Copper solder for soldering copper?

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My girlfriend was looking for a copper colored solder to solder copper to avoid the silver line of silver solder(sounds like some sort of tongue twister):). Someone from Ganoskin suggested using a pre-1981 penny(hammering it and drawing it out then cutting it into strips). From what I remember from school the difference between soldering, brazing, and welding is temperature and the intermixing of metals. My first question is has anybody heard of such a solution for soldering copper? If so, how is it possible to solder a metal with the same metal? Wouldn't the temperature to melt one be the same to melt the other, making this welding? If this is actually soldering, can someone please explain the difference between soldering, brazing, and welding? Normally I probably wouldn't give this a second though, but usually the information from Ganoskin is pretty good.

Jake


don johnson's picture

I have tried several

I have tried several solutions to your question. Using strips of parent material can work,but the melting point is too close. Elecrical wire seems to be de-ox, but again the melting point is two close. I would use Harris zero for best color match. Just don't try to grind it or it will appear bright.


Rich Waugh's picture

Jake, You're correct in your

Jake,

You're correct in your understanding of the differences between soldering, brazing and welding. You can TIG weld copper, but it take a LOT of heat and a very deft touch to avoid meltdown. Soldering is far easier if you don't the higher strength of welding or silver soldering.

I don't know of any copper-colored low melting point solder, but they come up with new stuff all the time so there may very well be one available now. Back when I was doing stained glass work, we used a patinating chemical that turned the lead/tin soldera copper color. I would think that might solve your problem, perhaps. Check with the stianed glass supply places or boards for more info.


eligius1427's picture

Thanks Rich and Don, We'll

Thanks Rich and Don, We'll look into both.

Jake


walker's picture

Harris 0 rods are supposed

Harris 0 rods are supposed to be an great color match for copper.

Walker


don thibodeaux's picture

welding copper

I use the Harris 0 phos-copper rod the oxy-weld very thin copper. I is tricky, but it works well and takes patinas. Here's a picture of the copper Copper Restoration Project- "THE SICK DAYS OF SUMMER"Copper Restoration Project- "THE SICK DAYS OF SUMMER"piece I'm restoring.


B.J. Severtson's picture

welding

Jake.
I'd call the process welding. Hint to understanding: two items with the same composition and melting point can melt at differing times if they are not of the same mass. It's about btu's not temp. Copper wire will work and be easier to find than a copper penny. For that matter a red gold solder may also work. The direct weld approach and the red gold solder approach will both require torch control Ie. practice. Most times the seam showing isn't the real problem, It's the excessive excess solder showing. Another hint : the pieces of " solder" are thinner than a sheet of paper and about as big as the period at the end of this sentence. My flame is about the size of this l It's an oxy acte flame so you know the temp. It's a jewelry problem. another realm within the metalsmithing world. Brad


visitor's picture

My solution is to silver

My solution is to silver solder with my usual silver solders and when the last soldering is done, copper plate it by using "blue" pickle and a piece of iron. If there is a lot of buffing, filing, sanding to do, do it first as the copper plate is thin.

marilyn


Summerlander's picture

"blue pickle"

What is "blue" pickle? Can I make it using Citric acid pickle solution?


marilyn's picture

Sorry to be so slow to

Sorry to be so slow to answer this. I think it does not matter what the pickle is. I have used Sparex and Phdown (swimming pool chemical) which is a more pure form of Sparex. After the pickle has been used for a while even if just for silver, the liquid becomes blue from the dissolved copper. This is the copper that plates out onto silver.

Now if you are working silver and you put the silver into the pickle and in a moment of forgetfulness, pick it out with steel tweezers, you will copper plate the silver and you do not like that. In this case, put enough of the same pickle into a container to cover the silver piece. Add a glug glug of drug store hydrogen peroxide. This makes a short lived pickle that will remove the pick coloring without you needing to sand it off.


visitor's picture

Blue pickle?

what is it?


paisleymermaid's picture

Copper Solder

FYI, they do make copper solder. Are you still looking for it? I found it on ebay and will research exactly who I bought it from if you want. Otherwise, try doing a search on ebay for it.
I haven't used it yet so I can't say how it looks when done.


visitor's picture

copper solder

When you use the copper solder please post how it came out. I am new to soldering and am very interested in doing copper poeces.
Thnaks


visitor's picture

soldering copper jewelry

I am also beginning to experiment in copper jewelry. Right now I am just using copper wire to make jewelry, but want to learn to solder. My husband bought me a 750 degree electric solder, but I have no idea how to use it. Do you need to take a course in metalsmithing? Will an electric solder get hot enought to use with copper? If anyone out there knows, please post. Thanks, Susan


Rich Waugh's picture

Susan, You can solder copper

Susan,

You can solder copper with an electric soldering gun or iron, but only with soft solder. Soft solder is primarily made of tin and/or lead, with various alloying elements added. It will hold things together, but it does not have near the strength of the high-temperature solders generally used for copper, silver and gold jewelry. These so-called "hard" solders melt at temperatures between about 1100 degrees and 1600 degrees (Fahrenheit) and a fuel gas torch is generally used to do the soldering.

If you are working primarily with wire, sof solder will most likely not have enough strength to keep the wires together, due to the limited contact surface area.

I strongly suggest you obtain and study one of the good books available on the subject of jewelry making and metalsmithing. I highly recommend Oppi Untracht's "Metal Techniques for Craftsmen". It is not, however, inexpensive. You can often find used copies of RObert Von Neumann's "Jewelry Making" pretty cheaply, as it is a commonly used textbook for introductory metalsmithing courses in colleges. These are only a couple; there are a dozen or more that are worth reading and that will give you some of he background information you need in order progress in this endeavor.

Good luck with it and keep us posted on your progress.


visitor's picture

soldering

You will need to learn to use a jeweler's torch to work with thin copper


visitor's picture

copper solder

I am trying to find copper solder as I was making a piece with eagle' beak and pushing the copper with a repousse work to push the beak out and I went through so the beak has a hole. So I am trying to find copper solder to fix the pendant. Thank you


joyce70's picture

Joyce

I saw your blog (this is my FIRST TIME ON IT) on ArtMetal about getting copper solder on ebay. That was quite a while ago so I'm wondering if you've used it by now and how it worked. Could you PLEASE email me at nanajoyce@q.com. I have had so much trouble navigating ArtMetal web site (maybe because I'm 70?). Would appreciate knowing how that worked out for you as silver and gold is soooooooooooo expensive now. Thanks so much.


Summerlander's picture

"copper solder"

Hi, I have been using regular Stay-Brite silver bearing solder with a small propane torch. Yes it is silver in color. Buy a product called Super Brite copper patina for solder and follow the instructions. The product is made by Novacan and they also carry other patina colors. I was so happy to find that it worked really well. Now my solder finally matches the copper. You can find it easily on the internet, I ordered mine from Tracy's Stained Glass Workshop or at a stained glss shop near you. Josey


visitor's picture

Copper Solder

I founds some copper solder on line check out the link below...
http://www.rawtreasures.com/detail.asp?product_id=WCOPSDRE

Copper Wire Solder

Copper Solder 20g Easy - by the Foot. Price: $0.75
Product ID: WCOPSDRE

Description:
20 gauge Easy Copper Solder. 1350 Degree Flow Point. Milled in the USA.

_
~Valois


visitor's picture

Copper Solder

I have been using the rawtreasures copper solder and have been very happy with it, too.
Jenny


visitor's picture

Raw-Treasures Copper Solder

Hi Jenny
I was just surfing the internet looking for some information on soldering with Raw-Treasures Copper Solder. I am trying to solder some copper 19g jump-rings together. I have never soldered anything with other than with low temp. solder.

I am using just a hardware store torch and the end result was Raw-Treasures Copper Solder just balled up on the jump-ring and did not flow at all, similar to a cold joint with low temp. solder.

I am not sure about the flux if there is any in the solder at all or it has to be added. There also could be a anti-tarnish coating on those jump-rings, but I would thought the torch would handled that. If either if these are a problem what would be the best way to handle them?
Bob


Rich Waugh's picture

Bob, You need to have the

Bob,

You need to have the metal clean, that is, freshly sanded or scoured with pumice to remove al loxides and then you need to use flux. I like Battern's Self Pickling Flux, or Handy and Harmon's HandyFlux. Some borax dissolved in water to make a paste will also work.


visitor's picture

Soldering Copper

Rich thanks for the help.
Bob


Rich Waugh's picture

Bob, You're very welcome! I

Bob,

You're very welcome! I got interrupted on that last post and neglected to mention a thing or two.

For homemade flux, I use a mixture of 2 parts borax to one part boric acid dissolved in boiling water to make a thick paste. Once the mixture has cooled to near room temperature I think it to the consistency of cream by adding alcohol. A couple of drops of wetting agent like Ket Dry (sold for electric dishwashers) or Kodak Photo-Flo will help the flux to flow out on the work.

I also heat the wire solder and dip it in the flux to coat it so it doesn't oxidize when it gets heated. Then just heat the parts to be soldered and when they get to a bright red bring the solder to the joint and it should soon flow into the joint nicely.

The borax/boric acid fluxes leave a glassy residue on the surface of the work after soldering. This can be removed by boiling in water for several minutes and then scrubing with a brush.

Rich


visitor's picture

stop copper tarnish

Is there a product that I can use on copper jewelry to keep it from turning green or tarnishing???
Thanks
a newby in these things


Eva's picture

copper anti-tarnish

Eva

Rio Grande jewelry supplies (google it)

carries a laquer that you can dip your brightly cleaned and dry finished piece in. I would reccommend you tumble the piece in an appropriately sized tumbler with shot and cleaner. Both of which Rio carries. You just need to research what product you're looking for. They are also really good about answering questions both by phone and message.


Vic Tecklenburg's picture

Joining Copper Baths via Fusion welding

You can also a few overlap sheets along joints and run a flame at melting point along a thicker seam to fuse them.( Heat Fusion Welding )
Much more difficult than soldering but when ground and polished baths are 100% copper and joints are invisible.

For more pics of Heat Fusion Welding on Copper Baths see:
Copper Bath Pics


colinalexander777's picture

That tub looks amazing

Would it be possible to fuse flat sheets of copper together at the edges , and grind down the seams to a fairly uniform thickness?


visitor's picture

Joining Sheets

With a bit of practice, if you just overlay sheets ( 1mm )you can certainly do fusion welds, one burns a few holes initially but you will get the hang of it over time.


lin's picture

copper colored solder

Jake, Josey mentioned the patina (I think the name is Stay Bright) that can be used over regular solder. I have used it and it works very well and is easy to use. You just clean the flux with alcohol and then apply the patina. I buy it from the local stained glass shop. Lin