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Annealing for beginners


#1

I’m a beginning jeweler who is working with 26ga half-hard 14k
gold-filled wire on a project, I’ve worked it enough to make it too
hard for my purposes, but cannot easily replace the length of wire
I’m using at this point. There is a tail of wire about 1.5feet long
extending from the project I’d like to anneal, yet i have no torch…
I do have a gas stove. Embarrassingly, I’ve put it over the open
flame just long enough for the wire tail to turn a dullish purple.
It’s essential to me to anneal the tail of the wire only and not the
rest of the work in progress, are there any suggestions as to how I
can do this without a torch? And how do I get my wire to look like it
used to after? I’d appreciate any help, thanks!


#2

hello

first you need to buy at least a bernzomatic hand held butane torch
($26.00 at most home stores and hardwares) they are great for
beginners and are quite flexible in what they accomplish- they reach
25 degrees fahrenheit- hot enough to anneal anything and melt small
quantities of precious metals though not platinum (5-8 grams max.).
They will allow you to do all necessary operations and learn some
skills without a large outlay of money.

Secondly, to anneal without damaging the workpiece and leaving the
’tail" in place (why is that necessary- you could always reattach it
later!) you should make a heat sink- a heavyweight washer will do or
anything you like

  • placed between the work and the wire.It has to be a quickly
    executed operation so be sure to use clean metals (degrease them
    first and rinse well) and flux them well with a firescale
    preventative (like Pripp’s - homemade denatured alcohol and
    crystalline borax (pure borax, though 20 mule team or laundry borax
    will work in a pinch. Just make sure it’s at least 93% borax, or
    Cupronil firescale preventative and flux in one) then heat to a dull
    red (a cherry red as seen in a dimmed area). Quench in water or let
    the maaterial air cool to grey and then quench in oil (wintergreen),
    or water or whatever you usually use…It isn’t necessary to pickle if
    you need to do another join- otherwise pickle and rinse in baking
    soda and water1:3 if it is anything other than the original colour
    you’ll need to clean it agin with detergent, alcohol, ultra- fine
    sandpaper or 3m’s finishing films in a 6 micron grit or brushes,
    etc. in a flex shaft, dremel, etc.

You tempered your wire when it turned purple- that means not only did
you destroy the annealing that was (dead soft, half hard, etc.) but
actually made it more brittle- silver is a crystalline structure.
Annealing repacks the molecules (so- to- speak) to the desired temper
depending on how hot it gets nearest the liquidus stage. Silver goes
from its normal state to straw yellow, to blue, purple etc. until
red. it will not hold that colour though so don’t imagine that you
can heat colourize it as you would use various patinas to accomplish
a stable result! anyway-

i hope this helps somehow. rer


#3

If you care about what happens to this project I suggest you nip on
down to the hardware store and spend $25 on a small torch. Trust me,
you’ll find plenty of other things to use it on.

Prep your area with VERY low light. Keep the flame low and moving
along the area you want to anneal. Heat it until you can just barely
see a dull red color then STOP. Let it air cool. Now you’re annealed.

Please remember that thin gold wire can melt down in a blink of your
eye. Do not move the flame in too close or let it stop on any one
area. Better to back it way off and move in slowly until you get the
hang of it.

Cheers,
RC2


#4

HI R.E.

first you need to buy at least a bernzomatic hand held butane
torch ($26.00 at most home stores and hardwares) they are great for
beginners and are quite flexible in what they accomplish- they
reach 25 degrees fahrenheit- hot enough to anneal anything and melt
small quantities of precious metals though not platinum (5-8 grams
max.). They will allow you to do all necessary operations and learn
some skills without a large outlay of money. 

Which Bernzomatic torh model are you referring to… They have
several… One that’s like a screwdriver, and the other kind that
stands alone… I believe more than one style of that…A number of
folks have mentioned “the Bernzomatic torch” but no one, that I can
remember, I might have missed it, ever mentions the model number…

And I think you meant 2500 degrees F…[G]…

By any chance do you, or any other Orchidian have the model
number…

Thanks,

Gary W. Bourbonais
L’Hermite Aromatique
A.J.P. (GIA)
http://www.facebook.com/Le.Hermite

BTW, I had one of the fat screwdriver Bernzomatic torches, which
worked great until it developed leaks…


#5

the bernzomatic that has a base- they keep changing the way it looks-
but essentially they all get to it says on the packaging:) 2500
degrees fahrenheit ( the other bernzomatic torch I have says 2850
with MAPP Gas- I like it as well however the disposable tanks are
expensive.Our local Home Depot just had a closeout - and perhaps more
around the country are doing the same - in which I got cases of 10 of
the the disposable tanks for $2.50 each for O2 and $2.99 for MAPP).
the pencil like butane torch has problems- I have had students that
have brought them to use and they have for the most part not
functioned correctly.I have NEVER had a problem with the ones that
have the removeable base, and look rather like a pistol with a very
short head.I also use their portable Oxy/Fuel set up with the mixer
and flashback arrestor in the sealed handle it does a great job of
melting small amounts (up to 2-211/2/oz.s ) of precious metals
quickly. The butane torches will not melt metals unless it is a gram
or two for sizing…or a workpiece that you really didn’t want to
melt down!..The one I am talking about (butane torch) is about
$25-26.00 at most home stores, hardwares etc. The disposable tank
set up is about $42.00 respectively. Either is a good torch to have
in your shop.I find myself using the butane quite alot on small
workpieces and for quick gold repairs- it’s way cheaper and faster
than using acetylene, a water torch, etc…and the safety factor is
another consideration for buying the butane torch- once it’s off
there is no chance of leaking, or your forgetting to shut down fuel
oxygen tanks. I highly recommend the Bernzomatic Butane torch that
is hand held.I entirely do not recommend the pencil like torch or the
smaller cartridge style units. rer


#6
Which Bernzomatic torch model are you referring to.... 

There’s a new Bernzomatic torch called Quick Fire that you may have
seen advertised recently. I picked one up at Home Depot for about
$65, and just gave it it’s first trial- it worked very well.

It looks just like a portable drill with a battery pack. In place of
the battery there’s a canister of MAPP gas. It’s more stable and
much lighter and more maneuverable than a regular Bernzomatic. It’s
also hotter, which may or may not be a good thing. It’s also
adjustable over a nice range. The downside is that the canisters are
smaller and more expensive ($7 something) than the more widely
available Coleman-style propane canisters- which wouldn’t fit. I
wonder if the extra hotness of MAPP would lead to relatively better
mileage than an equivilant quantity of propane? I guess it depends.
Anybody know?

This thing might be perfect for when I don’t feel like setting up
the big guns for a smaller job. No affiliation.

Allan