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Fusing cloisonné wire

I love making cloisonné but do not like the look when the cloison opens. I have made closed cloisons using thin slices of fine silver tubing. Is there another way to create closed cloisons? Is there a way to fuse thin cloisonné wire (either gold or silver) prior to enameling?

Thanks for the challenge.
It worked. I just tried it. I used standard fine silver cloisonne wire. I used my really good Lindstrom flush cutters to make sure I had flush cuts. I then made a small circle, made darn sure the ends touched. I did that by squeezing my small half round pliers over the seam. I put it on a honey comb soldering board added a tiny amount of paste flux and used a small but not too hot torch tip and flame. I do have to say that I had to use my #10 optivisor to do it. The flame was small but just big enough to heat the little circle all at once. I did not concentrate the flame on the seam. My sweetie Timothy Green and I have a saying…“If at first you succeed, try hard to hide your astonishment.” It took me two tries and worked . Much to my astonishment:-) Jo

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Thank you Jo!

Yes, you can fuse fine silver or 22K gold. It’s tricky with cloisonne wire because it’s so thin, you risk melting the whole thing if the flame is too hot on the seam, or if the join isn’t tight, causing the metal to pull away from the seam. You might want to start with thicker round or square wire and roll it down if you like the look of thicker cloisons. I usually fuse on an ultralite beehive kiln so the metal gets evenly heated before focusing the flame on the seam, continually moving the flame in a circular motion. If it looks like the seam is opening, use your tweezers to gently squeeze it closed again. Use a soft, brushy flame with magnification (optivisor, etc) so you can detect the subtle changes in the metal. Gold will give you a tiny flash when it fuses, but you kind of have to guess with fine silver. If you’re not sure if it’s fused or not, take it off the kiln and test it on a bezel mandrel. If the seam isn’t closed, do it again, making sure you have a good butt joint by holding it up to the light. Flattening it with thin pliers where the seam is helps–you can round it out after it’s fused. It takes practice to get the flame and the timing just right. In the beginning you will make a lot of balled-up metal bits until you get the hang of it, but the good thing about high karat gold and file silver is that they can easily be reused.

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Those are great tips, thank you!