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Casting fine silver


#1

anyone have any experience casting with fine silver? any problems to
be aware of etc.?

I’m thinking of using it with enamel

thanks
aimee
www.fineandgood.com


#2

Aimee. I do a lot a casting of fine silver with no problems, and have
enameled on them… The important things to remember are that it takes
longer to melt fine silver than does sterling (fine has a higher
melting point), and you need to keep the flame of the torch on the
silver until t he very moment of casting, as fine silver freezes
quickly. My castings have come out just fine–no problems at all.

Alma


#3

I exclusively use fine silver when using silver at all (I like the
properties of fine silver over sterling a thousand times greater.It
doesn’t oxidise becaue it has no copper, it’s as forgiving a metal
as 18 kt. gold and above,fuses without flux and eutecticly bonds to
itself or “marrys” other metals beautifully in most applications. I
find that paying a supplier for copper to be added is an unnecessary
outlay-unless i’m in a hurry, or need massive quantities of it for a
specific application. If i need sterling or "de-oxed "silver it’s
easy enough to manufacture myself!)…

What exactly do you need to know? If you can narrow your topic area a
bit I’ll be more than happy to share anything i’ve learned thus far
about it with you… Also what type of casting are you planning on as
that narrows the topic area even further…

R.E.Rourke


#4

I’ve never had any problems casting fine silver, I use an
oxy-propane torch, gas and air take too long to get the temperature
required. Fine silver binds your tools a bit more than sterling but
there again high kt gold does compared to 9kt.

nick


#5

Hi

The best fine silver caster I ever met was Dave Freda. He literally
cast eggshell thin eggs! Then supernaturally “natural” color in his
enamels. The finest enamel work I ever saw. He uses fine silver cast
from the little Kerr electric furnace that looks a bit like an old
coffee percolator. He did a paper for the Santa Fe Symposium of
exactly how he does it. So, I think you will find it an easy
adaptation to fine silver casting. I suspect the electric furnace is
a big advantage as the graphite crucible naturally removes oxygen
from silver, which can hold a lot of it.

Daniel Ballard
Precious Metals West
National Sales Manager


#6

Aimee:

Casting with fine silver is a dream. No firescale, no surface
oxides, wonderful color. If you are casting something with fine
detail, remember to cast into a hot flask to insure metal flow into
the finely detailed areas.

The fine silver buttons and sprues can be remelted and recast.

Howard Siegel
Laptique, Ltd.


#7

I also love fine silver, R.E.Rourke, and fabricate or cast it.

However the first thing anyone trying to cast 999sil is that it does
not have the flow that (for eg) 925sil has. It doesn’t naturally
flow into details as well as 925. I superheat it well to try to
obviate it cooling off too quickly.

Also sprueing must be slightly more generous, I believe, to get the
metal into the mold quickly before it freezes up and limits the flow
further.

Maybe there are additives one could put into 999sil to improve its
flow. In the past I’ve tossed in a tiny amount of silicon.

What do you other fine sil casters think of the flow characteristics
of 999sil?

Brian
B r i a n A d a m
Auckland NEW ZEALAND
www.adam.co.nz


#8

The main problem with fine silver or any pure metal is it has a
melting point not a melting range. So when it reaches the freezing
point it stops flowing and does not allow for feeding beyond the
frozen point. Alloys on the other hand solidify gradually and do tend
to feed through the solidifying area to some degree. Ideally your
casting solidifies from the outermost points in the flask to the
sprue button in an orderly manner. This does not happen. If you model
was shaped like a cone and fed from the base with a sprue the same
size as the base of the cone it would solidify this way. Real world
models have thick and thin sections and are often (always?) fed by
sprues thinnner in section than the model. So solidification happens
in a much more complex way and often a thin section will solidify and
choke off a thicker section and as the molten metal cools it shrinks
and has nowhere to draw more metal from and results in a shrinkage
defect. This is the most common defect we would see with a fine
silver casting, a shrinkage spot or cavity in the heavier sections of
the model. To overcome this we cast it hot with large sprues and
still had an occasional model that was difficult to fill. But with
proper gating and spruing it casts ok.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#9

highly freeze-up prone, if I do it in winter, Or if i am showing off
by using the old swing it round one’s head method, i can be assured
it will not be pretty! and if i don’t have an assistant heating the
mould in which i’m going to force the silver when steam casting as
i’m melting the metal it also is less likely to do what i want it to
do and jump the mould-or to a large degree demonstrate thermal shock.

I like adding a bit of silicates (i’m still deciding which works
best for me at my altitude here, in the below sea level atmosphere it
was silicon carbonate or hydrous calcium silicon carbonates that
worked beautifully increasing the fluidity perhaps 5 fold relative to
no additives.) as a flux in addition to the fluxed crucible(s). PCC’s
seem to add a high polished look without having to do much in the
way of finishing if the mould is well prepared in my trials thus far
incomplete as they are…I did try aluminum silicates in hopes of
getting a nice purplish hue - what i got was expansion and porosity,
though it could have been due to clay not graphite crucible and
incomplete mixing as i just used it as one would sal ammoniac and
charcoal as a flux…but that was when i was seeking a purple gold
formula thast actually remains ductile and malleable…I thought,
“well, let’s see what happens when i use fine silver instead of fine
gold…”…it was not,suffice it to say, my most successful experiment
ever!!as the aluminum silicate required a min. temp of as i recall,
2200 degrees F (1000 C or so) to melt fully and incorporate
adequately…i felt as though temperature and air pressure had
something to do with the expansion…My most successful additive to
date has been lithium silicate for improving if not perfecting the
flow of.999.however the last of it is nowhere to be found as i had
perhaps a quarter oz. to begin with and i believe it was lost in a
flood nearly 2 yrs ago in August…

I am currently trying to get some more actually., Even with the
non-electric casting methods i like, it seemed to vastly improve the
metal’s abilities to flow, and perhaps even produced a more reducing
atmosphere without a gas cover…which i think could be useful to
those who like to use sterling silver… and the argentiums and
brilliantes and de-oxes in the silver market may be the end point of
sterling’s capabilities! but hey, I could be completely wrong

R.E.R.


#10

thanks to everyone for all the info it’s exactly what I was looking
for one more question I’m using vacuum casting in my studio with the
flow issues of fine silver do you think it will be impossible to
vacuum cast or do you think it will be no worse than the normal
shortcomings of this method and as for additives can anyone direct
me to some reading I haven’t done anything like that before and feel
I should get a little more education before I jump right in

thanks so much
aimee
www.fineandgood.com