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Annealing 20 gauge fine silver sheet


I’ve looked in Silver-Smithing by Finegold & Seitz, Complete
Metalsmith by McCreight and Metal Techniques for Craftsmen by
Untracht… as well as searching some of the Orchid archives, for
info on annealing Fine Silver.

I’m sure its been covered here, but I can’t seem to find much detail
on the subject.

How can I tell when I’ve reached the proper annealing temperature
for Fine Silver? Are there ways to visually tell (like how Sterling
gets to a darkened cherry red when its near 1200 degrees F)?
According to Untracht on p. 246, that’s 572 degrees F (300 degrees C)
for Fine Silver… to be followed by rapid quenching. [He lists the
annealing temperature for Sterling at 1200 degrees F.]

I need to be able to properly anneal the 20 gauge fine sheet silver
OFTEN, without cracking it, while I slowly hammer it into shape. Any
help with some detail, on how to recognize when the optimum annealing
temperature for Fine silver is reached, is greatly appreciated!



To anneal 24 to 18G fine silver wire I use 750F, soak for 15-30 min
and water quench. I assume this will work for sheet as well.

Jon Daniels
The Ring Lord Chainmail



Fine silver is far more forgiving than sterling. The three ways of
telling that you have reached annealing temperature that I use aRe:

Mark the piece with a sharpie or other marker pen, when the marking
goes transparent, you are at annealing temp

Spray the piece with Prips or coat with borax flux, when it goes
from powdery to glassy, you are there (really obvious when you touch
the piece with your solder pick)

Watch the flame, when the blast over the piece turns orange you are
at temp. Something to do with the carbon apparently.

In a really dark corner you might be able to see the glow, but that
usually means you are above where you need to be, with all of the
associated large grain problems this entails.

I look forward to hearing how others do this.

Chris Penner


These things I discovered while applying keum-boo foil to fine silver
using a small hot plate with a solid top:

  1. The fine silver anneals at the same temp as the foil diffusion
    bonds… as long as the piece is heat soaked as it should be.

  2. Sterling silver can be depletion gilded with this same hot plate
    as the copper in the sterling will darken when left on the hot plate
    turned to high. No need to use a torch.

  3. No need for a Sharpie or paste flux at temp. indicators… and
    anyway, flux turns glassy at higher temp than needed for annealing
    fine silver… although the higher temp does no harm if this is
    what you choose to use. Same with Sharpie technique.

Annealing sterling is the tricky technique, and advice abounds on
this, not all of it correct. On the other hand, annealing fine
silver (and copper) can be so easy in comparison.

Carol Holaday

ps The hot plate I use cost less than $20 from Walmart.

pps For many years I have used a kiln to anneal fine silver.
Especially good for annealing wire (cloisonne wire, bezel wire,