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Argentium Blog


#1

Can someone (I think it’s one of the Trevors who writes it) repost
the link to the blog about Argentium? I just ordered a little to
work with and I can’t find the post with the link…

In particular, I’m wondering about heat-hardening of the alloy, and
any tips people have for trying to solder it for the first time.
I’ve mostly soldered regular sterling silver but have also soldered
copper and 14k (but only sterling recently…) I know not to use
hard solder and to be careful not to melt it since it has a lower
melting point - is that it?

Trevor’s Working with Argentium Silver blog is at:
http://www.touchmetal.com/blog/argentium-blog.html

Thanks!
Leah
www.michondesign.com
@Leah2


#2

Argentium links:

http://www.silversmithing.com/1argentium.htm
Argentium

http://www.touchmetal.com/blog/argentium-blog.html
Working with Argentium Silver


#3
In particular, I'm wondering about heat-hardening of the alloy, and
any tips people have for trying to solder it for the first time. 

Hello Leah,

Thank you for your interest in the blog. As the Orchid guys mentioned
its called “Working With Argentium Silver” and is at

http://www.touchmetal.com/blog/argentium-blog.html

Regarding the heat hardening you might want to look at the following
entries in the blog:

  • “Precipitation Hardening, Part One” at

www.touchmetal.com/blog/2005/02/precipitation-hardening-part-one.html

  • “Precipitation Hardening, Part Two” at

www.touchmetal.com/blog/2005/02/precipitation-hardening-part-two.html

  • “Precipitation Hardening, Part Three + Conclusions” at

www.touchmetal.com/blog/2005/02/precipitation-hardening-part-three.html

The bottom line with the heat hardening is that it’s easy and very
effective. I’ve made it standard procedure for most of my designs.

As to soldering I think you’ll find it fairly straightforward. As you
know Hard grade solder is not recommended because it takes you
dangerously close to Argentium’s slump temperature. Medium grade is
fine for most fabrication work. Standard silver solder is what most
of us are using on it though specific Argentium solders should be
appearing soon.

One soldering trick I’ve taken to using lately is to roll my sheet
solder through my rolling mill in order to thin it out. I take it
down to about .005 inch and then cut it into chips just like normal.
The advantage of having the thin chips is that they melt faster and
don’t “ghost”, both of which help when you’re trying to be careful
how much heat you’re pumping into the metal during soldering.

As mentioned here and elsewhere you need to readjust your visual cues
a little when it comes to heating and soldering Argentium. Argentium
doesn’t show it’s heat colour as readily as standard sterling so
you’ll want to be a bit cautious with it at first. I just dim the
lights in my studio in order to see the heat coloring better. It helps
if you have a dimmer control right at your bench which is what I’ve
set up.

Last but not least you need to be aware that Argentium will "slump"
sooner than standard sterling would when you’re heating it. It’s not
a big deal but you’ll want to provide a little more support for larger
and/or flat pieces than you’d need to with regular sterling.

If I can be of any further assistance please don’t hesitate to ask.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#4

Thanks Zen and Trevor for the links!

I had a chance to play with my new Argentium silver wire over the
weekend, and I love it. I made a simple ring out of 16g wire to try
soldering, and IMO it was easier than with sterling. Not worrying
about firescale was nice, and there’s something satisfying about a
piece looking clean right when it’s been soldered, even before going
into the pickle.

Then I made some headpins by melting balls at the ends of wire, and
that also worked really well for me. It behaves more like fine
silver than sterling when melting balls, no wrinkles or firescale at
all. And the lower melting point means that I can use my tiny little
butane torch for some things that it wouldn’t be quite hot enough
for use with sterling.

Then I did a little wirework, and it definitely didn’t work harden
as quickly as sterling. I do a lot of sculpting wire with my
fingers, so not work hardening is a big plus for me. I haven’t tried
the precipitation hardening yet, but I read about Trevor’s results
and I don’t see any reason that it wouldn’t work as well for me too.

Now - does anyone know where you can get thinner than 24g wire in
Argentium? For weaving as well as making head pins to use with tiny
gemstone beads, 26-28g would be really useful to me, if it exists
somewhere.

Leah
www.michondesign.com
@Leah2


#5
    Now - does anyone know where you can get thinner than 24g wire
in Argentium? For weaving as well as making head pins to use with
tiny gemstone beads, 26-28g would be really useful to me, if it
exists somewhere. 

Most of my stuff can be done in 24g. I haven’t tried yet, but I
think because of its greater ductility, I can do some of my 26g
projects in the 24g. Although it’d probably be cheaper to do them in
26g, LOL!

The only way I know to get it in the smaller guages (pending begging
Stuller to stock it) is to draw it yourself. The smallest any
drawplate I know of will go is 28g - does anybody know where you can
get a drawplate to go down to 30g? I’d like to try some
knitting/weaving with the Argentium.

Sojourner


#6

Me too, Leah. I’d like to find 26 ga round wire in A.925. I know, I
could draw it down. But I want one piece several meters long, and am
lazy enough to want someone else to do it :wink:

Judy in Kansas, where we are supposed to see record-breaking temps
today. Sweatin’ on campus now.


#7

Hello All,

Stuller will offer Argentium solders in easy, medium, and hard,
beginning sometime in June. Argentium solders will be sold in 1/4 oz
x 30 ga sheets…

James Gilbert
Stuller Metals
800-877-7777


#8

Hi Judy,

I'd like to find 26 ga round wire in A.925. 

Try Hauser & Miller


in St Louis.

I very seldom order such a small quantity for a total order, but
have ordered small quantities as part of a larger order & they’ve
always provided what I’ve ordered at a reasonable cost.

If you stock several sizes, it’s really not much of a chore to draw
to a smaller size.

Dave


#9
    Stuller will offer Argentium solders in easy, medium, and
hard, beginning sometime in June. Argentium solders will be sold in
1/4 oz x 30 ga sheets... 

Oh, rats, no wire solder? I’ll take what I can get, but wire solder
has always been the easiest for me to use.

Sojourner
who also wants Argentium wire in half round, square, and in round
down to 28g.


#10

Try Hauser & Miller
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/detail-hauser_and_miller-1616.html
in St Louis.

In St. Louis, huh? That’s almost my neck of the woods.

The problem with drawing it down is that my use for the finer wire
is for crochet, and I like loooooong pieces for that. There are ways
to work in a new strand, but its a pain (at least it is for me while
I’m still learning).

I thought Stuller was currently the only US supplier of Argentium?
I went to the Hauser and Miller website and couldn’t find a mention
of Argentium.

Not doubting you, just can’t find it on the website.

Sojourner


#11

Halleluja!! A.925 solders, at last! I do hope they will have some
sort of distinguishing shape or over-all pattern so that they can be
identified easily! Any chance for finer gauge wire (26 ga) as
well???

Thanks for the alert James at Stuller,

Judy in Kansas


#12
I'd like to find 26 ga round wire in A.925. 

My understanding is that at this point, you can currently buy
Argentium from Stuller, Hoover and Strong, and G&S Metals. 26 gauge
wire should be in stock at any of these.

Rio Grande will have it in June or so—they built a new stockroom,
in order to keep it separate.

If you have a large enough order—say 100 ounces—you can buy
directly from Stern-Leach.

Cindy
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#13
    I thought Stuller was currently the only US supplier of
Argentium? 

Hello Zen,

This is changing pretty fast but the latest (US) supplier
list that I have is:

G&S Metals (www.gsgold.com)
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/detail-g_s_metals-2081.html

Hoover & Strong (www.hooverandstrong.com)
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/detail-hoover_and_strong-1615.html

Stern-Leach (www.sternleach.com)
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/detail-stern_leach-2082.html

Stuller Inc (www.stuller.com)
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/detail-stuller_inc.-1533.html

As has been mentioned before most, if not all, of these are actually
distributors of the Stern-Leach product.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#14

All,

Let me know what sizes you want and I’ll see what I can do… It
takes a while to put new sizes of Argentium product on the shelf, so
please be patient. I will keep all informed. Thanks…

James Gilbert
Stuller Metals


#15
A.925 solders, at last!  I do hope they will have some sort of
distinguishing shape or over-all pattern so that they can be
identified easily!  Any chance for finer gauge wire (26 ga) as
well??? 

Judy: Yes, Stuller will carry 26 ga Argentium wire. It will take a
month or so to get it on the shelf. I will post here when it is
orderable…

Thanks for the suggestions!

James Gilbert
Stuller Metals
800-877-7777


#16

I would like to mention that A&A Products carries silver and is
looking into carrying Argentium. We are watching this site to
determine what is the most popular type, since it takes time to
build up stock. You can see our site at
http://www.aaproducts.com/silver.html and I would be happy to receive
suggestions on what you would like to see at my personal email at
seguinkid@aol.com

Murray
A&A Products Ltd