Heating it to solder certainly takes the metal well above the
annealing temperature. How hard it becomes upon cooling depends on
how long it was held at the high temperature and the cooling rate.
Let it air cool and it will retain most of its original hardness.
See the long thread on quenching for more
In reading my own post and the reply above, I realize I didn't
actually ask the question I intended. My question is why would I use
half-hard metal if it is being used for an application that requires
it to be heated to a soldering temperature, such as a bezel back. I
understand the effects of quenching and air cooling on hardness and
routinely use the air cooling process to retain hardness
(additionally, I heat treat Argentium in my oven as per Cynthia Eid's
article). I also routinely anneal metal that has become work
The question arises from my habit of reading from start to finish
articles of step by step projects that have "materials and tools
required" lists. I seldom make the project because I don't like to
copy, however I do try to glean all the technical I can
from the article. Sometimes the materials list will include half hard
wire or sheet, yet the project will require the piece to be heated to
soldering temperature. Why does one start with half hard?
I have finally found a system that works for me to keep my gages of
wire and sheet separated as well as my sterling and Argentium
separate. I really don't want to have to keep half hard separated
too!! As for the shop trolls that use to mess with my work area, I
"adopted" a head troll from a lady who creates them a few months ago
and he sits next to my bench. When something goes missing, I look him
in the eye and usually what I am looking for shows up. Crazy!