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Tips & Tricks. Solder and Fusing.

Updated: Mar 4



In the fascinating world of silversmithing, working with Argentium Silver presents unique opportunities for creativity and innovation. Renowned for its purity, durability, and tarnish resistance, Argentium Silver offers a versatile medium for jewellers and artisans. Two popular techniques for joining Argentium Silver are soldering and fusing. Understanding the nuances between these methods can elevate your craftsmanship and expand your design possibilities. Here's a detailed guide to help you navigate the differences and applications of soldering and fusing Argentium Silver.

What is the Difference?

Soldering: This process involves using a filler metal (solder) to join pieces of Argentium Silver together. The solder, which has a lower melting point than the base metal, is applied with heat, causing it to flow into the joint. Once cooled, it solidifies, creating a strong bond between the pieces. Soldering allows for precise control and is ideal for complex assemblies.


Fusing: Fusing is a technique where pieces of Argentium Silver are heated until they reach a temperature just below their melting point, causing them to bond directly to each other without the need for a filler metal. Fusing exploits the unique properties of Argentium Silver, which has a higher melting point than traditional sterling silver and exhibits excellent malleability when heated.

 

Tools / Materials Needed

For Soldering:

  • Solder (Argentium Silver solder is available in different flow temperatures: easy, medium, and hard)

  • Flux: To prevent oxidation and facilitate the flow of solder

  • Heat source: A torch capable of reaching the necessary temperatures

  • Pickling solution: To clean the piece after soldering

  • Protective gear: Safety glasses and heat-resistant gloves

For Fusing:

  • Heat source: A torch with a fine tip for precise heat application

  • Soldering block or heat-resistant surface

  • Tweezers or pick-up tools for positioning and adjusting

  • Protective gear: Safety glasses and heat-resistant gloves

  • Optionally, a brush with water or a spray bottle to control the process and cool specific areas

Additional Tips

 

1. Cleanliness is Key: Both techniques require that the Argentium Silver surfaces to be joined are meticulously clean and free of oils, dirt, or oxidation. Use a de-greasing agent or alcohol to clean your pieces before beginning.

 

2. Controlled Heating: Argentium Silver conducts heat more efficiently than traditional sterling, so heat control is crucial. Work slowly and evenly to avoid overheating, which can lead to melting or warping.

 

3. Practice Makes Perfect: Both soldering and fusing with Argentium Silver have learning curves. Practice on scrap pieces to refine your technique and understand the behaviour of the metal under heat.

 

4. Patina Considerations: While Argentium is less prone to tarnish, the use of certain fluxes in soldering can discolour the metal. Pickling and proper finishing will restore the metal's natural lustre.

 

By mastering both soldering and fusing techniques with Argentium Silver, you can push the boundaries of your craftsmanship, creating pieces that stand out for their beauty, durability, and technical excellence. Remember, the choice between soldering and fusing often comes down to the specific requirements of your project and your personal aesthetic preferences. Experiment with both to discover the unique possibilities each method brings to your work.

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