First of all I’d like to thank you all for my lack of sleep. Since I
found this site I have spent so much time reading this site I never
go to bed. that’s a GOOD thing.
I have one question about Sterling Silver that I hope someone can
help me out with. I have recently aquired about 20 Oz. of .999 Fine
Silver in coin shaped ingots. Is it possible to alloy it down to .925
with out damaging the quality of the metal? And if so what is the
best way to do it.
Thanks again for all your help. Now I’m back off to the archives to
learn some more.
Super easy. In our studio, we use hand-alloyed sterling for nearly
all our silver work.
Sterling is really just the “ingredients”, fine silver and an alloy,
traditionally copper, but can be one of the new no-fire-scale
alloys, which I love to death. I don’t work for United Metals, but
someone on Orchid turned me on to their “S88” sterling alloy, and I
am now a believer! The sterling I make from it doesn’t fire-scale and
is virtually tarnish free. It also casts very bright, and almost
doesn’t need pickling, it comes out so clean. It rolls and draws
easily. With an accurate scale, a small calculator, a melting dish,
carbon stirring stick, and a muscular torch (we use an acetylene
Prestolite torch, a lot of pressure on the regulator, and a big tip),
you are making sterling, my friend.
I put a small plastic tray on the scale and “tare” the scale so it
reads zero. I throw in the amount of fine silver I want to make into
sterling, then input that weight into the calculator. I divide that
amount by.925, and my answer is the total amount of sterling I will
end up with, when I add the alloy to the fine silver. So I add the
tiny bits of alloy to the tray with the pure silver in it, until the
scale reads my exact total amount, and you have.925 sterling. United
Metals recommends.927, for their S88 which is easy enough to do.
Pour the silver and alloy into a melting dish, and crank up a good
hot flame. When it all melts, stir a bit with a stirring stick to
make sure all the pellets of alloy and silver have melted together
and it feels smooth, add a dash of borax flux, if you like, and you
are ready to pour the new sterling into an ingot mold. Keep the big
flame on while you are pouring, and the metal will flow into the
ingot mold beautifully. Pickle your ingot, file off the “fins” if
any, and you are ready to roll! Hopefully you’ve got a rolling mill,
I have alloyed fine silver to sterling a few times and we also have
our beginner students alloy the metal themselves as well. Just add
7.5% copper to the total weight of the fine silver being alloyed.
example: if you have 31.1 grams of fine I would add 2.5 grams of
copper. When you melt first melt the metal with the highest melting
temperature in this case copper then add your silver, be sure to
have a graphite rod on hand to stir the metal with and we use 20 mule
team borax as a flux. You can pour into ingots or a large bucket of
water little by little, to make smaller pieces. I hope that might
have helped you out.
feel free to email me with any questions