How to Solder and Fill a Pit

One of the things you are going to run into eventually when working with jewelry, especially casted jewelry is pits. Small pits are one thing and I wrote a post about how to clean them up in an earlier post (Day 11 www.JewelryMonk.com,pitsandporosity) Today we will look at how to take care of those larger pesky pits.

Filling a Pit (1)

First, if you have a pit that is too large to cover up with a “Pit-beater” you will have to drill it out to make sure there are no hidden inclusions under the pit. There are times when you see a pit, but there could be a much larger pit hidden underneath. I drill out the pit with a .5mm Ball Bur just to make sure I clean the pit.

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Next is a little trick to make sure the solder doesn’t flow where you don’t want it to. I use an anti-flux to prevent this. There are many types, Yellow Ochre Powder is a popular one, but I prefer to make my own. I take a piece of Red Rouge Polishing Compound, scrape off some into a small container and add a drop or two of Mineral Oil. This makes a “slurry” that can be applied with a toothpick. Make sure it stays out of the pit you are going to be soldering.

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You can try to add just solder to the pit, but you will more than likely get pits and have solder flow where you do not want it. I like to get a small wire about the size of the pit and add a little solder to the end of the wire. After the solder is carefully melted to the end of the wire, you can heat the ring and add the solder-tipped wire to the ring. See Yesterdays Blog Entry to read about soldering a thin piece to a thick piece. Again, I use a Mini Torch to do my soldering.

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After the wire is soldered into the pit, trim off the wire with a pair of Semi-Flush Cutters, file, sand, and finish. The anti-flux that was used can be cleaned off in an Ultrasonic Cleaner or with a brass brush or a tooth brush with soap.

Filling a Pit (15) Filling a Pit (16)

There you have it. If you are new to soldering, I would suggest getting some scrap pieces and experimenting with filling pits.  Once you get the hang of this, you will never be intimidated with soldering again.

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Now, go make it a Great Day!

Doug

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4 Responses to How to Solder and Fill a Pit

  1. Dharlee August 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Great tip! what is a “pit-beater”?

    • JewelryMonk August 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Thanks Dharlee. In the article is a link to Day 11 which talks about pits, porosity, and the tool I use to take them out. That is a version of a “pit-beater”.
      Doug

  2. Savannah September 16, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    Thank you for this! I wasted some hours trying to fill a huge crack in a cast ring by just melting solder into it. I just couldn’t get it to fill all the way despite repeated attempts and more and more solder. Then I found this tutorial…this is the way!!! The wire method worked perfectly first try! Many thanks!!

    • Doug Napier September 16, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

      Savannah, I am glad this helped! Way to go!
      Doug