Douglas asked various questions about casting Argentium sterling
I cast Argentium often. My casts are small, usually 2 1/2 inch
flasks but sometimes a 4 inch one and not more than 60 grams and
sometimes as little as 5 grams. I cast using a mix of propane and
oxygen and I am using centrifugal casting.
I often am using Argentium wire for other work and the cut off
pieces are used for casting just as though it were casting grain. As
long as it is clean and solder free, I treat it as thought it were
grain. For the ease of putting it into the crucible, I cut it into
Most of the casts that I do, have a portion of the metal being
melted composed of a button from a previous cast. I clean the button
of investment material. Then I pickle it. I am concerned to not have
any investment left on the button and I will brush it and pickle it
again to be sure that there is not any old flux and investment in any
crevices. I will then use a 3m course bristle brush to remove any
contaminants from the surface of the button. Perhaps this procedure
is too finicky, but I am anxious to always have the best final
product possible and would rather err on the side of caution.
I never use a mix of old and new material that is greater than 50%
of each and prefer 60% new and 40% old. For fine filigree casts I
will use new material only.
Douglas also asked about making grain from Argentium. I have never
had the need to do it and cannot speak from personal experience.
However, I do not expect a problem to melt and pour it into water to
make grain. The cast Argentium should not be quenched hot because of
the possibility of the cast cracking. Making grain is a whole
different process and pouring the hot metal into water should make
grain that is usable. If I were to make gain from old material, I
would clean it as noted above and make the grain. Still I would be
tempted to not treat this grain as new casting grain, but as clean
old material and still use it with a mix of new grain.
I once wrote something here on Orchid about my experience with
casting Argentium. The that I wrote is now on the
Argentium website. You may want to look at what I wrote
and look at other valuable on the site. Here is the link
to my about casting…
I hope that I have been helpful and welcome any other questions that
I can offer a bit of advice. It is a pleasure to give back to Orchid
when I receive so much.