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Dead soft vs. half hard Argentium


#1

I would like some about using dead-soft vs. half-hard
wire. If I am using half-hard wire for a ring (say 10gage) or sheet
(24g) for a bezel back, doesn’t the act of soldering soften the
metal, or does it not get hot enough to anneal? I am particularly
interested in this as to how it applies to Argentium. I
am ordering some half-hard today to try it out.

I too am not renewing my subscription to Art Jewelry. I pray, hope
and beg Jewelry Arts (Lapidary Journal) to continue to devote a good
deal of the publication to lapidary topics. Although I don’t cut my
own stones, I look to them for about the subject.

Priscilla Fritsch


#2

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

Nick


#3
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
hardened.

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!

Priscilla Fritsch


#4
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. 

As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, the only time it makes sense
to use half-hard silver is for wire-wrapping, where fully annealed
may not have the “body” to bend into graceful curves (doing the
earrings that I wire wrap with annealed 20g sterling is like trying
to shape spaghetti). I am not aware of any benefit to starting with
stiffer material for any other purpose. As you point out, you’re
just going to anneal it in the process of soldering anyway!

Noel


#5

Hi Priscilla,

Somehow, I missed your original post.

The usual reason for using half-hard wire is if it will be used for
wire-wrapping, or something like that, and it will not be
precipitation hardened afterwards in an oven. I imagine that when you
see it listed in the supply list for a how-to article, it is simply
the habit of that artist to start with half-hard. You are correct
that there is no reason for starting with half-hard if it is going to
be heated to soldering temperature. It does not sound to me like you
need to start stocking half-hard wire.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#6
... 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. 

In my experience the latter statement is not true. Argentium Silver
that has been heated to dull red and left to air cool is usually
noticeably softer than it was to begin with, especially if it was
significantly work hardened or precipitation hardened prior to
heating. Quenching will make it even softer but air cooling does a
pretty fair job too.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
Visit TouchMetal.com at http://www.touchmetal.com