I’ve never soldered nor fused. I have been working with Argentium and sterling wire for cuff bracelets and other things. I wanted to learn mounting gems and cabochons so I planned to see if I could mount one on rectangular silver wire (think 5-8mm wide rectangular wire cuff bracelet with a stone on top).
There isn’t rectangular Argentium wire yet (or at least from Rio) so I needed to use sterling. But Argentium bezel cups are available. I’ve read that Argentium readily fused to other metals and alloys like sterling so I decided to try to fuse the Argentium bezel cup to the sterling wire.
I used Rio’s My-T-Flux (good to 1700), although right off the bat, silver obviously isn’t absorbent and the flux seemed to just pool and bead on the silver. Is that how it is supposed to be? It does not seem to give a “nice thick coating”. I both dipped it and used a q-tip to try to spread the flux around. What is the proper technique for flux?
I used a good butane torch. The fusing took longer than videos I’ve seen. I think I did not do a good job of concentrating the heat on the tiny 5mm bezel cup and ended up heating the entire piece too much. I fire-scaled the living hell out of the wire, it was even black underneath. I managed to sand it all out, but had to remove a lot of material as the fire scale went MUCH deeper than I would have thought.
It sounds like there is no way to 100% prevent fire scale on sterling but that it can be minimized. Any advice on that end, in particular when heating to fusing temperatures? I know my torching technique has to improve, what else I can do?