I am hammering a bangle out of a section I cut from a 10oz silver
bar. I did this before several days ago, but have since learned I
was holding and swinging the hammer incorrectly. My hammer blows
are more effective now and the silver moves much more. The thin
edges of my little bar were very rough due to my crude methods of
cutting the 10oz bar into strips. ( I gave up on the jewelers saw
and switched to more aggressive cutting tools) This rough edge
didn’t cause any problems in the first bangle, due to my wimpy
forging and frequent annealing, and I think it looks good in the
finished bangle. Anyway, now I am using the hammer better and the
rough edge turns out to be not such a good idea. A very small crack
developed on the edge in the center of my unfinished second bangle.
I am aware that a hole can be drilled in front of the crack to stop
it, and the crack is on the edge near the center of the bar, so I
could cut it into two and make two thinner bangles. Of course I did
neither, I heated it up to red and brushed the torch at the crack
until it turned shiny and wasn’t a crack anymore. I have been reading
the archives, and suspect that I have damaged the grain structure of
the silver. The work is not at the end of it’s plastic working,
that is I want to hammer longer. To anneal I am using a magic
marker and trying to watch the flame color coming off the metal and
quenching. But I know that some Orchid people are heating to cherry
red and quenching to anneal. What I have done with regard to the
crack isn’t far from what they do to anneal. I forged it a bit more
and there seems to be no harm, but, it’s not like I can actually see
what is happening to the grain structure.
My options seem to be: Continue on, pretend the crack is all better
now. ( I suspect this would work, but is it the “correct” thing to
do?) Cut the work at the crack and forge both pieces in the direction
away from the crack, but I have overheated the metal already. Melt it
all into a shiny line of silver and start again. 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
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.
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?