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Argentium wire balls up lopsided


#1

Greetings.

What should I be doing? When I ball up 26ga (or 24, or 22ga)
Argentium wire, the wire balls up lopsided - I wind up with something
that looks more like a golf club than a ball.

I am using handy flux and pickling with PH-down. Torch is propane.
I’ve tried holding the flame straight up, sideways, dipping the end
of the wire into the cool part of the flame, the hot part of the
flame… I just can’t get it quite right. Is my flame not hot enough?
Too hot?

Your suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Barbara

Barbara Lee
www.gemellajewelry.com
www.gemellajewelry.wordpress.com


#2

Hello Barbara,

I make bundles of head pins from AS wire. Are you using a fine point
flame? The hotter flame seems to give me rounder balls on the wire.

Hope this helps,

Judy in Kansas, where spring break is underway - students are gone
and everything is sooooo quiet.


#3

Barbara.

That is a common when making balled ends. I find it is usually
caused by removing your torch too quickly from the ball. As a result,
it takes on oxygen which bubbles and causes the malformation if the
torch is removed too quickly. Try this, after the ball reaches the
size you want (don’t make it too large or it might drop off) slowly
remove your torch. Move the flame down towards the bottom so that is
the last part you are heating before removing it entirely.

Also, as you are doing Argentium I don’t think it is necessary to
use flux, though some may disagree with that statement.


#4

Hi,

When I ball up 26ga (or 24, or 22ga) Argentium wire, the wire balls
up lopsided - I wind up with something that looks more like a golf
club than a ball. I am using handy flux and pickling with PH-down.
Torch is propane.
  • Try cleaning the wire with an abrasive, such as a scotchbrite pad,
    to make sure that all the oils from drawing down the wire at the
    factory are gone.

  • I suggest My-T-Flux or Batterns Flux.

  • Hold the wire vertically, so that the end where the ball will be
    is at the bottom.

  • Aim the flame at the end of the wire, or just below the end of the
    wire, but not higher

Let us know if this helps!
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#5

Yes, I am now using a finer point on my flame and have gotten the
hang of the placement of the wire in the flame. So far, so good! I
think all they need now is a little tumbling, because the balled-up
ends are a little matte…but otherwise, all better.

Thanks to everybody for their support & generosity in sharing

Barbara
Barbara Lee
Gemella Contemporary Jewelry
www.gemellajewelry.com


#6

Maybe it’s the flux. I don’t use flux for balling wire, just when
soldering.


#7

Maybe it’s the use of flux. I don’t use any flux when balling up
wire.


#8

When I make Argentium balled headpins, I don’t use any flux at all.
Instead, I dip each pin into denatured alcohol, do a quick burn off
then lower the wire into the flame just at the point where it
chances from blue to red. It tends to ball rather fast and I found
that if I rotate it slightly as it’s balling, they don’t come out
lopsided. It’s only when I don’t rotate that they tend to look like
golf clubs. Drop it into water to quench and I don’t even pickle,
just toss them in the tumbler to shine.

Michele
MikiCat Designs
http://www.mikicatdesigns.com


#9

Maybe it’s the flux. I don’t use flux when balling up wire.


#10

Michelle,

I dip each pin into denatured alcohol, do a quick burn off then
lower the wire into the flame 

Why do you dip in alcohol. I know about alcohol/boric acid on
sterling (which I do, but not on Argentium), but I’ve never heard of
just alcohol.

Thanks,
Jamie


#11

Jamie,

Why do you dip in alcohol. I know about alcohol/boric acid on
sterling (which I do, but not on Argentium), but I've never heard
of just alcohol. 

I got into the habit of dipping then flaming off my silver in
denatured alcohol as part of the “protocol” I was taught by Don. AG
doesn’t need flux if you’re just balling them up. However, the
denatured alcohol quickly and easily removes any oils or grease that
may have been transferred. With Argentium, I noticed that oils left
can cause it not to ball up evenly. So, I make sure it’s oil free
and get perfect balled headpins every time.

Michele
MikiCat Designs
http://www.mikicatdesigns.com