Custom bi-metal

I have been thinking about the process used to bring fine silver to
the surface of sterling in preparation of techniques such as keum
boo. As it is time consuming I was wondering if a bi-metal of
sterling with a fine silver layer already in place could be
constructed eliminating the need to heat and pickle ad nauseum - no
preparation - all ready to go. I talked to a manufacturer and he
thought it could be done. Problem is that a minimum would have to
be ordered - having not tried it, I would have some concerns about
its workability. Does anyone see a reason why such a bi-metal would
not be workable? I would think it would keep the strength of the
sterling and give you the surface necessary to facilitate fusing.

Luv your thoughts, Grace


It seems like a lot of trouble to have a custom metal made just to
avoid raising the fine silver on sterling. That said, this material
you describe may have other advantages that may make it more worth
the trouble. It might have application for enameling for instance,
but that’s not my area of knowledge. One thing to check into is how
are the two layers bonded together? Are they fused or soldered? If
they are soldered, what kind of solder is used?

I developed the 18k/sterling bi-metal that’s on the market today
around 1985. This is the stuff that Hauser and Miller in St. Louis
sells. They advertise it in Metalsmith magazine. The material I had
made was produced by Stern Leach in Attleboro, MA, and they still
make the material that Hauser sells. My original minimum order was
100 ounces. As I recall I was able to talk them into making me a
"sample order" of 50 ounces. You may want to raise that idea with
who ever you’re in contact with. I’d also recommend you at least get
a price quote from Stern Leach.

Let me know how it works out,
Don Friedlich