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Depletion gilding argentium


#1

I took a metal clay class this past weekend. Despite demonstrating a
lack of talent in the medium, I’m in the mood to experiment a bit
with it. It is no secret that I adore Argentium, and am now curious
if I can ‘easily’ combine the two for certain pieces? I’ve read a
few posts on depletion gilding sterling in order to get it to fuse
to metal clay, a nd wonder if the same could be true for
Argentium

thanks in advance!
Ros


#2
I took a metal clay class this past weekend. Despite demonstrating
a lack of talent in the medium, I'm in the mood to experiment a bit
with it. It is no secret that I adore Argentium, and am now
curious if I can 'easily' combine the two for certain pieces? I've
read a few posts on depletion gilding sterling in order to get it
to fuse to metal clay, a nd wonder if the same could be true for
Argentium 

In my opinion, as a metalsmith and teacher in both metal clay and
traditional silver, the only way to combine sterling (of any sort)
with metal clay is after firing. I know this is not a universally
accepted notion, but I am in the camp that believes that all silver
clay should be fired to 1650 for 2 hours. Any less than that leaves
the metal clay less dense and strong than its maximum possible.
Pieces fired lower/shorter, even PMC3 fired according to the
manufacturer’s instructions, will be brittle and weak.

The fact is that sterling cannot tolerate these temperatures,
whether depletion gilded or not.

Fine silver combines fine with metal clay, though metal clay shrinks
and traditional sheet and wire do not.

If you decide to try the lower/shorter firing schedules in order to
be able to combine with sterling and/or stones, be prepared for a lot
of wasted effort and material, and for creating pieces that are much
thicker than otherwise, to compensate for the greater fragility.

If you think I may be wrong, I urge you to make some quick, simple
test pieces (with sterling, if you like) and fire them as you wish,
then experiment with them-- bend them, hammer them, test their
strength as you see fit. Then decide for yourself. ’

Noel


#3
I took a metal clay class this past weekend. Despite demonstrating
a lack of talent in the medium, I'm in the mood to experiment a bit
with it. It is no secret that I adore Argentium, and am now curious
if I can 'easily' combine the two for certain pieces? I've read a
few posts on depletion gilding sterling in order to get it to fuse
to metal clay, a nd wonder if the same could be true for Argentium 

I don’t know anything about the firing schedules of metal clay, but
Argentium sterling does NOT need to be depletion gilded in order for
it to fuse. It readily fuses with many of the metals we use, fine
silver for definite, but also regular sterling and gold. That’s one
of its selling points.

Presumably, you’d fire your metal clay piece/s first and then rather
than soldering to sterling, as is normally done, you’d just fuse it
to the Argentium.

Helen
UK


#4

Thanks for the replies - I suppose that it was a bit silly a
question in hindsight, forgetting I had fused Argentium to copper on
a couple of pieces in the past. And since metal clay is fine silver,
the two should get along just fine! I was soldering some Argentium
rings this past weekend on a slightly dirty soldering board, with
metal clay bits on the surface of the board, and noticed that the
metal clay joined the solder!

Thanks again,
Ros


#5

Thanks Noel - I’m now concerned about the efficacy of torch firing
metal clay! Brittle and weak pieces are not appealing to me! I think
that after firing joining makes sense and seems possible for many
applications, except bezels? In the class, we kiln fired all pieces
containing either fine silver sheet or a stone, but think that they
were fired for a shorter time at fusing temp (though they were in the
kiln for a long time). I made a couple of pieces that were ridiculous
thick (inexperience) and had trouble with adequately drying them, I
think. Mini volcano on one piece will being torched fired.

Ros