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Topics: Wire, Argentium Solder, Soldering

Q.
I'm trying to solder Argentium Silver wire. Everything I have read says that I don't need flux, but when I soldered the wire it went black--like sterling--and didn't melt. Can you suggest a good flux and give some direction on how to solder?
- Nina
A.
Argentium® sterling silver has a lower melting point (about 60 degrees lower than traditional sterling silver), so the solder should flow a little sooner depending on the grade of solder and technique. Use a liquid or paste flux to help any solder flow.

When soldering:
  • Make certain the joins are clean and tight, that is, no air space between the joins
    • This will allow any solder to flow, regardless of the type of solder
  • 30-gauge Argentium solder sheets can be cut into snippets and used to solder joints
    • This solder has been developed to eliminate oxidation at the solder joint
  • There is no need to use a firescale retardant since Argentium is alloyed with germanium
    • Germanium loves oxygen and forms a protective barrier over the surface of the metal, preventing oxidation and tarnish
  • After heating the Argentium piece overall, concentrate the flame on the solder join itself and heat until the solder flows
  • Let the piece cool down before quenching in water--shock cracks can occur if cooled too quickly
  • Place the soldered item into a pickle solution (an acidic chemical solution) heated in a pickle pot
    • The warm pickle will clean the metal of any oxidation (blackening) which may occur during the soldering
  • Rinse in clean water
Note: Observe safety precautions with any chemicals and soldering techniques.

- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Designer and Instructor

Materials

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