Welding Silver

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Welding Silver

Postby DoubleJ » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:30 pm

Not too long ago I came across a couple pure silver skulls. They're not big at all, only 1 troy ounce, maybe 1" tall by 3/4" wide. I want to weld them to my copper still, just because.

Has anyone here ever welded/soldered silver to copper? Is it possible?


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JJ
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby acfixer69 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:44 pm

Soldering would be my first choice and it can be easily done with the stuff we use a still builders.
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby Badmotivator » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:50 pm

Ditto.

...and share a picture or two! Sounds cool.
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby shadylane » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:46 pm

I'd recommend epoxy
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:05 pm

Uncle Jesse and I are both jewelers, so if he cares too, he can back me on this. Soldering a silver object to a copper object is not that difficult. You will probably do best if you stick to a "Soft" solder like a Harris #8 and use stay-brite as the flux. Paint around the area where you DON"T want the solder to flow with "white-out" you can still find it, it's typewriter correcting fluid, it's one of the best Anti-flux agents ever made.(where it is, solder can't flow) Use a propane torch with a gentle flame. Flux with stay brite and heat the copper inside the painted area, then pre-solder it with #8. Put your silver piece on the pre-soldered copper and gently heat the whole area, the #8 will melt again and this time flow toward the silver because it hotter...wash the flux off polish it up...good job. your done!
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby drotto » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:26 am

doublej ,

you don't know me so my advise being off the net is or should be suspect.
but i was a jewelry model maker a lifetime ago wandered away from it because the pay pretty much sucked.
if that helps ease you mind at all i'm dittoing kiwi's suggestion.
soldering metal anything to anything is pretty basic jewelry skills and done routinely.

only thing pure silver sounds a little suspect as it's pretty soft.
typically castings are made with .925 silver/copper alloy the .75 being copper to stiffen up the silver a tad.
if your skulls are stamped .999 or .925 you'll be fine.

if not i'd test them first to make sure you don't have pewter fakes.
or worse silver plated lead which was a "thing" back in the day for faking out customers.
the sales idiots would use fancy words to hide it like 100% fine silver coat or some other such nonsense.
same idea as geniune faux pearls!!
if it's pewter or worse lead you'll end up with a puddle following kiwi's advise.

final point,
i hope you don't mind that i'll be swiping your skull idea for the pot still i'm building.
back in the day skulls were my favorite thing to make and i have a few old castings that'll look wicked on the still .
D 8)
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby DoubleJ » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:36 pm

Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies. The skulls I have are .999 silver. They are stamped. I bought them from a reputable coin dealer, so I am confident everything is on the up and up.

The skulls are kinda rounded on the back side, so I'm probably going to put them on the belt sander to flatten them out a bit. Hopefully I won't create too much silver dust....

I only have a mapp gas torch that I use for work for soldering plumbing pipes and whatnot. It's not really controllable, so I am a bit nervous about putting the flame on or near the skulls for fear of melting them into blobs. I like the white-out / pre-soldering advice. I'm thinking I'm going to figure out a way to indirectly preheat the skulls just prior to soldering, and maybe even heat the still from the inside to minimize the risk. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Here's a pic of the skulls.

20180423_201515 (1).jpg


I'll post a pic of the still after I get them welded on.


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Re: Welding Silver

Postby aircarbonarc » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:57 pm

Your still totally needs those! It'll make better liquor.
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby drotto » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:08 pm

if you can access the backside of the copper you can heat it mostly from there.
if that's not possible just heat the tinned copper on a spot near the skulls .
the copper will heat pretty evenly near the torched area and the solder will start to get bright and ready to flow.
then play the flame onto the skull the solder will flow to the skull when it catches temp.
before heating be sure to flux the back of skulls and re-flux tinned area and don't get crazy with preheat as the flux will be used up.
you shouldn't have any issues pretty easy job if you've worked with solder before.

with the stay brite eight solder suggested you'll be in alot more trouble with your solder than the skulls if you manage to melt the skulls.
fine silver has a much higher melting point the melting points of the commonly used solders are this
solid means solder retains it's form but is melted enough to add more solder to mass. liquid means mass is fluid and flowable.
brigit solder = solid 460f liquid 630f
bridgit paste flux melt @ 200f
bridgit water soluable melt @ 250f

stay brite solder = solid 430f liquid 430f fills .002- .005
stay brite 8 solder = solid 430f liquid 535f fills .002 -.007
stay clean liquid flux up to 700f
stay clean paste flux (tube joints) up to 700f *remove residue (acid base)

fine silver goes to liquid and flows at 1761f roughly 1200f higher than the solder.
so the solder you're using will be vaporized or nearing vapor long before you melt the skulls into blobs!! :P
d 8)
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Re: Welding Silver

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:49 am

Do a practice run first if it'll help you gain confidence...Melt a piece of scrap copper to a blob about the same size as the scull, wack it a couple of times with a hammer to flatten the back and use it to get practice. Solder it on a piece of copper pipe, the same size as the your still. You'll also get a feel as to how hot you have to get the copper, in order to melt it.
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