Archives for posts with tag: Argentium

fused rings

Some time ago I had a go at fusing a ring made from Argentium silver, but I was not happy with how it looked- I just didn’t seem to be able to get it hot enough to fuse properly. After doing lots of internet research, I tried fusing a series of rings, all from the same size strip,1.2mm thick and 6mm wide, but varying the method. I used Auroflux, but it just seemed to run off, and I felt I needed more heat.

I had been successfully fusing thinner sheet and wire, so I was a bit disheartened by the rings- I could still see the joins, and in some cases when I hammered the rings to make them bigger the join split. After some good advice from Peter Johns, and some more trials, I came to these conclusions:

* Auroflux separates out, so needs to be shaken before use, and it also works better warm. It also helps to warm the workpiece and dip it in the flux.

* My propane torch was just not getting the work hot enough, and my microweld was ok for small stuff but not the chunkier rings. I bought an oxy-propane torch, with 5 nozzles, and this has helped me immensely. Argentium behaves more like gold, so heat can be more localised, instead of heating the whole piece.

* I have had more success standing the rings up on the firebrick, with the join at the top (like a letter O ), rather than lying them down. I have tried using a charcoal block, and a firebrick, and find I prefer the firebrick for this purpose.

2013-06-25 16.05.58

I love to make hamdmade chains, and I loved the idea of being able to fuse all the links instead of soldering them. So my next set of experiments was trying to fuse links in different sizes, some from 1mm round wire, and some from 0.7mm round wire. I painted the joins with warm, shaken Auroflux, and was successful in fusing links in both sizes of wire, made on a 6.3mm mandrel. But when I started going smaller, it was a bit more tricky. The ones on the charcoal block got too hot too quickly and started to melt. I had about 75% success on a firebrick, but found that these smaller ones were better done using my microweld.

My next step is to make a chain using some of the 0.7mm wire and a 3mm mandrel- wish me luck!

Chasing the collar

The chased, anticlastic collar that was the centrepiece of my Immaculate exhibition started off like this

I stuck a long thin strip of Argentium silver onto a bowl full of pitch (to support it and hold it in place), then used a small punch and chasing hammer to put the decorative lines onto the surface.

Next I took the strip off the pitch, and used a mallet and an anticlastic raising stake to form the piece. You can see the finished collar on the page about my Argentium exhibition above.