10 Common Mistakes Jewelers Make When Soldering
  1. Assuming 14=14K. "No K is a no know." Karat laws do not govern items marked without a "K" (14YS vs. 14KYS). So if solder is not stamped with a "K" the number is no indication of the true gold content.
  2. Thinking lower karat=lower temperature. Lower karat does not equate to lower temperature. If a lower temperature solder is needed compare flow points. Know your metals.
  3. Not stress relieving platinum. When soldering gold to platinum the platinum must be stress relieved first. Stress in the platinum could crack the solder joint when cooling.
  4. Using cadmium solder on platinum. When using gold solder on platinum make sure it is cadmium free. Cadmium can make platinum brittle.
  5. Using a word, not a flow point. Soft, medium and hard are ambiguous terms and differ greatly from solder to solder and supplier to supplier. So compare temperatures not terms.
  6. Overheating the solder. Excessive heating can cause porosity. Solder will not flow onto a piece until the temperature of the piece reaches its flow point. Use direct heat on the solder joint not the solder.
  7. Using paste solder for sizing. Paste solders are best for soldering small pinpoint joints and seams but will not fill a gap. Size with sheet solder for better results.
  8. Using the wrong solder on dissimilar metals. When soldering two dissimilar metals together, use the lower temperature metal for soldering. For example, when soldering silver to gold, use silver solder.
  9. Using soft or repair solder when sizing. Use a hard solder when sizing to prevent porosity and avoid seems.
  10. Buying only based on price. Quality is like karma. Poor quality will come back to you. When choosing a solder provider, look for one with a wide selection, product knowledge, published temperatures and gold content.

We would like to thank Krohn Industries for supplying this information.