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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Australia
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    6

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    Hi Peter,

    I haven't been able to get one decent photo of the silver shadowing on a piece yet, would help if my camera phone had a macro function! I will continue to try.

    In terms of my soldering setup - I use a borax cone with water. I grind it to a reasonable consistency, still quite runny but almost opaque, nowhere near a paste like consistency. I paint it on to the area around the joint, heat it slowly until the flux stops bubbling and begins to settle down on the surface. I then add my solder. Heat until it flows, although sometimes once it becomes glassy it seems to form a layer between the solder and the joint and refuses to flow. I use medium or hard wire solder from Koodak I don't want to say to much about that place... you never know who's reading... other than that I go there because it's the only place I know of that still carries a reasonable amount of stock, unlike the store I use to frequent one floor up from them in the Century Building, Swanston Street. I once enquired about what exactly was in the solder Koodak were selling but they didn't have any idea. I did a fusing/granulation workshop and the teacher (R.B.) was using 'Au flux'. He said he also used it for work with silver and base metals, I've been meaning to buy a bottle. What are your thoughts on that? I've never gone near Tenacity, that seems like pretty nasty stuff.

    Your metho/boracic acid combination sounds great,it makes a lot of sense that the metho would spread the particles far more evenly. Is there any issues with applying a naked flame to metho? Also, let's say my ventilation set-up is currently pretty primitive (an open window). Can the boracic acid powder be acquired easily?

    "I must use less solder than I reckon the joint needs" is great advice, also avoiding overheating, applying heat evenly, knowing when to stop. There's just something about having a torch in your hand there's always a temptation to hold it on that little bit longer than what it requires. I guess ultimately it's a matter of good advice - you have given me more in that one post that anyone has ever taught me at uni!!- and practice, practice and more practice. What's the figure - 10,000 hours to become proficient at a craft... While I'm trying my hardest I've got a fair while 'til I get there!

    Many thanks for your time, advice and warm welcome
    Beck

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    26

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    Quote Originally Posted by beck-t View Post
    Hi Peter,

    I haven't been able to get one decent photo of the silver shadowing on a piece yet, would help if my camera phone had a macro function! I will continue to try.

    In terms of my soldering setup - I use a borax cone with water. I grind it to a reasonable consistency, still quite runny but almost opaque, nowhere near a paste like consistency. I paint it on to the area around the joint, heat it slowly until the flux stops bubbling and begins to settle down on the surface. I then add my solder. Heat until it flows, although sometimes once it becomes glassy it seems to form a layer between the solder and the joint and refuses to flow. I use medium or hard wire solder from Koodak I don't want to say to much about that place... you never know who's reading... other than that I go there because it's the only place I know of that still carries a reasonable amount of stock, unlike the store I use to frequent one floor up from them in the Century Building, Swanston Street. I once enquired about what exactly was in the solder Koodak were selling but they didn't have any idea. I did a fusing/granulation workshop and the teacher (R.B.) was using 'Au flux'. He said he also used it for work with silver and base metals, I've been meaning to buy a bottle. What are your thoughts on that? I've never gone near Tenacity, that seems like pretty nasty stuff.
    .....
    Beck
    Beck,
    plenty of observations that seem pretty close to mine about our jewellery supply chain.

    These folk look like the go to place for boracic acid!
    Boric acid

    Try this procedure on a couple of pieces of brass or silver.

    Polish them up to about 1200 W&D, then on to a heating wire mat, paint your boric/boracic acid on a couple of times burning it off after each layer.
    Gently warm the work, then use the AU Flux to sizzle into the joint. (never liked borax cones)
    With AU flux I can watch the solder flow, if I get a failure with that, I go to Tenacity flux. It gives a more reliable flow...BUT you can't actually see the metal flowing. So you need to be sure you haven't loaded up the joint.

    Heat the work from the area with the largest mass to the smaller piece, watch the flux glass off, then apply the medium silver solder moving the heat towards the solder wire (but not all over it) quickly in, then out again as you feed a little in.
    If you are using pallions of solder, you can use a brush to place them, or a fluxed steel poker to pick them up and place them. But I'd get it warm first before putting solder on.
    Solder will run to the hotter place, so you can drag it along a joint using the torch.
    I did this with my mouth blown torch and took a video of it on the phone.
    Ill try and upload it for you to see.
    Then into the acid pickle for a short time.
    Warning!!!! too long with brass in acid is a problem with lifting out the zinc, leaving a nice red copper layer to be removed afterwards. ( look up colouring gold... leach out the alloys and leave a nice pure gold surface to be brushed or burnished...nice finish....a coulple of local jewellers like/do that process. It imitates the very early granular look as well. It also is how to prep sterling silver for enameling, there you need to leach out the copper with acid since it reacts with some of the oxides in the enamel.)

    As an aside, jewellery making is complete with the handling of many things like poisons, flames, acid and sharp tools.
    We don't need to a poke crocodiles with a stick, and surf with sharks to make jewellery....but we need to be able to understand how to not poison, burn or cut ourselves.

    On this piece I soldered here, I deliberately pushed the silver onto the brass to make a stain. If you place the solder wire into the joint carefully you will not get this. Then I used a home made 600 grit W&D emery disk, make these by sticking packing tape onto the back of the W&D then cutting into squares and cutting round with scissors, then I followed with a fiberglass brush under running water.

    Cheers,
    Peter

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth WA
    Age
    65
    Posts
    5,789

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    Hello Peter,

    I can't thank you enough for taking the time to describe the processes and techniques you use. Beck isn't the only one who will benefit from your expertise. It has been thirty years since I have experienced the satisfaction of watching solder flow where it was meant to flow.

    BT

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anorak Bob View Post
    Hello Peter,

    I can't thank you enough for taking the time to describe the processes and techniques you use. Beck isn't the only one who will benefit from your expertise. It has been thirty years since I have experienced the satisfaction of watching solder flow where it was meant to flow.

    BT
    Bob,
    Thanks for that.
    I made a video, and did a solder joint using my mouth blown torch, with medium silver solder on brass. (I'll try and embed a video in the next post .... )
    After about 10 minutes in the pickle, I took a couple of pics, then gave it a polish with a short bristle brush and white DIALUX compound. That took off the white stain really quickly.
    The boracic/boric acid really does a good job of preserving the polish.
    I still remember the first time I was shown that trick, over 40 years ago. I know where I was, and who showed me. The bloke I worked for was a goose and had no idea, and it was a real nice fellow who worked for my employer's brother in the workshop next door.
    Here are some more pictures.
    Peter






  5. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    26

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    Looks like this might work ... first video I've put up here.
    Please excuse the rubbish music in the back ground, the iPod decided I needed some jangling instead of calming tunes.
    There are some steel ball bearings in the boracic acid bottle, a shake gets them to mix up the settled powder into the metho.
    Having control over the torch with both hands on the work using the mouth is a bonus. Another old tool that has been consigned to the "too hard to master category", and rejected by those who think they know better.
    I get questions from all over the world from folk wanting to buy them.

    Peter


  6. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth WA
    Age
    65
    Posts
    5,789

    Default

    Fantastic!!!

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Age
    67
    Posts
    5,075

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    Not that it needs to be said, but I'll say it anyway. Beautiful work! Nice to see someone with that 10,000 hours under the belt.

    Ray

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    52
    Posts
    4,426

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightwood View Post
    Having control over the torch with both hands on the work using the mouth is a bonus. Another old tool that has been consigned to the "too hard to master category"
    So is the mouth control of the torch feeding (exhaled) air directly to the flame or does tube control a diaphragm valve or similar to vary oxygen flow?
    Interesting

    Michael

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael G View Post
    So is the mouth control of the torch feeding (exhaled) air directly to the flame

    Michael
    Michael,
    You had it right first time. They are a very basic torch.
    In the past they were just a tube with a gas flame at the end, and a blowpipe in the mouth.
    A spirit lamp or candle will make a usable flame for a blowpipe.
    The one I use has a nozzle with gas supply controlled with a tap, and the air blown through a small pipe in the center.
    More pictures...



    From a book, around 1950s



    Some of the mouth blown torches and blowpipes I have.



    This torch below was used during the 1950s in a Melbourne jewellery workshop when gas strikes were common.
    Bottom of this page


  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SE Queensland
    Posts
    2

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    I'm looking forward to reading this whole thread having just skimmed it because of time constraints. One way of cleaning copper that I've heard about but never tried is to use tomato sauce (ketchup, catsup). You've probably got some in the pantry or the fridge!

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    6

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    Peter I've just become aware of the fact that the reply I posted a couple of days after your series of posts never actually ended up online. I think it had something to do with the fact that I was replying via my phone. So many fantastic points that you have raised and the photos and video really help to paint a picture. The mouth torch is so great, the only other person I've known who uses one is a friend who was over from Germany on exchange. I had no idea of the extent to which it frees you up. I wonder how difficult it would be to get my hands on one? You appear to have quite a substantial collection, love the pictures from the old book also. I'm going to continue this post tomorrow, until then.. Beck

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    519

    Default mouth blown torch

    beck- t this mob used to sell them they may even make one for you it has been many years since I dealt with them

    Bulgin Gas Equipment Pty Ltdy
    Unit 6/ 64 Oak Rd Kirrawee, NSW 2232
    Phone: (02) 9545 639

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    6

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    Peter,
    Your point about only leaving it in the pickle for a limited time - 10 minutes - is something I've not heard before/lecturers have neglected to tell us. It sounds like limiting the time as well as polishing with the DIALUX compound is the way to remove the pink tinge as well as the silver ghosting effect. The binding wire 'devil' featured in one of the images from the '50s book looks cool. I imagine the air circulation it would provide would probably be far superior to most of the 'honeycomb' blocks I have used up until now. I solder almost everything on a horizontal surface - usually a soldering block. Holding the piece in the air and having control over it with two hands is such a different approach, allowing more freedom of movement and preventing heat from being drawn away by the surface of the soldering block.

    I have printed out your notes and instructions which are now up in front of my soldering bay at the studio and have sent screen shots to a couple of friends/fellow jewellers as it's more comprehensive than anything anyone else has ever provided us with by a million miles!

    Many, many thanks,
    Beck

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    6

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    Hi China,
    Interesting, I will give them a call and see if it is something they still offer... unfortunately having one made for me would probably be a little out of my budget for now. I've been keeping my eyes peeled on ebay and gumtree but no luck so far
    Regards,
    Beck

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