The process of soldering metal is relatively easy. However, repairing or soldering a gold object requires a different approach. If you have experience in soldering other metals, you might want to be a bit careful when it comes to soldering gold. Soldering gold will require a unique type of solder and flux, which have been designed specifically for gold.
In addition to that, you should keep in mind that soldering gold requires relatively high temperatures known as brazing, and it is often challenging. As a result, you might first want to give it a try on less expensive metals or non-sentimental objects before soldering gold. In this article, we shall be answering the question; can a soldering iron melt gold?
Undoubtedly, soldering iron can melt gold; however, the process can be intense and often requires extremely high temperatures. Before you start soldering gold, you will need to factor in the following:
Gathering essential materials
You will require a soldering brick of any material before soldering your gold. This is vital since they have been designed to help in preventing heat loss and withstand relatively high-temperatures. Some of the commonly used bricks include; charcoal brick, magnesia block, and kiln bricks.
You will need to purchase a gold solder. Solder designed for use on other metals often will not work while joining gold alloy. Therefore, you should consider purchasing a gold solder that has been designed specifically for this purpose. It is highly recommended to cut large pieces of solder into chips. This will make it relatively easy to control the amount of solder being used.
Since gold melts at high temperatures, you will need a torch for melting your solder. Usually, an oxy-acetylene gas torch is considered the best. However, you might still consider using butane, along with other high-temperature torches. Soldering irons are often not ideal for use when working with precious metals or tasks that require high-temperatures.
Just like solder, you will require the perfect flux for this process. It would be best if you considered applying the flux to help clean the surface of your gold and help improve the soldering process. It would be best if you considered looking for a flux that is best for use on the precious metal.
Sometimes this flux is referred to as brazing flux due to the use of high-temperature while joining the metal. Usually, flux comes in liquid or paste form or sometimes as a powder, which turns into a paste when mixed with water.
Ventilating the working area
It would be best if you considered creating a light breeze in your working area; this will help move the fumes being produced away from you. However, a strong breeze will make the soldering process relatively difficult; this is often due to the cooling effect.
You will need copper tongs to help in holding your gold in place. This is vital since copper does not corrode in an acidic pickle solution.
How to solder gold
When it comes to soldering gold, you will need to do the following:
Cleaning your gold
Just like working with any other metal, you will need to thoroughly clean your gold and get rid of dirt and grease. By doing so, you will allow the solder to create a strong chemical bond.
It would be best if you soaked your gold briefly in a pickle solution to get rid of the contamination and then rinse with water to get rid of the acid. For additional cleaning, you will need to wash the surface with water and detergent.
Hold your gold in place
Take your gold and place it on a soldering block and then hold it into place using tweezers. Ensure that the areas to be joined have perfectly fit and are as close as possible. You should, however, keep in mind that the soldering process will fill a large gap.
Flux aids in protecting your precious metal from additional impurities as well as prevent the surface from discoloring. It would be best if you considered applying the flux to the point where the two metals will be joined. Nevertheless, you might as well consider applying flux over the whole metal to protect it against discoloring.
Heating the flux
Use a torch to heat your flux until the water boils away briefly, and the solids are left behind. This will help in inhibiting the oxidation of copper. When applying flux on the whole object, you should perform this step thoroughly before proceeding.
Applying heat and solder
You should first place a chip of the solder on one end and then heat the objects surrounding your gold. When using a high-temperature torch, you will heat that area for a short period to melt your solder. This means that you will not have to heat the whole object.
During this process, you will have to move your heat source back and forth slowly, allowing the heat to be even across the sea to be joined. Your solder should now melt and flow across the joint hence joining the two sides with the utmost ease.
Use water and pickle solution
Once the joint is formed, you should consider treating it using water and pickle solution. This should be done after a couple of minutes. Use copper tools to lower your gold into the pickle solution allowing soaking for a few minutes. This will allow it to get rid of discoloration caused by the fire.
You can make the final adjustment if it is necessary. Remove your gold from the pickle solution, rinse it with water, and then inspect any flaws. You might polish it or file the excess fire scale or solder in order to achieve a more desired appearance. The joint formed between the two gold objects will be strong.
Soldering gold is a bit challenging, particularly among the newbies. However, with the above tips kept in mind, the process can be done with the utmost ease. When soldering a golden object, you should consider using the right flux and solder for a perfect result. As we conclude, we hope this article has answered the question; can a soldering iron melt gold?