But I don't understand why re-melting and re-forging is different
from just re-melting a tiny little section in the middle and
continuing to forge.
Welding the crack as you did allows the grain to grow enormously in
size. if this is fine silver, you might actually get away with it,
since other than grain size, you won't get differences in
composition. But what you may have to contend with would be some
residual weakness where the crack was, either from where it might not
have actually fully fused After all, you got the surface to flow, but
can you be sure it penetrated? You didn't, after all, melt the whole
edge and section of the bracelet to a puddle... If it DID fully
penetrate, and if it didn't form stress cracks or other problems from
shrinking again when it cooled, then you'd likely be OK. but the now
much coarser crystal structure won't be as strong. So go a bit more
gently in forging for the next couple courses. Once you've worked it
a bit, which compacts it again, and annealed in properly again, once
or twice, you should be just fine.
What really bothers me is that yesterday I spent hours filing
my anvil. Today I put 7 little round dents in it. I'm not going
to file it again until I am good enough not to miss the silver.
If you're anvil is soft enough to dent, then it's also soft enough
to planish. Just as you can move the metal in your silver to flow it
around, you can also planish out dings and dents in the iron. think
of the stuff as clay. Harder than your silver, but just as
malleable. Use a nice smooth flat planishing hammer, and gently
planish around the ding and along it's edge. For there to be a dent,
metal had to be displaced. That means it's still there, usually
raised up a bit from the original surface like the rim of a crater.
You can move it back with a bit of practice. now, it won't likely be
a perfect job, but you sure can fix most of such dings, then needing
just a bit of touch up with some emery, not the major work with a
file. This is even easier on a curved stake, but you can do a
decent job with flat ones too.
I happened to be sitting in this morning, for the beginning of one
of Charles Lewton-Brain's fold forming workshops after the SNAG
conference, at the Revere Academy, and he happened to be touching on
just this subject. And proceeded to demonstrate quite nicely, how to
planish out a ding in a stake or anvil. It was enough of a dent to
put an objectionable mark in ones work, and it took him less than a
minute to planish it quite smooth again, to the point where a few
moments with, say, 400 paper would have removed all evidence of the
ding. Or one could have just used the surface as it was. One
could tell it had been planished, but it no longer left any mark on
Oh, by the way, I am using charcoal blocks for annealing, sort
of. Actually they are sections of 2 x 4 lumber. But the tops turn
to charcoal right quick! Is there anything wrong with this?
You smoke up your shop pretty quick as the wood burns. And as it
heats, it can exude various resins, which can catch fire, or deposit
on your work (more a mess than anything else)
But other than that, I can't think of anything really wrong. It
won't hurt your metal. But what's wrong with a nice fireproof fire
brick? then you wont' burn your studio down... You DID say this is
fine silver, right? So oxidation isn't an issue, and you don't need
the reducing environment of a charcoal block...