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Gold granulation on silver


#1

I’m trying to find instructions on how to do gold granulation on
silver. Do you have the or know of a source (article,
book, etc.) where I might find what I need to do the technique?

Thank you.


#2

Ellen, I do 18k gold granulation on sterling using spit as the flux/
glue. (Sounds gross, I know, but it works!) My method is based on a
granulation technique I originally learned from John Cogswell. Saliva
works as a flux up to around 800 degrees F. Beyond that temperature,
the torch will keep the piece “clean.”

The key is to get zinc free gold. David H. Fell & Co. sells an alloy
called, “18K Yellow Gold Standard” that works very well. Sterling is
much easier to control than fine silver. The process is actually a
diffusion bond rather than a fusion bond. The copper in both metals
reaches its melting temperature first and joins the spheres or wires
to the base sheet.

Heat the piece up slowly, concentrating the heat on the silver base.
The base piece will begin to “mirror” and flow just like solder to
connect the granules to it and to each other.

I don’t work with argentium, but I believe the process is the same.
Not sure about the spit. :wink: Also, I use an air/acetylene torch (no
kiln).

Here’s a link to a ring done with this technique:
http://www.victorialansford.com/dragonmist.html

Sorry I don’t know of a book that teaches this. I use this same
process to demonstrate making gold/sterling bi-metal in my Rings
DVD.

Best wishes,
Victoria
Victoria Lansford
http://www.victorialansford.com


#3

Hi Ellen,

I suggest that you granulate on Argentium Silver. It is the easiest
silver to granulate. Buy Ronda Coryell’s new DVD about granulating on
Argentium Sterling. I think you’ll be able to use a similar
technique, using 18K or higher karat gold. Ronda will probably have
some more tips, of course, but this would get you started.

http://tinyurl.com/86ty2a

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#4
The process is actually a diffusion bond rather than a fusion bond.
The copper in both metals reaches its melting temperature first and
joins the spheres or wires to the base sheet 

From your description below it is definitely not a diffusion bond
but rather it is a fusion bond.

Heat the piece up slowly, concentrating the heat on the silver
base. The base piece will begin to "mirror" and flow just like
solder to connect the granules to it and to each other.

Sterling has a very wide temperature range between solidus and
liquidus and you can easily heat it to the point it goes shiny or
"mirrors" or flashes depending on who is describing it without the
object loosing its shape and completely melting. This “mirror” that
you refer to is some of the alloy reaching liquidus. Joining with
liquid present is fusion. To achieve a diffusion bond you would need
to keep the metal below 1435F and below this temp there will be no
liquid present hence no “mirror”

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#5

I use 18k to 22k gold granules to fuse to Argentium silver, mainly so
the gold color doesn’t get lost in contrast to the silver.

Place the granules with organic glue (e.g., Klyre Fire) and a small
amount of liquid flux (Rio’s My T Flux).

In a darkened room, torch heat the silver up to a glassy surface
just one time to set the gold granules in place. Stop and air cool.

Paint white out on the gold granules to prevent the Argentium silver
from coating over the gold in subsequent heating.

Reheat the silver to a glassy surface one to two more times to
complete the bond. Watch the gold granules to prevent overheating
them.

Air cool. Remove the white out with a solvent.

Hope this helps.
Nancy
www.psi-design.com


#6

Hi Ellen,

I have found that using the eutectic soldering method with cupric
carbonate works pretty well. If you are not familiar with the
technique, I believe it has been written about in the archives. If
not, let me know and I can go into more detail for you.
(Incidentally, I have only tried this with 18K gold and sterling
silver. I’ve never tried it with 22K).

Erich C. Shoemaker


#7

Ellen,

I'm trying to find instructions on how to do gold granulation on
silver. Do you have the or know of a source (article,
book, etc.) where I might find what I need to do the technique? 

I teach the Granulation classes at Revere Academy in San Francisco.
The main body of my work now involves gold on Argentium. Fine silver
has many limitations when combined with gold. Argentium is the most
amazing metal I have ever tried!! High karat gold fuses onto
Argentium beautifully. The base sheet can be thick or thin. The class
I teach the last weekend of February at Revere Academy still has one
spot left. Students may bring their own gold to use after they have
gotten the basics of working with Argentium. Volume 4 of my series on
Argentium goes into adding 22k gold.


#8

Gosh, Jim, I wasn’t aware that you do granulation work too. Do you
have photos you could link?

In The Complete Metalsmith, Tim McCreight describes the heating
process the same as I do and also refers to it as a “diffusion” bond.
McCreight’s description can be found online here.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1929565054/theganoksinpr-20

Best,
Victoria

P.S. If you didn’t always rewrite or challenge my technical
descriptions, I’d think you didn’t like me anymore. :wink:

Victoria Lansford
http://www.victorialansford.com


#9

Ellen.

I was facinated also of the Granulation Process seven years ago. I
believed MR. John Paul Miller is the pioneer in America and
Elizabeth Treskow in Germany. Giovanni Corvaja Have the Complete
Granulation Process. He is Master Goldsmith and a very nice guy. You
need cooper oxide powder. gum arabic or liquid hide glue and
distilled water to glue the 18k or 22k yellow gold granules to the AS
base metal. Used bushy feathery flame Propane Oxygen Torch.
Experiment it, it will fuse almost to the melting point of the piece,
be very careful. Hope this help, call me or e-mail MR Corvaja. He
thought I’m Italiano i said I’m Ameripino :slight_smile:

Renato L. Ronquillo
www.renatojewelers.com


#10
I have found that using the eutectic soldering method with cupric
carbonate works pretty well. 

Erich: Could you send me the eutectic soldering method that you
wrote about on Orchid.

thanks


#11

I’m also a big fan of John Paul Miller and his work. He lives here
in Ohio just outside of Columbus. You can find a lot about his life
and granulation process by googling his name and following the links
to an interview transcripted and posted on the internet.

Jeni


#12
If you didn't always rewrite or challenge my technical
descriptions, I'd think you didn't like me anymore. ;-) 

Victoria, I am sorry if you feel like I am picking on you, that is
certainly not my intent. I am a fan of your work and am impressed by
the quality of production and instruction in your filigree DVD which
I purchased. One of the reasons I am taking the time to respond to
your post is that you are a teacher and it is important for teachers
to provide correct to their students. As for your
questions and their implied concern of my qualification to comment
on granulation :wink: I began experimenting with it over 20 years ago
and have since studied gold on gold granulation in a class with Kent
Rabile and also had instruction from Doug Harling in silver on
silver granulation. While neither technique is a part of my main work
I have on occasion used both of them but I do not have the patience
for the placing of all those little balls and the like, it drives me
nuts. But whether or not I am a master at granulation ( which I
certainly am not ) has no bearing on the use and misuse of terms
referring to it.

Here is the definition of diffusion bonding from “The Metals
Handbook: Volume 6, Welding, Brazing, and Soldering”. The Metals
Handbook is a massive 21 volume constantly updated materials
engineering encyclopedia. You can find it at any college library
that has a materials or engineering department. Or you can subscribe
to the online version but that is pricy.

"DIFFUSION BONDING is only one of many solid-state joining
processes wherein joining is accomplished without the need for a
liquid interface (brazing) or the creation of a cast product via
melting and resolidification (welding). In its most narrow
definition, which is used to differentiate it from other joining
processes such as deformation bonding or transient liquid phase
joining, diffusion bonding (DB) is a process that produces
solid-state coalescence between two materials under the following
conditions: 

* Joining occurs at a temperature below the melting point, Tm,
of the materials to be joined (usually >1/2Tm ). 

* Coalescence of contacting surfaces is produced with loads
below those that would cause macroscopic deformation to the part. 


* A bonding aid can be used, such as an interface foil or
coating, to either facilitate bonding or prevent the creation of
brittle phases between dissimilar materials, but the material
should not produce a low-temperature liquid eutectic upon
reaction with the materials to be joined." 

Granulation with any of the usual alloys (18k and 22k gold, sterling,
fine and Argentium silver) fails to meet the definition in two areas.
First it takes place at temperatures above the solidus or melting
point of one or more the alloys involved. Before anyone has a
conniption fit lets make sure we understand the definition of melting
point. Unlike pure metals all alloys with the exception of a true
eutectic alloy (such as 71.9% silver 28.1% copper) have a melting
range defined by the melting point (a confusing use of this term) or
solidus at the lower end, this is where some portions of the alloy
crystal matrix begin to become liquid and at the upper end, the flow
point or liquidus temperature where there is no longer any solid
material present. The wider the melting range the easier it is to
fuse or granulate as you have less likelihood of melting the whole
structure. When you see a shiny surface or flash when you are
granulating you have exceeded the solidus point. Second, the presence
of copper and silver in granulation processes which incorporate an
addition of copper in the form of a copper compound in the glue used
to place the granules or by flash plating the granules with copper
will briefly produce the copper silver eutectic which is the bonding
mechanism in those types of granulation process. Given these two
properties granulation is either a very specialized form of brazing
or if you are adding copper it is transient liquid phase bonding.

Regards,

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13

Here’s a quick run down on the eutectic soldering method that I use
for granulation. If you would like a more a more
comprehensive description of the granulation process can be found
here:

It is all quite simple to be honest (just time consuming).

  1. Make a solution of flux, hide glue, and water. The ratios I use
    aRe: 2 drops of flux, 1 drop of glue, and 10 drops of water.

  2. Apply the granules to the surface of your piece using a paint
    brush and the above solution and allow to dry.

  3. Mix part of the solution with cupric carbonate (essentially just
    powdered malachite), available from just about any chemical supply
    store, until it is a thin, soupy mixture. If it is too thick, it
    won’t get between the granules very well and, even if it does, will
    most likely flood them. You’ll have to experiment with it a bit, but
    it is easier to use too little and have poor bond that can be redone
    than to use too much and ruin the look of your piece.

  4. Paint the copper-bearing solution onto the granules and allow to
    dry. (If they are still wet when you try to heat it, they will be
    moved about by the water in the solution boiling off)

  5. Slowly heat the piece until the cupric carbonate “burns off” and
    the piece flashes over (or becomes mirror-like). This will happen
    near the granules first as this is where the copper is at. There
    really isn’t any need to heat the entire piece up hot enough to flash
    the entire piece… just the granules. Incidentally, I use a blow pipe
    for the technique and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have a
    standard propane/oxygen torch as well, but for some reason, I have
    not had much success granulating with it.

  6. Quench, pickle, rinse, etc. (all the usual stuff at this point)
    and you are ready to move on to whatever you’d like to do with it.

Anyhow, that is it in a nutshell. It is the method I learned from
Kent Raible and seems to work pretty well on virtually any
combination of metals that I’ve tried. Naturally, there are many
other ways to granulate and even other chemicals that can be used
other than cupric carbonate (there is a list of some others in the
link), but that is what I use and it has worked out pretty well so
far. I hope that helps for those of you that inquired about it. If
you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

Erich C. Shoemaker
Erich Christopher Designs, LLC
http://www.erichcdesigns.com


#14

Jim, thank you so much for the compliments of my work and
publications. You’re really fortunate to have studied granulation
with Kent Raible. His one-of-a-kind work is exquisite!

I’m wondering if the definition you quoted from “The Metals
Handbook: Volume 6, Welding, Brazing, and Soldering” should be cross
referenced just to double check. That’s what I did in an attempt to
verify what I had posted (and included a link to the chapter on
granulation from "The Complete Metalsmith). Have you contacted Tim
McCreight about his description?

It would be great if were consistent, but as in so many
fields that encompass both art and science, there is often a
disconnect between the theory side and the practical use side. (This
is also often true in the areas of art processes and art history.)
Terms that are regarded as absolute in science can easily become
creatively used in the descriptions of processes.

John Cogswell has great words of wisdom in his chapter, Sterling
Granulation, from the compilation book, Metals Technic: “No amount of
reading will substitute for the observation and judgement that you
will gain by experimenting with the process.”

Best,
Victoria
Victoria Lansford
http://www.victorialansford.com


#15
Jim, thank you so much for the compliments of my work and
publications. You're really fortunate to have studied granulation
with Kent Raible. His one-of-a-kind work is exquisite! 

Yes he does awesome work and I learned a lot from the class.

I'm wondering if the definition you quoted from "The Metals
Handbook: Volume 6, Welding, Brazing, and Soldering" should be
cross referenced just to double check. That's what I did in an
attempt to verify what I had posted (and included a link to the
chapter on granulation from "The Complete Metalsmith). Have you
contacted Tim McCreight about his description? 

If you are interested I can send you several articles from the
engineering/metallurgical perspective on diffusion bonding that are
in line with this description. Also the way the metals handbook is
compiled is that experts in each particular area write the chapters
with an overall editorial board who review the the work for
accuracy. It is not unheard of for there to be errors but it is more
often typos than content. As for Tim’s use of the term, I will bring
it up the next time we talk. Also he and or his staff monitor Orchid
so he is likely aware of this conversation. But I don’t think the use
(misuse) of the term originated with Tim I think it goes further back
than his writings.

It would be great if were consistent, but as in so
many fields that encompass both art and science, there is often a
disconnect between the theory side and the practical use side.
(This is also often true in the areas of art processes and art
history.) Terms that are regarded as absolute in science can easily
become creatively used in the descriptions of processes. 

Too true and because there is not a strong peer review process for
technical content and usage in arts publications many of these kind
of errors creep into the vocabulary.

John Cogswell has great words of wisdom in his chapter, Sterling
Granulation, from the compilation book, Metals Technic: "No amount
of reading will substitute for the observation and judgement that
you will gain by experimenting with the process." 

Yes he is right, but sometimes to truly understand what you are
seeing you need to do the reading too :slight_smile:

Regards,

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#16

Robin; It’s been a long time since I took a granulation workshop and
don’t really use the technique but I seem to remember we used saliva
i.e. spit. I think I’ve read that in ancient times powdered
chrysocolla was used that might be a posibillity if you live in the
southwest.

Dave Owen