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[Enamel Bits] Question on recovering silver


#1

Enamelers out in Orchid Land: I’ve managed to really louse up
on a current project. It is a cloisonne piece done on fine
silver. How do I get the glass & wire off the metal so I can
either use the silver again or add it to the scrap pile for
later? Earlier on in life I have tried to “recover” some loused
up copper pieces. Mainly didn’t try real hard as copper usually
isn’t worth the time. What I have done thus far is reheat to
cherry red & quench in cold water. Very nice crackle look (like
on pottery), but the glass isn’t coming off! Might be a
technique/finish to use in some other project if I could
stabilize the glass afterwards. I tried stoning & diamond files
& have removed some of the color layers. What I am trying to
avoid is eutetically melting the silver wire to the underlying
metal, while still removing the glass & metal wire. The wires
were not soldered into position (it is a small piece-about 1&
1/2" in diameter). Impossible mission? Thanks in advance for
any help you can provide.

Eileen Schneegas
Middlesex, England
Snow Goose Designs, Metal & Enamel Art
@D_A_Schneegas


#2

hammer the enamel into dust, then heat the base enogh to flow
the solder on the wires if thats the way you did it. If your let
the enamel hold your wires than thats not a
problem…Ringman John


#3

– get Whink , in hardware store. It is sold for rust removal,
but contains hydrofluoric acid, and will remove the glass when
you soak the piece in it.

	==Pisces
	@mbm

#4

I haven’t done a lot of enameling but have you considered the
hammer treatment? Deforming should cause the enamel to pop off.
If not you haven’t lost anything. Also depending on your
personality type you may relieve some tension or become a menace
to society.

Steve


#5

I used to do enameling (mostly copper, some silver) and
cloisonne. About the only thing we could find to do in a case
like this is go to work on it with the rounded end of a ball peen
hammer or something of this sort. This will break up the enamel;
just keep pounding until it’s all gone. (You can also do this
with the cloisonne wire.) Then try to think up a project to do
with this now “textured” piece of silver. If you’re using
transparent enamels, the texyturing might add an interesting
effect underneath. Or just add it to
the scrap pile.


#6

Unfortunately, the best way to recover your metals in their
original forms is to etch the glass off with hydroflouric acid or
other types of glass etchant(the less dangerous etchants take
longer and don’t work as well.) I usually try to “shock” as much
glass off with the heat/quenching technique you described, but it
usually doesnt get everything off no matter how many times you
repeat it. I know everybody’s going to start screaming about the
dangers of hydrofluoric acid and its insidious nature, but I
still use it sparingly because it is the most effective way to
eat the glass and reclaim my metals. I was wondering if the
casting investment removal product mentioned by Elaine at
Gesswein may be a safer alternative to hydrofluoric acid for
etching glass. Does anyone else know of a safer alternative to
my method? Juliet Gamarci @julietg1


#7
   How do I get the glass & wire off the metal so I can either
use the silver again or add it to the scrap pile for later?
What I am trying to avoid is eutetically melting the silver
wire to the underlying metal, while still removing the glass &
metal wire. The wires were not soldered into position (it is a
small piece-about 1& 1/2" in diameter). 

Eileen,

I believe you are right it might not be worth the effort. I
sometimes take a tweezers and work the wires off the piece by
moving the wires back and forth which breaks up the enamel in
order to get the silver wires off. I have also used a hammer and
pounded the heck out of the piece, don’t forget to use a safety
face shield, to break up the enamel. I have also taken the
piece and worked it in my hands, again protected, bending the
metal back and forth to break up the enamel, thus releasing the
wires. Since you are working with fine silver you might try
hammering the piece and get as much enamel off as possible then
melt the silver or metal with wires intact on a charcoal block,
the enamel acts as a flux, cool, pickle and then recycle or roll
out the metal, assuming you have a rolling mill. Personally, I
put the enameled piece in my scrap pile and send it with the
rest of my scraps.

My twenty two cents worth…inflation!

Good Luck!

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
http://www.jps.net/lcrawford
@Linda_Crawford

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who
looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung


#8

Try breaking the glass with a hammer (between two sheets of
disposible material).


#9

Eileen, I am really new at this but was reading a jewelry and
enameling book written in the 1940’s from the library that had a
question at the end of one of the chapters that asked “how can
fired enamel be removed from the surface of the metal? Hold the
enamel piece in cold water and tap the obverse side with a steel
hammer. Place in hydrofluoric acid.” You probably already know
about hydrofluoric acid and maybe didn’t want to use it and are
looking for another way, and I really do not know what
hydrofluoric acid does to silver. I’ll be interested to hear
other responses. Miki


#10

Hydrofluoric acid is such bad stuff I (a chemist) would not
under any circumstances use it for anything whatsoever
Margaret!


#11

I was fortunate enough to go to the MJSA show on Monday and
"silica z" was recommended by Sandy Quevedo at Eisinger. I will
call them up next week to order some for testing. Elaine at
Gesswein kindly offered some of their product for me to try so as
soon as I get some results from testing it, I will post it on
Orchid under (Enamel Bits)

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Wish me luck!

Juliet Gamarci
@julietg1