Granulation techniques are not limited to 22kt gold, although this tends
to be easier for a lot of people than fine silver, sterling silver or 18kt
gold, which are also great to use for granulation. Check out the work of
John Paul Miller (he does a demo in Untract’s “Jewelry Concepts and
Technology”), Kent Raible, John Cogswell (who has a chapter in McCreight’s
"Metals Technic") and Cornelia Goldsmith (on the cover of the latest issue
of “Ornament” magazine here in the USA.)
I have taken classes with Cecelia Bauer, who is a wonderful teacher, I
must add, and she encourages her students to make their own 22kt alloy for
fused chain links because it’s been difficult to find a supplier who can
get the alloy right in large batches for some strange reason. Commercially
available 22kt wire doesn’t fuse well, and you need as much strength in
your chain links as you can get to weave a chain well without annealing
constantly. Here’s the recipe for her 22kt gold, also available from
"Classical Loop in Loop Chains and Their Derivatives" by Jean Stark and
Josephine Smith. Jean Stark and Robert Kulicke were Cecelia’s teachers and
1 troy ounce (22 dwts) 24kt Au
33 grains (1.5 dwts) fine Ag
11 grains (0.5 dwts) pure Cu
The 24kt gold is available from banks that sell bullion or 24kt coins.
Melt the metal on a charcoal block with an ingot depression carved into
it. It is best to stack the metals in the following order from top to
Gold fine silver copper
Use a large torch tip to melt the metals into a round ball and stir
occasionally with a graphite rod or wooden chopstick to make sure the
metals are mixed well and to coax the molten metal into your ingot mold,
let cool to a soft glow and quench in a clean bowl of H2O until you hear a
deep rumbling fizz come out from the ingot, then you can be sure it’s cool
before handling it. You can forge, mill or draw it down into wire or sheet
You can also melt the alloy in a crucible, but the pyrotecnics are more
fun with charcoal and chopsticks.
As for hide glue, it’s a natural adhesive made from animal hooves, horns
and skin that is carbon based and when burned, it helps absorb oxygen and
helps to reduce oxidation. The chair glue you described is probably
synthetic, so I would ask around before using it.
As far as I know, your gas setup should be fine, in fact I’ve heard that
propane, albeit dangerous, burns cleaner than acetylene so it may actually
work better. Cleanliness is a factor in successful fusing/ granulation
that has caused me problems in the past because I’m a bit of a slob.
If you don’t want to make your own sheet, the best supplier for 22kt is
Hoover&Strong at (800)759-9997. Charcoal blocks and the books I mentioned
earlier are available from Allcraft (212) 840-1860 and Metalliferous (212)
944-0909 both in New York City.
Good luck and be patient, everything takes practice to perfect!