not contain asbestos.

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Abestos-Free Soldering Block ($6.70) #54.210.1. This is shaped like the old asbestos soldering pads and comes in two sizes: 6 x 6 x ½” and 12 x 12 x ½”. An acidlike smell came off the block when heat was applied. It burned John’s eyes and nose (testing was done without masks and filters so fumes could be detected) The block also had a tendency to disintegrate with high heat.

Cricket Safety Glasses, clear #9180 ($6.95) and infrared #3.0 ($9.95). Both glasses are great. They are comfortable to wear afford good protection. are impact-resistant (not unbreakable) and the lenses do not distort.

Submit questions for this column (typewritten, double-spaced) to Linda Weiss-Edwards, P.O. Box 1032, Sausalito, CA 94966.

The author of this column assumes no liability for the processes, procedures and precautions recommended herein.