Copper solder

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Hi everyone,
I'm a fine artist who is just starting to work in metals...mainly copper right now. Attempting to solder copper pieces together (jewellery pieces).
First question-what is the best solder to use, is there a copper solder?
Would appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance!


Rich Waugh's picture

Kimberly, Welcome to

Kimberly, Welcome to ArtMetal! Yes, there is a copper-colored hard solder for copper. It melts at about the same temperature as "easy" grade silver solder, around 1350F. The color match is not perfect, but it is better than regular silver solder and won't show a bright silver line. The copper solder is available from Raw Treasures.  I've used it and it works fine.

If you are using soft solder, that is solder that melts around 450-600F, there are no copper-colored solders available but you can color the soft solder afterward using patina chemicals available from stained glass supply houses.  I believe Jax makes one and so do a couple other places.

Rich


crquack's picture

I have got this stuff on

I have got this stuff on order:

http://www.riogrande.com/MemberArea/ProductPage.aspx?assetname=503053&page=GRID&category%7ccategory_root%7c126=Soldering+Equipment+and+Supplies&category%7ccat_126%7c4428=Solder

I'll let you know how it works when I've tried it.

crquack


frcontrone's picture

Quick trick

I do lots of copper work. I use this solder exclusively for all my copper work. The problem most have encountered is it will leave a gray color at the solder joint after being pickled. Well after years of working with it, I found a simple solution short of contaminating the pickle to re-plate the item. Pickle is mostly made using some form of acid that has been diluted. When sparex became harder to get from my usual outlets, I changed to rio pickle. At first I hated it. I had to let the copper sit in it longer. But then I found that it didn't leech out the copper in the solder while I was pickling it. So a winning combination is the rio pickle and the high copper bearing solder no matter where you purchase it. Another thing about the rio pickle, as it gets used more, it will as it ages start to turn your copper products a funky fushia color after pickling. It is old, at this point just mix up as new batch. Best used at medium heat if you use crock pots (I get mine at yard sales)


visitor's picture

Thanks so much!I Will check

Thanks so much!I Will check out the products you suggested.


crquack's picture

I am not impressed with any

I am not impressed with any of the pastes. Looking through other fora others have had the same experience. I have gone back to using wire pallions. Even with my inferior skill and equipment the results are better.

Unfortunately this does not help you as my joints continue to be silvery in colour :-)

crquack


Stephen Fitz-Gerald's picture

Jax patinas

Stephen Fitz-Gerald
I've used several of the cold patinas Rich referred to sold by Jax,and they work well for bronze and copper. They are easier than most because they are applied cold. I especially like their "darkener for bronze and copper".The metal must be cleaned thoroughly with no residue left behind in order for the patina to take...


visitor's picture

Copper Solder

Copper Solder called Fos-flo # 7 is available from Indian Jewelers Supply Co in Albuquerque, NM: www.ijsinc.com
It is very inexpensive. It comes in 20 ga. round wire and the composition is 92.75% copper and 7.25% phosphorus. It is self fluxing so you don';t need to use flux but you do need high heat to make it flow which means you need to use a propane/oxygen torch outfit (such as the Smith "Little Torch") or an oxygen/acetylene torch. Joint color is light copper. You can also use silver solder (available from the same supplier) but the joint or seam will be silver colored.


RPMetal108's picture

copper solder

Hey Kim,

Are you using a torch or a TIG?

If you're using a torch, you can use copper welding flux with copper welding rod and it will give you a really close color match.


visitor's picture

Copper Color Solder

Copper Colored solder is also available at http://www.beadmeus.com/coppercolorsolder.aspx. The flux is included in the solder.


Rich Waugh's picture

Boy, those folks have a good

Boy, those folks have a good grift going on that solder. I can buy Sil-Fos or Phos-Flo (same stuff they're selling) at the local welding supply for about $3 for a 3' stick and they want $20 for only 30". Plus shipping, of course. That's a nice profit margin.


Raspero's picture

One other thing that needs

One other thing that needs to be considered sometimes, depending on the nature of the piece you are making, is that the temperature required for the hard phosphorous-copper solder will anneal the base metal to dead soft, whereas low temperature tin-lead solder does not. In a part that supports weight this is an issue.

Richard