Thursday, 20 June 2013

Solder and tin paste experiments

So step one was to clear space at the worktable. Last night and today I got some time to play a little at that very table. Got to make use of the workspace now that I have it, right? Keeping it simple, I just picked up a few things to dabble with: little copper pendants, solder, flux and tin paste. Things that require that special workspace as it meant lighting that micro torch for the first time in ages.

Now, I should say that I've never soldered anything (if you don't count that copper spiral I added some solder to just to test if I'd be able to do some sort of solder joint). Have pretty much just melted solder from time to time, wondering when I'd make a project requiring this particular skill. And I don't have any good instructions for using tin paste so it was basically about playing around and see what happens. Of cause using due precautions as I'm using stuff that comes with warning labels.

These were my first two experiments. On the one of the left I used some plumber's silver solder I got from my dad. Don't really use it much since it didn't say what's in it and I do prefer to know that. It took time to melt, that much I know at least -- which is why I accidentally created the big dollops of unmelted solder. Drops that turned out to add a nice texture so it was a pretty good mishap.

The one on the right is tin solder (tin/copper/silver). The idea was to try this technique -- also see this link -- but I don't have the right stamps (clear stamps is a bad idea, don't ask me why I say that!). So instead I just melted solder and then hammered it a bit. All copper pendants are heated and hammered prior to solder application, by the way.

Both pendants were then oxidized using a tiny bottle of stink -- AKA liver of sulphur -- that I've had for ages, but actually use sometimes. Just a few drops are needed so the little bottle last a long time.

Then of cause I had to test my tinning paste (99,9 % tin). In theory I know how to use it, but I've never read any clear, detailed instructions. I didn't want to just tin the surface, but create a water drop effect described by Fleur Grenier in her book Pewter: Designs and Techniques. Unfortunately her instructions are really scarce, the only time she mentions tin paste and it's when describing how she made a project of hers, not one of the step-by-step projects in the book. It pretty much assumes you know your way around tin paste weirdly enough for a beginner's level book, which it is. Anyway, these were my first two tries at the water droplet tinning techniques. Far, far from perfect (I want the copper surface to show through between drops as in the book), but at least it's droplets. Not bull's-eye, but at least somewhere on the target.

The right one is oxidized.

Then just a few hours ago, I made these two samples. Same as above, just less paste and more dotted onto the surface than above. Both pieces where then oxidized soot black.

A fun time playing, even if not all samples are what I was striving for. But, hey, I am a newbie at solder and tin paste so what else is to be expected? I need to learn and practice -- and, besides, some of the pieces are cool and I do really like them. Below are my top 3.

Those results are really worth working more with, see where it will take me and what potentials there are in the techniques. Just need to polish my technique and read up on some basics while I'm at it.

What do you think?


Just a little footnote, which is pretty OT: Have you seen that I've added a new pinboard on my Pinterest page? It's called Colour it! and is all about painting, dyeing, drawing and in other ways adding colour to materials such as fabric, paper, metal, wood, glass etc. Not including patina, faux finishes and crackle as there's already a board for that. (It's amazing how fast you get up to over fifty boards -- Colour it! is board no. 63. I'm conservative when it comes to adding more boards and now there's over sixty anyway.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Nice work. This is really interesting and the right timing for me to read. I decided to learn how to solder now that I can do it on my balcony keeping my cat away from the work table aka coffee table. I just got my soldering book with the mail today. Milka


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