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Cannot get a large cuff to reticulate

I have been a reader for several years and really appreciate all the
great tips I have learned. Now I am hoping for some help and or
recommendations on how to solve what seems to be a problem that
shouldn’t be happening. I have a custom request for a large 4x6 cuff
that needs to be first reticulated, then have gold and sterling ball
clusters soldered randomly over the cuff. I have prepped the
reticulation silver (80/20) as I have before with smaller cuffs I
have done- heating, pickling, brass brush, scrub with pumice and
repeat at least 6 times. This was the process I learned in a class I
tookand it seems to have worked well every time I’ve done it before.
I have now tried several times to heat this large piece and cannot
get it to reticulate at all. Nothing pools or even looks like the
raised fine silver will budge a fraction of an inch. I keep thinking
it’s my torch (not enough heat?) because all I have is a MAPP gas
plumber’s torch and a large handheld butane, but it does seem to get
hot enough that the silver should start to move. Any and all help
would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!



You are going to have to use a kiln to get the 80/20 silver to
reticulate. I can’t remember what the kiln temp was but at least 1600
degrees. Put silver sheet on a clean fire-resistant pad, put in kiln
and watch. When the silver reticulates to the crinkliness you like,
pull sheet out of kiln and let it air cool for at least 10 minutes.
If you try to pick it up immediately after you pull sheet out of
kiln, it could break. Once cool, pickle the heck out of it, maybe
overnight. If you don’t have a kiln, find a friend who has one, or a
local school that has a kiln you can use.

Hope that helps. My advanced jewelry class was on a reticulation
phrase last year so quite a few beautiful pieces came out of the

Cannot get a large cuff to reticulate

Hello Pennee,

That is a large amount of silver to heat up! Try making a heat
trap/oven to keep the metal from losing so much heat. The ‘oven’ is
simply a back and two sides placed to form a “U” with the opening
toward you, topped with a flat piece - all of insulating material.

Get some soft kiln brick and cut it with a hack saw into slices (10

  • 15 mm thick). Then cut a slice long-wise, into pieces that are 60
    mm or so wide. These pieces become the back and sides of your ‘oven’
  • they should all be the same width so that when you place a slice
    over the top, there is little gap.

Because you need the ‘oven’ interior to be only slightly larger than
the 4"x6" metal, cut the sides to 5" or so and butt them against the
back piece, which can be any length since the sides are movable.
Place the sides about 7" apart. The top slice can be moved back as
needed to allow access from the top for your torch tip.

Note the slice measurements are not exact, nor do they need to be.

Adjustments are made by moving the sides closer or farther apart.
However, the side and back pieces DO need to be the same height to be
effective at containing the heat.

Hope this was not too long-winded and that the instructions make
sense. I keep all the slices of kiln brick and can make ‘ovens’ of
many dimensions.

It also helps to elevate the metal 5-6mm off your soldering pad so
that you can bounce the heat off the pad onto the back of your metal.
I use little “V” shaped strips of titanium. copper might also work
well since it has such a high melting point.

Judy in Kansas, where yesterday it drizzled, snowed (beautiful large
flakes coming straight down), rained, and finally the sun shown.

I have now tried several times to heat this large piece and cannot
get it to reticulate at all. 

Gauge of the metal too thick, not enough heat, surface you are
trying to reticulate on not right material.

Hi Pennee

It seems your torch is not powerful enough.

The larger the piece of silver the more heat that is needed, this
seems to be “exponential”.

I do a lot of reticulation and have done for 30 years.

I do not use 80/20 aka coin silver. This, and here I go again, is
crap metal and not needed.

Reticulation can be done with deep spinning quality silver 950.
Depth of reticulation depends on the thickness of the metal.

I recently had a jeweller (note I am a silversmith very different in
method and skills with silver)

ask me how I did my reticulation because he used 80/20 and had

Not wanting to set up someone to copy my jewellery AGAIN!!! I was
sparse with details.

I mean after all he was trade trained LOL, luckily for me I went to
The School for Silversmiths.

I use sterling or 950 I have done- heating, pickling, brass brush,
scrub with pumice and repeat at least 6 times.

Why? IMHO waste of time. What is the pumice for, I use it to begin
smoothing the inside of holloware.

Here is what I do. I fully endorse the KISS principle Keep It Simple
Stupid, guess my teacher had insight into my intelligence.

I reticulate the piece of sterling. Note as you get to the centre of
the piece more heat is required.

I often reticulate the piece more than once to get the desired
effect. The silver should flow, remove the torch quickly. This is
how I get the waves.

Then pickle 10 minutes, wash.

Form into piece I want e. g. a ring.

NOW heat to annealing temp. Quench in pickle. There are those who
choose to let the piece cool before pickling.

Scratch brush (brass brush) with water and detergent.

Although I have been told in the old days in northern European
countries they used the left over stale beer from the previous day,
as the liquid. In Australia the concept of leftover beer is not

I do this 3 times. Finished. Never had a problem or dissatisfied

I use a brazing torch with bellows for most of my work. Using LPG as
the gas.

So Pennee to start I think you need more heat.


Thanks for all the reticulation tips. I do have a kiln, but no bead
door and the local college studio I use doesn’t have one either to my
knowledge- that would have been great to try, but not being able to
watch I think I’ll have to try the oven method. I have used something
similar for large soldering jobs- my biggest fear was getting it so
hot, I put holes right through