December 6th, 2008

anvil, ring

(no subject)

A good day in the studio today. I got everything on my list done, plus a bit!

Results of my test of 4 solders recommended for palladium: The 18k palladium white gold was by far the worst in terms of color matching. The medium palladium solder was OK, but not great, and had somewhat obnoxious melt/flow properties; it ran all over the sheet rather than obediently puddling in the depression carved for it, and it's not that much lower heat than the hard Pd solder to make it all that attractive (although now that I have some, I should probably figure out a way to use it). The best color matches were the hard Pd solder, and the 20k white gold hard solder, and I'd say these came out about even, with the 20k maybe having a slight edge. (all these solders are from Hoover & Strong.)

In terms of ease of working, though, the 20k wins hands down. It flows at just over 1600F, as compared to the hard Pd which flows at almost 2400F, and thus requires better soldering goggles than I currently have (although I will be getting some); the ones I normally use still left me with residues in my vision for a bit, even when I tried to avoid looking at the piece as much as was compatible with making the process work. The 20k also seems to be more compatible with the Pd in terms of hardness; the hard Pd solder was enough softer than the Pd alloy that it left relics when polishing, and thus far (I'm only into pre-polish) the 20k has not done this.

The 20k, though, does seem to be a bit less strong, and/or more prone to porosity than the Pd solder. When rounding and stretching the rings, the smaller one's seam broke (although the larger one's did not, and was under even more stress in the process). Also, polishing out the excess on the inside of the rings revealed some pits; I re-flowed the solder to fill them, but it is suggestive as to why the one seam split under quite considerable stress. I am hoping that when I remove excess solder from the outside of the rings tomorrow that I do not uncover a lot more pitting, although I have thought it through and have decided on an approach that ought to minimize such if I have to re-flow again. I may well do it anyway, since it'd make for a sturdier seam (although even the smaller ring's seam did not split the last time I stressed it, so it looks to be strong now; I may not have used enough solder to fill it completely the first time around).

I'll do more work with the Pd solders once I have better eye protection... but so far, I have to say that the people who recommended 20k or 21k hard white solder for Pd alloys have a really good idea!