Precious metals have a reputation for secrecy, mystery and alchemy. Some kinds of gold are easy to understand and use. Some you just use, little to no idea of what went in there. Few jewelers understand solders nearly as well as they use them. But better understanding helps when the tough jobs show up. Let me help you with that.
Plumb solders might be the toughest challenge to make from scratch of all the golds we use. Solders of course must come in a variety of temperatures karats and all the common colors. With repair solders the gold content can be adjusted freely to hit a flow temperature. But if that’s low karat the color may tarnish or fail to match the item to begin with. Ah but plumb solders all lock in at 10k, 14k or 18k. We can only adjust the other metals to hit the flow temp and strength. And the color has to stay within a certain range.
Remember, repair solders gold content varies lower than the jewelry. Plumb solder maintains the high content. Higher quality.
We make all these at PMWest with a variety of elements in addition to gold and copper that include silver, tin, indium and gallium. We do not ever use cadmium. When you use our solder, you can rely on a number of very consistent facts. The elements are blended with hydrogen and oxygen. Hot clean and zero harmful emissions. In fact when we use up one tank of hydrogen, it produces over one gallon of pure water (vapor of course), recombined oxygen and hydrogen, after kindly providing 4000F of heat or more. All the elements are as pure as we can obtain, from the kindest sources available.
The melt is poured into a regular upright bar mold, ground to a semi finish and then rolled out in one of our rolling mills. Gold and platinum solders do take a toll on even the hardest rollers. The irony is these low temp super soft metals like tin and indium actually harden precious metals. That means a lot of annealing and a long hard day for any rolling mill. Our platinum plumb solder is just as hard as steel. It would make springs that never rust. So it’s a challenge to get the solders thin like you need. We measure every batch. Only then does it literally get the stamp of karat, color, flow, but quality. Let me show you our engineer installing fresh rollers and a close up of the shiny new ones installed.