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Soldering, Brazing and Welding Various Metals
Article © MAIL User: thexnihil

***Note that using a torch poses a risk of burning oneself and burning other your house down. Care should always be taken to have proper ventilation and a safe work environment.***

First let me start off by defining what I mean by 'soldering', 'brazing', and 'welding'. When I write 'solder' I am referring to using silver alloy solder as a filler material. When I write 'braze' I am refering to any other filler material. When I say 'weld' I am refering to using the same material as the metal being worked on.

Soldering, brazing, and welding rings are really not very difficult. The most important things are the tools. You will need:

Torch (the cheap $10 ones will usually work on 14ga and smaller wires)
Flux (dandix or borax -- laundry detergent style is fine)
Fire brick to work on
Filler material

As a reference, here is a brief chart of metals and their melting points relative to each other (listed from highest to lowest):

Nickel Silver
Fine Silver
Sterling Silver
Low Fuming Bronze
Hard Silver Solder
Medium Silver Solder
Easy Silver Solder

Soldering, Brazing, and Welding Using Dandix Flux:
Step 1: Apply the flux to the joint that will be soldered. Make sure the joint is clean and free of oxidation (use a generous amount of flux on steel or stainless steel).

Step 2: Have a filler material ready (a piece of wire). Be sure its melting point is at or below that of the metal being worked. It also helps if the filler metal is thinner than the metal being worked (i.e. if you're brazing a 14ga ring, use 18ga wire as the filler material).

Step 3: Heat the piece until it is close to the melting point of the filler being used (after a few tries you'll figure it out), then lightly touch one end of the wire to the joint--it should just flow over the joint if there is sufficent heat and the flux was applied properly.

Some common problems with this method:
Too much filler material: heat the piece being worked on hotter before applying filler material.
Filler won't flow: This could be two things, either the metal isn't clean and has insufficent flux (especially steels) or you're not getting a high enough temperature (i wouldn't try using a filler that melts higher than brass with the cheap torches).

Soldering, Brazing, and Welding with Borax (20 mule team laundry stuff):

*Note this will not work with metals that have a lower melting point than copper*

Step 1: Heat the metal to a dull cherry-red and apply a sprinkling of the powder.

Step 2: Allow the powder to form a glass-like film and start flowing.

Step 3: Bring up to temperature and apply filler as listed above.

If you are going to try to weld steel, this is the flux that I suggest using.

Good luck and happy welding.
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