I have been using the Arg Silver but have never fused any - nor
have I ever fused regular sterling. Can you tell me some details on
how you go about it differently than if you were soldering. For
example, what type of torch are you using, are you using flux and
how do you go about the heating process? - Just some details on the
I am no expert, and maybe that's why I love AS so much. It took a
lot of practice for me to learn to fuse with regular Sterling Silver.
With regular Sterling, you must coat alloy very well with flux to
protect it from oxygen. Next you heat the pieces you wish to fuse
together evenly until that, almost magical moment, when the outside
surface begins to shimmer and then remove the heat. If you wait much
longer you will end up with a molten puddle or at least a badly
With Argentium Sterling silver it's much easier. The window of
opportunity is much greater between the time it fuses to the time it
I first started practicing fusing Argentium Sterling by fusing jump
rings. After I felt confident with that, I tried making pendants
using fused scraps. Recently I've been experimenting with granulation
using only fusion. Using AS, no copper needs to be added to the
granules to help them adhere, just make the granules, and fuse them
to the piece.
I like to use a propane torch. For small details pieces or jump
rings, I use the BernzOmatic ST900D mini torch. For larger projects,
I like to use the BernzOmatic JTH7 hose torch. Both torches are
propane / air type torches. I like to use these torches because I
feel it is easier to control; no messing with oxygen and regulators.
It's also very easy to get gas when I need it. Hardware stores,
grocery stores, even gas stations stock the small gas canisters. The
JTH7 torch is also compatible with MAPP gas. This is also the same
torch I use when I am casting with AS (using MAPP gas).
As for flux, I now use My-T-Flux from Rio Grande almost exclusively.
Heating can be done by gradually heating the entire piece or by
heating only a small area, such as when you want to close a jump ring
on a chain. A little practice will help you to know how long to heat
the alloy. When I first started fusing jump rings, I tried heating
them up to the point I thought would be right and then I took my
round nose pliers and tried to force the ring open. When I was
consistently fusing jump ring that I could not force open, I knew I
was doing it right. It also became very hard to locate the joint once
the ring was fused.
Here are a few tips: Make sure all the parts are clean. When fusing,
it is important that the pieces you wish to fuse together have good
contact with each other. Be careful not to overheat the AS. Only heat
the AS to the point that it takes to get them to fuse and then remove
the heat. After fusing allow the piece to air cool (don't quench).
Never try to move the AS while it is hot. Moving the AS will cause it
to break. If the piece must be held in tweezers or some other device,
be careful that it does not hold the piece too tightly because it
will cause the piece to break (I learned this while fusing jump rings
held by tweezers). Lastly because AS has a tendency to want to slump
while it is being fused, it may need to be supported.
One of the great advantages to fusing with Argentium Sterling is
that you can add parts to your piece without having to pickle it. The
parts you would normally solder on, such as bezels and small
decorations, can easily be fused on. Using this technique, you can
create a piece of jewelry very quickly.