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Fusing Argentium Sterling


#1

Where can I find a phase diagram for Argentium Sterling?

Janet


#2

I will share a bit on how I fuse, though, I am sure there are things
I should do, but I prefer the trial and error method of doing things.
I had been fusing regularly for a couple years before I ever read
anything about it. After I read about it I thought… “hm… that’s
interesting, I haven’t been doing… fill in the blank… and it has
been working fine for me!” one of the reasons I fuse is that I like
the organic look and feel of metal. Things happen with heat and metal
that you can’t duplicate by hand with other tools. I also like the
integrity of not having solder mixed in. I could go on and on about
how I love fusing…

The torch I use is a smith acetylene/air and I use a variety of tip
heads, from the smallest 00 to the largest 4

Detailed Process - I started with (sterling) jump rings and charcoal
blocks. with the ends of jump rings together, circle the torch tip
around the ring. (This is where the trial and error comes in. I have
in internal feel now of how big the flame needs to be, so you simply
have to work that out on your own. lets say for an 18g sterling wire
jump ring, I would us the size 0 tip, the flame about half way to its
max and have the tip of the blue flame almost touching the metal.)

as you circle the ring with the torch it is important to keep the
flame with the metal until it fuses. if you lift the torch, the
oxidation has a chance to set in at your contact point. There is a
point with silver when it starts to turn glassy looking. It maintains
its shape, but the outside skin has started to melt. the next instant
is where it fuses, and you can see it happen where the two ends
touch, it becomes one continuous circle. After that point, I like to
hammer them, specifically sterling or fine. It work hardens them and
I like the look. Also, it gives you a chance to find out if the
fusing held. Sometimes the fuse is not very strong. Your eye will get
trained to be able to tell if it just looks fused or if it really is,
but the hammer is a sure way of breaking the seam apart if it wasn’t
good.

Flux - 99% of the time I do not use it. Why? I don’t like to. Should
you? probably, I read once I was supposed to, but I’ll tell you why I
don’t. First, the clean up issue. if I used flux, I’d have to clean
them all before being able to work with them again, I usually fuse
over 100 jump rings at a time, its a waste of time for me to flux and
clean them all, and I tend to want the oxidized color later.

But this is the major reason, it actually changes the amount of time
it takes to fuse. I’m sure someone with more technical expertise will
tell me that it slightly raises the melting temp of the silver or
something like that. Whatever the reason, it takes longer to fuse and
I just feel it doesn’t work as well, its more difficult for me to be
able to see what the metal is actually doing. With soldering, you
want the metal to Not move, you just want the solder to flow. With
fusing you are changing the metal, that is what you want to be
watching.

Fusing with Argentium…

much different, though not all good. When you fuse with sterling, it
can weaken it and fine obviously is really soft. so you have to be
careful of the applications. Arg. on the other hand gets harder when
you fuse with it. Also being less conductive, i could have a jump
ring at the top of a pendant and i can still fuse an Arg. jump ring
together. the heat does not conduct to the piece. perfectly fused
Arg. but not to the pendant. if you tried that with sterling, the
jump ring would fuse to the piece, break apart, ball up at one or
both ends, etc etc. But for many applications I still like fusing
with sterling better.

This may have been more than you wanted, but I could go on and on
about things I’ve learned, but I tried to keep it somewhat short. Let
me know if there is anything else you are interested in.

Beth


still under construction, but plenty of fused pieces on there!