Holy Firescale, Batman!

That ghastly mess up there happened today on a rather large piece I’ve been working on now for a few days.  I know what you’re thinking.

Amateur hour!

Yeah, well.  In my defense, I was trying out a new (to me) anti-firescale flux, which many of us may be familiar with: Firescoff.  Sadly, it looks like the fire was doing most of the scoffing.  Or maybe it was my first time with Firescoff and I was hesitant going in because it was apparent that I was going to be using half the tiny bottle you get for $9.79 from Rio on a single pendant.

That’s right.  Today I used $4.90 worth of Firescoff and that unholy display of whatever you want to call it happened anyway.  I work mostly in large format pieces, so…I get a pass?

Everyone has their preferred anti-firescale method.  I learned to solder silver using Cupronil, and I most commonly hear of smiths using boric acid and alcohol as an alternative.  These two have in common with Firescoff the characteristic of being both a flux and an anti-firescale measure.  Unless you’re me.  Firescale and uncooperative bails are kind of my things.

I’m still not sure why it happened, but large portions of the Firescoff flaked all over the place after I applied a goodly coat and then gingerly moved the piece into position so I could solder the bail.  I got the bail tacked down (finally!), and the areas where the Firescoff held on were lovely and not at all in need of pickle, but then there was…all that.  Thank goodness it was on the back of the piece; I got it all off, but what a pain in the neck.

If I were Jim Gaffigan, this is where I would make my voice all high and whispery and say, “Sounds like you have some more to learn about torch control.”  I won’t argue with that.  But in the meantime, I would like to figure out how to use properly the Rolls Royce of anti-firescale fluxes.

Any thoughts or similar experiences?

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