High Silver Alternatives

This Tech Tip comes to us from a customer who has concerns about the cost of high-silver brazing alloys. With the rising silver market, less expensive alternatives are always in demand and we have some recommendations that can reduce cost without sacrificing quality.

Dear Harris Technical Support,

BrazingI will apologize up front for this type of question. I'm a novice and hobby welder and simply can't locate any "educational information" on the Internet.

I'm constantly using Harris Safety-Silv 56 for "everything." But, the price keeps going up and it's a bit expensive (though I love it for many dissimilar metal brazing/soldering applications).

I was wondering though, if you have any information/literature on when to use a specific percentage or even product type of "Silv" for a variety of applications?

I'm trying to locate any information on when to use any of the various products you sell, or even how/when to use the products that don't have flux on them. I typically weld, mostly FCAW and TIG as a hobby, as well as repair for myself and neighbors. But do a lot of aluminum welding with an oxy/acetylene torch set and "delicate repair" on various other ferromagnetic metals. That's where I might end up using the Harris 56% product.

I just think Harris has more to offer me "product-wise," (and possibly price-wise) other than the Safety-Silv 56 product. But I can't find anyone using much more than the lower percentage products for A/C tubing work.

When I weld, I have a weld puddle to add filler products to, and the filler product becomes part of the puddle. I understand the capillary action of brazing and soldering, just need some help with "what to apply and under what circumstances."

Again, sorry for the novice requests here. I'm close to retiring and have been planning on doing a lot of metal based work to keep me busy.

Thanks!

Don

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Dear Don,

Safety-Silv® 56 is a very popular alloy that is excellent for brazing a variety of base metals. It has a low melting temperature and rapid flow which reduces heat input and provides good capillary penetration.

Unfortunately all silver content products have increased in cost due to the rising world silver market. As you'll see on our web site, we offer a variety of silver bearing braze and solder products, including many with lower silver contents.

At the retail or distribution level the selection may be limited due to customer demand. One option that is usually available is our Safety-Silv® 45 wire. This has 11% less silver so the cost should be somewhat lower. It has a wider melting range so will require some additional heat. Braze joint strength should be equal to the 56%. 

You might also consider our Stay-Brite® solder. This tin/silver alloy melts at 430° F and provides improved strength compared to other low temperature solder compositions.

Either option should work well for you. Thank you for using our brazing products!