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Annealing sterling

All the discussion on how to heat-harden sterling silver reminds me
to ask how best to anneal (soften) sterling? I’m used to annealing
base metal, which is very straightforward, but when I applied the same
style to annealing silver, it didn’t get any softer. Apparently
there’s a certain temperature range, and I’d appreciate advice on how
to “find” it.

I have looked up the subject in some of my books. McCreight (p. 2)
suggests using paste flux, which becomes clear at 1100 degrees, the
proper annealing temperature, and heating to a dull red + quenching
as soon as the redness disappears. Sprintzen (p. 13) suggests a
similar procedure. McGrath (p. 15) says, heat silver to a dull pink
and hold there for a few seconds before quenching, and suggests that
the best flame for annealing “is about 1 inch or so from the end, at
the point at which the orange center meets the blue section.” [ibid.,
p. 12].

How does this work for you? Is quenching really necessary? TIA!

Judy Bjorkman

Quenching will make the metal more malleable than allowing it to air
cool. I quench directly into the pickle and have never had anything
crack. I use the lid of the crockpot as a shield as I do this.

Marilyn Smith

Hi, quenching sterling ot gold tempers it slightly, making it a
little harder. (Marilyn is mistaken)Its so slight its barely
noticeable in sterling. However on 18 karat you will notice a
difference, always best to let cool before putting in the pickle if
you want it soft. For annealing I usually avoid the pickle as
prolonged quenching changes the crystaline structure and make it
brittle. Ed Dawson Maine Master Models