When is Laser welding the best choice for repair?

When is Laser welding the best choice for repair?

Laser welding is the process of using a laser beam to melt metal at the point two pieces are attached together. The beam produced is so fine that it can be done next to stones and held in the and during the process. It produces minimal heat outside of the joint and is therefore safe to use next to many stones that cannot take any heat.

Laser welding is often the savior of many complicated repairs that were simply not possible in the past. But it cannot be used for everything. Trying to do so runs you the risk of losing important treasures.

It is an alternative to soldering for repairs when heating an entire piece would damage the jewellery. Laser welding does not use solder, the same metal as the piece being repaired is heated with the laser and melted directly into the cavity or areas to be joined. Consider a laser welder when stones are soft or porous, intricate metal work may melt with reheating, glue has been used on other areas of the piece, to fill pits in the metal and more.

Laser welding works best when metal can be melted into a “v” shaped cavity and filled from the bottom of the ”v” to the top. It does not work well when used to put metal over a flush joint as it does not heat a large enough area to allow metal to flow between the two pieces. When it is used over a flat joint, the area that has been laser welded ends up looking similar to a soft solder joint as metal needs to be spread over both sides of metals being joined; the metal around the join does not become hot enough for metal to flow through the joint.

’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013

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