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Hello, I'm using a Benzomatic butane torch and making jewelry with rebar tie wire which is carbon steel wire according to the website. I've made several oval loops and want to join the two ends together. The ends have been filled down so they meet end to end and I've used steel wool to make sure the ends are clean. I've tried using Batterns flux for silver, gold & Platinum and Oatey flux No. 5. Then for solder I've tried Bernomatic solid wire solder !00% lead free and just the regular silver solder that I have in soft, medium and hard (used the soft and medium). I've tried placing the solder on top of the joint and also in between. I heat and heat and it does look like it goes sort of liquid but then with more heat it balls up instead of flowing into the joint. Do I need a different flux or solder? Is my torch not hot enough? I have no idea if this wire has been annealed either as I own another type I haven't tried yet that is annealed. Also does this wire need to go into a pickling solution after the water? I've been doing that but wondering if it was necessary with this type of wire.
This looked to be the closest forum, so if it is the wrong place, feel free to move it. When I first learned how to silver solder, I didn't have much of a budget. So, I got the cheapie Bernz-o-matic Oxy-MAPP rig. Given that their O2 bottles have almost no gas in them, I cut the O2 connector off, and attached a real Oxy regulator and switched to Propane for the fuel gas side. Mainly for cleanliness of my soldering and cooler flame color. Well, it worked after a fashion. I could solder with it, but it always took me a lot of time and usually left a lot of fire-scale, even when I was using the spray flux like Prip's. (Actualy Cupronil) Recently, I picked up a multi-fuel Smith brand Little Torch. I just have to say I'm amazed how much EASIER it is to solder now. Especially now that I can change the tip sizes to get different heats. With the larger tips I can get enough heat where I want it that the solder just jumps into the joint before the rest of the piece heats up to where I'm risking popping previous solder joints. And with the smaller tips, I can jump solder 28ga bezel wire without worrying about melting the ends away. I can't believe I took so long to switch, given how much of an advocate I am for buying the right tool for the job! I'm giddy with joy over this! I'd been putting this part of the job off for way too long. Especially since the first time I tried to use this torch I didn't grasp that I had my flame size way too small until the very end of the job. Armed with that knowledge, this was so much faster and easier with less heat damage to the piece. I still have a ways to go with my technique, but I'm now well on my way.