Professional Jeweler Archive: Repairs & Alterations Using Pulse-Arc Welding Procedures

October 2003

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies


Repairs & Alterations Using Pulse-Arc Welding Procedures

Knowing how to tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-weld at the bench saves time, increases quality, and drives profits up for your shop and service department


Your customers bring you articles of jewelry that have been in their families for generations. It may not be high-value jewelry, but it has extreme sentimental value. Often the jewelry was made improperly, is worn excessively or broken. To keep your customers happy, you inevitably will have to repair it. This article covers procedures to simplify the process while minimizing risk.

Cameo Pin/Pendant

1.&2. This sterling silver shell cameo pin had a hook at the top on the back side. It allowed the owner to wear the pin as a pendant. The hook has broken from years of repetitive bending (red arrows). The repair request is to install a simple bail so it can be worn on a chain.
3. For a torch-free repair, I filed the joints of a new bail and the back of the cameo mounting where the hook had broken off. I tack-welded the new sterling bail wire in location using a pulse-arc welder.

After it was tacked, I permanently pulse-arc-welded the bail by going around both attachment joints. The pulse-arc welder was set to the high setting, and I used 60 volts with the #2 tip. The tip of the weld pencil was fashioned to a 45&Mac251; angle on both sides so I could get close to the joint to perform seamless welding.

4. I cleaned up the joints by using 3M radial bristle discs, then finished by lightly polishing the general area.
5. I didn’t have to remove the cameo, and no damage occurred to it or the surrounding wire filigree. This took just minutes to complete, and the potential for damage was eliminated.

Karat Gold Earrings

6. These karat gold earrings have been altered over the years and now dangle from ear wires. The jump ring (red arrow) has broken, and the earring needs to be reassembled.
7. I prepared a new jump ring and then tack-welded the assembly using the pulse-arc welder. I finished the joint by pulse-arc welding both sides of it. I set the unit on the high energy setting at 40 volts. I used the #2 weld pencil with the flat ceramic tip.
8. Finishing this job required light rubber wheeling and light polishing.

Sterling Bracelet

9. This sterling bracelet was old and heavily tarnished, and one of the charms was dangling from the worn spring ring (red arrow).
10. I removed the heavy oxidation by using a Speed Brite unit with Gem Sparkle solution then installed a new spring ring. To ensure a long-lasting installation, I pulse-arc welded the jump ring on the spring ring closed. I set the unit to 50 volts on the medium energy setting and used the #1 pencil tip with the pliers lead.
11. I installed the charm and pulse-arc welded it and all charm jump rings closed. I used the medium energy setting at 40 volts and the #1 tip. No damage to the stones or deformation of the jump rings occurred.
12. To finish this job, I used a small rubber wheel at each joint and lightly polished the bracelet. It took minutes to complete. No jump rings or links have open seams.

Important: Tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc equipment settings will differ and are based on volume, amount of contact and alloy of the material you’re assembling. Working with like materials will give you a parameter for settings required for your application. Keep a record of settings and tasks for future reference.

For questions on this process, contact Mark B. Mann at mark@ visual-e-communications.com or (406) 961-4426. This installment is sponsored by ABI, Cranston, RI. For general information on ABI equipment or distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

– by Mark B. Mann

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications