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Cutlery jewelry


#1

(forks, spoons, and knives, oh my!)

Hey everyone,

This is aimed at anyone who has designed and made jewelry with forks
and spoons. I’ve been wanting to try this for ages and, thanks to a
jewelry and metalworking class, I finally have access to a studio
with the right kind of tools to try it.

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with this because my
instructor doesn’t work with cutlery. I’ve been working sterling
silver plated brass cutlery, forks mostly because I love the
intricate ways you can shape the fork prongs. With my humble
knowledge of how metal works, I’ve come to the tentative conclusion
that the only way to shape the fork prongs, or to even flatten the
fork (or spoon for that matter), is to anneal. So far I’ve had mixed
results.

Like I said, I’m working with sterling silver plated forks. I’ve had
some success with annealing: the fork warms ups, glows to a dark
orange, the silver plating oxidizes; shape, polish, done.

But more often than not, I’ve gone to anneal and I’ve watched the
fork get hot really fast, get to glowing-bright-orange stage, the
silver plating bubbles and burns up, and I’m left with a messy and
now worthless fork that I have no hope of polishing because there
isn’t any silver left. Basically, it seems to me that by the time I
get to the point that the fork is softened, the silver plating is in
danger.

Apart from the silver company these forks come from, and the
pattern, I can’t tell what the difference is and why the silver burns
on most but not all. And I can’t think, with all the forks and spoons
other people have worked with, that this happens to them more often
than not.

So I can only conclude that I must be doing something wrong. So my
questions to anyone who has worked with forks for longer than I have,
what am I doing? Is there a way to anneal forks so the silver doesn’t
burn off? Or is it really just a hit and miss kind of thing? In that
case, is there a way to tell what forks will anneal and which won’t?
Can I even work with an unannealed fork?

I’d also really appreciate some general tips on shaping fork prongs
and polishing but the annealing question is my biggest concern right
now.

Thanks everyone!

Beka