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Topic: Does anyone have any advice on choosing a silver sauterer and where to buy one?  (Read 791 times)
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Kidagirl8
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« on: June 12, 2012 04:57:22 PM »

Please help me I need to buy a silver sauterer but I don't know much about them. Like what kinds there are? Do they have different power levels? Are they any different from a sauterer you could buy at a hardware store? If they are how are they different? What kind of silver sauterer is the best to buy? Is there anything else I will need to buy with it? If so can you you tell me what would be the best kind of stuff to buy with it? Thank you for your time and helpful advice! Grin
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Blacksmith
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012 06:17:35 AM »

I'm not very familiar with the tool you're referring to, could you provide me a link for a reference?
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Alexus1325
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012 05:15:13 PM »

I think you want a soldering iron. Get yourself the kind for soldering electronics. They are awesome and last forever. Just ask my dad, who has the same soldering iron he was using 25 years ago.
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Kidagirl8
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012 07:20:49 PM »

oh ok thank you my mom kept calling it a silver solderer so I thought that was a type of Iron solder that was made to be used for jewelry. I guess not.
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sarah_charade
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2012 07:25:22 AM »

I think you want a soldering iron. Get yourself the kind for soldering electronics. They are awesome and last forever. Just ask my dad, who has the same soldering iron he was using 25 years ago.

NO. No No No. If you're making jewelry (which I will assume, since you're asking about silver solder specifically - non-jewelry items like electronics, stained glass, etc can be done with lead or copper solder which is different) do NOT use a soldering iron. I know it's tempting, they can be as cheap as $15, but that is not the right tool. Jewelry requires an open flame to solder, to reduce carbon damage to the piece. You need to get a jewelry torch if this is the application you intend it for.

http://www.jewelrymakingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2012/04/06/micro-torches-101-part-1-the-which-what-and-why-of-butane-torches-by-kate-richbourg.aspx

Most beginners would start with a small butane torch. Butane is relatively inexpensive, and safe to use indoors. You can get the type that home bakers use for creme brulee.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012 07:27:55 AM by sarah_charade » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Alexus1325
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012 02:04:44 PM »

I wrote this whole huge thing about soldering (most of which I've deleted) because I was startled and upset by your tone, Sarah. I was trying to be helpful.

I think I should add to this discussion the reasons behind your statements, which I discovered in the course of writing my post. I prefer to add references to my educational comments, hence I had the opportunity to do some learning myself.

Soldering is basically brazing with a lower-melting-point joint filler; the solder flows into a super-heated joint through capillary action. Well-made (potentially expensive) equipment pays for itself in the long run through versatility and longevity. A $15 Walmart soldering iron would only be useful for repairing household electrical devices, NOT electronics. I would trust such an iron for replacing a cord on a lamp, nothing more.

A "jewelry" torch is FOR soldering (the Little Torch looks particularly awesome). The reason a torch is utilized instead of a soldering iron is because of the necessarily higher temperatures needed for soldering a higher-percentage silver solder. As opposed to the "mere" 450 celcius (840 farenheit) required for lead-less soldering in electronics, fine silver jewelry soldering requires a temperature exceeding 650 celcius (1200 farenheit).

I found no reference to carbon damage during my research, only to weakness of joins when using the incorrect lower-melting-point/lower-silver-content solder. The purpose of using a high-silver-content solder when soldering fine silver jewelry is to balance ease of joining with strength of the join. A silver content nearly as high as the silver being joined requires such a high temperature that you risk damaging the jewelry but potentially gives the strongest join, while a solder with too low a silver content will result in a significantly more brittle join. This would be why fine silver solder is between certain percentages of silver, no lower than X, no higher than Y.

Anyway, the main difference between electronics soldering and jewelry soldering is not the material (a silver-alloy solder) nor the size (REALLY tiny), but the aspect of the solder that is being utilized. In electronics, the important aspect is conductivity, but in jewelry making, it is load-bearing strength.

Sorry there's not many references. I have a thousand browser tabs open, plus I learned a lot about electronics soldering from my father, and a lot about welding from my boyfriend. Either way, this is some really cool stuff, as if I need yet another hobby!
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Blacksmith
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2012 06:26:30 PM »

Really cool stuff.

First off I agree entirely with Alexus and partly Sarah.
The major thing you need to be able to do is reach the temperatures necessary to melt your solder or other material, high wattage irons are usually the best if you don't wanna muck around with gas. There are irons made specifically for auto body repair that work wonderfully.
As a side note, before we had all these nifty compressed gasses, how do you think jewelry was made? A chunk of iron heated to temperature and used to apply heat where it was needed.

Now, carbon.
You get a bunch of carbon deposits, you're usually not cleaning the piece well enough or not using enough or the correct fluxing agent.

That or you're just having some really bad luck.
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The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy.-Oscar Wilde

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sarah_charade
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2012 09:32:47 AM »

I wrote this whole huge thing about soldering (most of which I've deleted) because I was startled and upset by your tone, Sarah. I was trying to be helpful.

Sorry, Alexus. That wasn't my intention. It's just that I had seen the OP read your first, less educated post and repeated "soldering iron" in her response. As a novice jewelry student myself, I felt I needed to be very clear that the tool is not your average everyday soldering "iron". I know you were just trying being helpful, but it's actually not helpful to the OP who is an untrained and novice jewelry artist, and who didn't even know the correct terms to use, when you give partial or inaccurate advice due to your own lack of knowledge.

There are various reasons jewelry needs an open flame, not just a hot tip. But now you've researched it and posted a much better answer to the original question. So, good job for looking into it so thoroughly and giving the OP a good answer about what to use and where to find it.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012 09:36:35 AM by sarah_charade » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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