I am currently taking a class taught by Kirsten Rook at the
Maryland Institute, College of Art Jewelry Center in Baltimore,
Maryland. One of the techniques we learned was to do
The preferred technique is to fuse fine silver granules onto
fine silver sheet, but you can also fuse fine silver granules
onto sterling sheet if you "raise the fine silver" with repeated
heatings and picklings of the sterling sheet, kind of a
depletion "gilding" of sterling.
We also learned two different ways to fuse the granules to the
sheet. One was to plate the fine silver granules with copper,
using some spent pickle in a small cup, steel to stir them
around and a very small piece of copper in the mix. We stirred
them, occassionally scratching the copper with the steel "mixer"
until the granules had a rosy appearance. We then neutralized
the acid and dried off the granules. These granules were placed
on the sterling or fine sheet with a mixture of hide glue and
water and then fused.
The second way was to apply the unplated fine granules to the
sheet with the hide glue mixture, but then to feed in a solution
of Cu(OH)2 powder mixed with the hide glue/water mixture, which
was allowed to dry for a few minutes and then fused.
I preferred the plated granules onto the fine silver, but the
plated granules onto the sterling worked fine. It just took a
little longer and it was important to raise the fine silver
adequately before attempting to fuse. It was hard to feed the
copper solution into the spaces between the granules and not get
it all over the piece, so I really didn't use that technique too
We also made the fine granules by snipping fine wire with
solder- cutting pliers to assure uniformity. We dapped small
holes into a charcoal block. I used a very small dapping tool
but some people just used a small burr on the flexshaft. I
covered one side of a large block (the new charcoal blocks from
AllCraft are great--they don't break up!!), so if you use enough
holes you can get hundreds of granules at a time. It's a little
labor intensive but worked great with very little mess.
Hope this helps!! I've really been enjoying this class and
know I will probably use granulation quite a bit in the future.
We are also learning reticulation, gold-painting, roman chain
weaving, several kinds of etching and we've also learned to fuse
wire, chips and dust.