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Fabricating gold filled wire


#1

After several fruitless months searching and contacting every
manufacturer of gold findings and wire that I could find, I’m now
forced to assume that noone makes green gold filled wire. So now I’m
toying with the idea of tryingto fabricate some myself.

I have not been able to find many detailed sources of info as to how
filled wire is made. Has anyone here every made their own filled
wire? Or does anyone have any books or articles that provide good
details on how it’s formed?

From the the little sources I’ve found, filled wire is made from a
thin wall tube that then has a silver or base metal wire inserted
into it and they are bonded together. Do they use solder to
accomplish that or is it simply done by heat fusing? My initial idea
is to take a small brass round wire/rod and coat it in solder paste
and the wrap a thin sheet of gold around it, and pop it in the
furnace to solder the two together. If I do it right there will
still be a seam, but I’m not chuffed about that. Then I can
roll/draw out the rod into whatever thickness wire I desire. I may be
crazy, but it just might be crazy enough to work.

Erik Savoie


#2

Erik, Hopefully this will help. Don’t use a hard metal as your core,
some of the softer gold imitators will work like Merlin’s Gold, etc.
Make the gold tubing first, thicker and larger diameter than you
want to end up with in the final product. Then after you make the
tubing insert the just slightly smaller core and slowly draw it down
into the final size you need.

The tube will basically make a mechanical connection that you can
later run solder into if needed. Take care and really watch your
temps if you need to anneal the tubing core combo, I would use hard
solder on the tubing, you might want to make your own solder for
green gold. If you need seamless you could try casting the green gold
into a tube then use that, or if you have access to a laser welder
use that with some of your green gold alloy to weld the seam. If you
end up using a seamless tubing you can diffusion bond the resulting
green gold filled wire so you would not need solder and wouldn’t need
to worry about delaminations. Also figure your gold to fill ratio so
you end up with a decent thickness of green gold in the end.

Happy goldsmithing!!


#3

You want to use fine silver as your inner wire. Green gold is so soft
that anything harder will cause the green gold to become very thin
as you draw it down. Use a piece of seamless tubing as your starting
point. Soldered tubing will be a pain throughout the process.

James McMurray’s suggestions in regards to drawing a larger tube of
green gold down onto the core are good. I would not bother to solder
it. Just draw it down quite tight on the wire core and place it in
granulated charcoal and heat to around 1150-1200F in a kiln for a
couple of hours. That will give you a basic diffusion bond that you
can improve on by further cold reduction.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#4

I always fuse my tubing seams rather than solder. No laser welder
needed.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#5

I did not see the original post about what size wire was needed, but
here is my opinion (if you need 18ga or smaller). Why not just buy
14k green gold wire. You are going to tell me it cost too much, well
what is your time worth, I propose that you will not save much money
in the long run making gold filled vs buying or rolling your own 14k
wire. There is a second part of this also. Your finished piece will
be nicer so you can sell it for more money which will pay for the
gold. When you work with your hands, time is money.

Bill Wismar
metalbendersgallery.com


#6

Im somewhat late to this party, James Binnion’s advice is the best so
far.

however ive given it some thought and your question requires a wider
look.

how you go about making this double’ material depends as much on
economics as on a technical approach.

On one hand, if all you need is say 12in of this, then its not
economic to make, ie use solid green gold. however, if you are
planning a production run of the product, that needs yards of this
wire, then there are a no of ways to make it.

Also it depends on the product design.

you can get away with cladding the core with strip if the sections
are relatively straight.

If theres lots of bending and small curves then seamless tube will
take this deformation.

Interesting question in any case.

More on cladding another time.


#7

To all who submitted some help, thank you. My plan is to use a fine
silver core, and diffusion weld the two together(might add a little
solder to help make a strong bond. I just need to work out the
dimensions of the core and gold layer.

The reason why I don’t just use 14k solid gold is cost, and its not
close ofa comparison in money. A pennyweight of 14k is gonna cost me
$750, when I can make the same equivalent weight in gold filled for
1/20th the cost, depending on how think I make the gold layer. Even
with time and effort I still wouldn’t come anywhere close to 25% of
what solid gold would cost. As for thevalue of my time, I really am
just doing most of this work for fun, I sell/make a few pieces from
time to time but this is mainly just a hobby for me because I love
the challenge.

Erik Savoie


#8
To all who submitted some help, thank you. My plan is to use a
fine silver core, and diffusion weld the two together(might add a
little solder to help make a strong bond. I just need to work out
the dimensions of the core and gold layer. 

When making clad metals it’s important that the two metals be of the
same or very similar working characteristics, i. e., malleability
and work hardening, so that when the piece is rolled or drawn the two
metals will be reduced in similar proportion.

14K is much less malleable than fine silver and work hardens much
faster. As you draw down the wire the silver will compress much more
than the 14K. I’d bet that instead of ending up with 14K GF wire,
you’d wind up with a 14K thick-walled tube with a tiny core of
silver, most of the silver having been squeezed out the end of the
tube while drawing.

Elliot Nesterman