Argentium Sterling Notes

Greetings all,

Just some more observations on Argentium Sterling.

My friend and I spent some time working with fusing/granulation with
Fine Silver after watch Ronda Coryell’s CD. I decided to move on to
all Argentium components after completing a few fine silver samples.

  1. I found that Argentium does not like the kiln approach. The kiln
    gets the metal too hot. It will break when lifted off the plate. The
    yellow ocher coating on the back of the piece made no difference. I
    thought this would happen because of the much lower melting point of
    Argentium and the hot short characteristic. I went to working with a
    compressed charcoal block and torch. No problems once you remove the
    torch and give the metal a moment to cool.

  2. Tried putting the granules and wires down with the
    glue-flux-water mix. I found the carbon build up tended to make
    seeing the flash at the contact point difficult. By the time the
    carbon burns off, you are too close to the melting point. Tried
    using just flux…Batterns. Better. I finally tried saliva. (Don’t
    drink coffee at the same time or you will have the carbon problem
    from the sugar residue) It did the best and cleaned up the easiest.
    There seems to be a wider temperature window at the point of fusion
    with Argentium. This was not eutectic soldering. I was able to keep
    the Argentium wires and granules much crisper than with the fine

  3. Had to try 18K yellow gold and Argentium. Nice! Very nice.
    Again,spit did the best job. I find watching that fillet form really
    exciting. I had no trouble with the gold melting into the Argentium.
    I’ll try 14k in a day or two. I am curious how the lower melting
    point of the 14k will affect the fusion. The temperature windows
    should be narrower.

  4. The torch was air/acetelyne, #3 tip (Goss).

  5. We need more holidays. Can’t seem to find time to play otherwise.

Bill Churlik

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Hi Bill,

Thanks for sharing! Great observations! Spit, huh? I’ll try it! Up
to this point, Rio’s My-T-Flux has been my favorite for fusing
Argentium Silver. I use a solderite board. I have fused with a creme
brulee torch at Rio’s Catalog in Motion in Tucson (sorry–I won’t be
there this year) and have also been successful with Smith’s oxy/air
torch as well as the Smith Little Torch. I choose the tip size
according to the size and gauge of the base metal being fused to.

I think the gold granule that melted into the AS was probably 14K,
so, as you say, it makes sense that higher karat golds would have
this problem less.

Cynthia Eid

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