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Annealing Argentium after foldforming


#1

Is it possible to anneal Argentium after you’ve fold formed it?

I have searched and can not find any older emails about this
question. So I’d really appreciate some help from Orchid.

I love making fold formed cuffs, but now customers are wanting
sterling silver rather than copper. I wanted to use Argentium but
got to thinking it might break apart when it’s annealed because it
isn’t supported in all the spots.

Does anyone know the answer to this?
Craig Kontny
Sunny and warm in Boulder Colorado.


#2

Argentium anneals at a slightly lower temperature than sterling
silver, so you should not get it anywhere near hot enough to slump
or break if unsupported. Scribble on it with a black Sharpie pen,
then warm it until the Sharpie turns transparent. Allow it to cool
before you move it, and it should be fine.

If it is very thin, a bit of support from firebrick fragments is a
good idea. Argentium will only break or shatter if you heat it to red
heat then press on it or quench it.

Annette


#3

Hi,

I love making fold formed cuffs, but now customers are wanting
sterling silver rather than copper. I wanted to use Argentium but
got to thinking it might break apart when it's annealed because it
isn't supported in all the spots. 

I use Argentium Sterling for foldforming all the time----in fact,
it’s a topic that I like to teach, combining two fun topics. (The
next workshop that I have scheduled for this is at Lill Street, in
Chicago, September 4, 5, and 6----the weekend before Labor Day). I
experimented with putting things into the fold to prevent fusion
during annealing of a foldform, but found that using a black Sharpie
as a temperature indicator is preferable to the mess and/or textures
that were made by oil, paper, ochre, white out, etc. I like to say
that to anneal, heat until the Sharpie marks “fade to a ghost”.
Remember that on a long or large piece of metal, such as a bracelet,
you don’t want/need to “heat the whole thing” all at once. Anneal an
area at a time, sequentially. Sometimes, the Sharpie darkens again,
causing you to wonder if you made a mistake. This has happened
enough times to me that I’ve decided that it is a “phenomenon”, and
the answer is to pay careful attention as you anneal, remembering
that it happens very quickly with AS, and then TRUST YOURSELF. if
you know that you saw it fade, do not worry if it re-darkens. You do
NOT need to go back, and re-heat.

In terms of support, I just lay it on a Solderite pad, myself. If it
is a dimensional fold that does not lay flat, don’t worry—the
structure of the fold support the AS during the annealing process.
Though Argentium Sterling is more fragile when red-hot than
traditional sterling, the current alloy is less fragile than the
original. So, the newer your stock is, the less likely you are to
have trouble.

Nevertheless, avoid pressing or picking up AS while red-hot. (In
fact, I already had this habit with SS, before AS was available, so
I recommend the following procedure for any silver alloy.) Since
"red hot" can be difficult to see, I have come up with the following
as a test to know whether the AS is cool enough to pick up and/or
quench: Dip your tweezers into water, and touch it to the AS. If the
water sizzles/evaporates, it is cool enough. If the droplet stays on
the tweezers, or dances around the metal, rather than sizzling, it
is still too hot. Hold the droplet of water against the metal until
it sizzles.

Cynthia Eid
Cynthiaeid.com