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Enameling on argentium


#1

Has anyone had luck enameling on Argentium? Inquiring minds want to
know.

Claudia


#2

The guy that invented Argentium says it’s a no go - can’t do it. He
also said he was planning on working on an alloy thast would enamel
and still have other properties so loved in Argentium.


#3

Hi,

I’ve been enameling on Argentium Sterling for the past few months
with Thompson unleaded enamels. I hope to put a couple of images on
my blog soon. I’ve had no problem with opaques. With transparents, I
am finding that it works very much like traditional sterling silver.
It seems best to deplete the surface first, but it takes far fewer
repetitions of heating and pickling to deplete AS than traditional
SS.

I have been pleasantly surprised at how high a temperature the AS
can take in the kiln. Recently, I fired two flat earrings at 1500
degrees F.

As with traditional sterling silver, it is important to use a clear
flux under reds and warm colors. It is less important with blues. I
am working on a pair of blue plique a jour earrings, and the color at
the edges looks great! This is particularly surprising, since I
rushed, and forgot to deplete the silver prior to the first
application of enamel.

I took an advanced enameling class at Metalwerx with Troy Hines at
Metalwerx, this spring, and am pleased that she has also been
experimenting with enameling on AS with good results.

I have been avoiding using a brass brush on the AS when preparing to
enamel, as one person reported problems from that. I’ve been using
pickle and pumice and/or baking soda and/or glass brush to prepare
the surface.

Cynthia Eid
cynthiaeid.com


#4

Good Morning Cynthia…

I have never tried Argentium, thanks for the tip… I presently have
an Ultra lite kiln and am in the market for a larger one that can
hold the temp… Do you have any recommendations… Where did you
take your plique a jour class and who would you recommend in giving
the class?

Many thanks,
Lesley


#5

Hi Lesley,

I presently have an Ultra lite kiln and am in the market for a
larger one that can hold the temp... Do you have any
recommendations.... Where did you take your plique a jour class and
who would you recommend in giving the class? 

I am not an expert in enameling, by any means—and I am looking for
a kiln, myself. So, I’d appreciate it if the enameling experts would
chime in with kiln advice. And, there are a few enameling experts,
such as Jennifer Friedman, who also have experience with enameling
on AS, so perhaps they will add their thoughts. Two brands that I
have experienced being good at maintaining temp are Vulcan and
Vcella, so I have been watching for a good used one of those. I have
no experience with an ultra lite for enameling. the enameling class
that I took was at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA–taught by Troy Hines. It
is an intermediate/advanced class that included plique a jour.

Cynthia Eid
cynthiaeid.com


#6

I have a 30 year old Vcella which I use for enameling, and it is a
workhorse. It is so well insulated that after hours of enameling, the
outside is still cool to the touch. It maintains its heat
beautifully, barely dropping a few degrees when the door is opened,
and recoups almost immediately. It is expensive, but certainly well
worth the money. I am careful to keep the floor well coated with
kiln wash, and use a kiln shelf, also coated with kiln wash.

Another feature I like is that the door is so well hung, that after
all these years, it has not sagged a bit, and even better, the handle
stays cool

Alma


#7

I have two kilns for enameling, a Vcella and a smaller Paragon. They
are excellent and I can recommend both. When I ordered the Paragon I
got the option of a door with a window and I absolutely love it.
Although it’s good to get a feel for enameling/timing/etc. based on
experience, there are times when it’s critical not to overfire, to
remove the piece as soon as it glosses over or it will be ruined.
It’s been my experience that certain ‘finicky’ colors, china paints,
lusters, etc. should be removed from the kiln as soon as they gloss
over. Being able to see that point without having to constantly open
the door and lose heat saves time and has saved some pieces that
otherwise I might have overfired. My other recommendations would be
to get a kiln made of brick, not a fiber interior. I think they hold
the heat more evenly. Get one with a digital controller. And make
sure the chamber will be large enough for pieces you anticipate doing
both now and in the future. Make sure you wear the proper eye
protection when you look into the chamber–even through the window.

Hope that helps.
Happy enamelling!

Mary