Applying granules on hollow body?

Hi! I’m wondering how one could apply tiny granules onto a hollow
fabricated ring (sterling silver, all seams hard soldered). I
want the surface to look like sand. What I’m thinking about to do
is either melt some easy silver solder onto the surface, then
place the granules on that solder layer and solder them on. The
other way could be to just apply some flux on the ring and put
it into the granules so they would stick to the surface and then
heat everything together up so the tiny spheres actually would be
fused to the sheet. I’d prefer the second solution, but I fear
the heat could be to high and the hollow construction would
collapse before I get the “sanded” look I want.

sabinea’s virtual gallery
metal design, jewelry & silverwork

Sabine–If you try to fuse the granules, the solder will
probably run long before the surface of the ring heats up enough
for fusing–and the tiny granules may then melt completely
rather than give you the surface you want as well as all your
soldering coming apart. You might try a sample with the solder
idea, but then there will be a problem keeping the granules in
place until they are soldered. If it’s a closed hollow ring,
then you would also need to have a place where the heated air
would escape so it would explode. I haven’t tried any heavy
duty texturing with the flexible shaft, but I would imagine
there are bits that could do that. Sandra

Sabine, the Southwest Native Americans use a technique which
roughly translated means “sugaring”. It’s very easy to do. File
from a sterling slug, making a powder. The size of the powder
depends on the coarseness of the file. Run a strong magnet
through your powder to remove any residual steel from your file.
Paint on a liquid flux where you want the finish. While the flux
is still wet, dip it into the sterling powder. Let the flux air
dry. Apply your torch, using an even heat, with a flame similar
to an annealing flame. The powder will fuse to the surface
leaving a texture similar to a sugar coating on cookies. Don’t
take it too far or the powder will lose its crisp edges and start
slumping. Finish with a liquid soap and a brass burnishing brush.
Use lots of elbow grease to bring up the shine. For variety, try
powders of contrasting metals, or painting the flux in a specific
pattern before dipping into the powder. Hope this helps get you
where you need to go. KP in Wyoming

Sabine: I love your website. It is really nicely designed. Your
perfume bottles are really beautiful too.

If you want your ring to have the texture of sand why don’t you
sandblast your ring? It sounds like it may be easier to do then
what you planned.


Hi Tia, If you want a look of actual sand granules, why not
crazy glue some sand on your dome and then RTV mold. You can then
duplicate this look again easily by casting. Getting this level
of detail would be no problem. J.A.

  Hi! I'm wondering how one could apply tiny granules onto a
hollow fabricated ring (sterling silver, all seams hard

Have you considered classical granulation techniques? While the
temps required would be above the hard solder flow points, if
your seams are cleanly done, they won’t actually collapse any
more than they did when you first soldered them. Classical
granulation is done by copper plating the grains (soak em in
very used pickle, or new pickle with copper sulphate added, in
contact with some iron.). once copper plated, glue them in place
with a quite dilute mix of hide glue and a very little batterns
flux. Gently heat the result after tha glue dries. The glue
carbonizes, keeping the copper clean during heating by creating
a reducing atmosphere. The contact between the copper and silver
melts at the eutectic point for copper and silver, and when that
happens, the plated on copper briefly flushes, with the surface
looking momentarily wet and molten, like running solder. As the
copper then diffuses into the silver, The surface freezes again.
In the process though, the grains adhered/fused themselves to
the base piece, without themselves ever being hot enough to be
melting. This is easier to do if the actual grains are made of
fine silver, even if the base piece is sterling.

Quite a number of currently available books detail the process.
I like John Cogswell’s description in Tim McCreights “Metals

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe