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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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