Hopefully some knowledgeable Orchidian will take the stage and
wax poetic on the subject.
OK, I’ll bite, though I don’t promise poetry…
Jump rings can be fused instead of soldered, with a lot of practice.
The torch is swept actross the (tightly fitted) joint as though it
were a paint brush. As the metal begins to melt on its surface, the
stroking motion of the flame draws the liquid silver into the joint.
A little too much heat, of course, and you have to start over.
Likewise, layers can be fused onto each other. The flatter they lie
on each other, the easier it is to do. Once you master the
technique, it is generally possible to fuse without much, if any,
distortion of the pieces. On the other hand, the reticulated texture
(and other textures) that may be generated by fusing can be very
In my experience, the process can be done with pretty much any
torch, but is much easier with oxy-feul than with a feul-air torch.
The Meco midgett works very well. You want a fairly soft, bushy
flame for flat fusing, and you try to heat as evenly as possible,
focussing on your backing rather than your top pieces. You want to
heat until the back sheet begins to “sweat” and look shiny, then
brush toward the top piece(s) so that the surface metal runs along
the edges like solder. When it is going well, the surface will look
"saturated", like it is wet. Which it is-- with melted silver.
Relatively thin sheet, such as 28g, works very well, but you should
be able to fuse any thickness onto it. You can tell when it is done
right by looking at the back-- you should see an outline of every
bit of metal you put on top. Heat only from the front, though, if
you don’t want your piece to become brittle.
A natural-- not compressed-- charcoal block will make the job a
whole lot easier.
Now, here’s the part you may not believe: you don’t need flux. And
you don’t need to pickle until you’re all finished, even if you add
multiple layers. I swear, it’s true. But if you’re working with a
Smith or other air torch, you may find that it helps to copper-plate
your silver first with used pickle and binding wire.
You can fuse gold onto silver the same way, though it is much
harder, because a little too much heat, and the two will alloy, or
the silver will run over the gold and cover it. Use high karat gold
only, even 24k for the best results.
If you don’t like a sheet you made, run it through the rolling mill
a couple times, cut it up, and fuse it onto another sheet. This
makes great textured raw material!
It really helps to see someone do this, but maybe this will help.