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Hardening body rings


#1

I am in the process of making body piercings of 14KYG and 18KYG in
14gauge round wire that will have 1-64 threads on the ends and I am
not certain of the best way to harden the wire / threads / ends. I
realize starting with 12g and drawing or rolling first would work
but I do not have a rolling mill and I already have the 14g wire.
Tumbling would ruin precut threads and may change the wire diameter
thus interfering with the thread depth? Any options other than
heat/quench?


#2
I am in the process of making body piercings of 14KYG and 18KYG in
14gauge round wire that will have 1-64 threads on the ends and I
am not certain of the best way to harden the wire / threads / ends.
I realize starting with 12g and drawing or rolling first would work
but I do not have a rolling mill and I already have the 14g wire.
Tumbling would ruin precut threads and may change the wire
diameter thus interfering with the thread depth? Any options other
than heat/quench? 

Heat /quench will fully anneal the gold… dead soft, bad news.

Straight wire before forming and twist the hell out of it (vice and
electric or hand drill ). Diameter should stay almost the same and
it will thread much better than soft gold. No soldering allowed after
this point.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#3

Heat/quench won’t do it at all. You might have to start over…

John Dach


#4

Actually, I don’t know why I typed quench… :~(

I knew better than that. What about heat to 1200F and allow to air
cool on a charcoal block.

Thanks for the twisting idea. I had thought it may alter the
diameter. I appreciate that threading will be easier on the hardened
gold


#5

If you twist the wire it will create grooves that will foster
infection in the body piercing. Since body piercings go through
fleshier parts than typical ear or nose piercings, they take up to
9-12 months to heal, and it only takes a day or two for an infection
to start. Even after the healing is complete, because of the nature
of the piercings it’s easy to re-injure. When I got my piercings I
was warned not to use white gold - ever -, and only higher karat
yellow gold due to the increased chance of reacting to the alloys.
So, use 24 or 18k yellow gold, file or sand the twisted grooves, and
take care if you decide to make and sell body jewelry.

Jeni


#6
I knew better than that. What about heat to 1200F and allow to air
cool on a charcoal block. 

1200 will fully anneal the metal. With some alloys, air cooling will
give you some age hardening as it slowly cools, but you’d get a lot
more if you heat to only about 650 F (exact temp depends on alloy)
for a half hour or so, and then allow it to slowly cool. Some alloys
will age harden almost as much as work hardening can do, though the
end strength of the result is not always the same. Some age hardened
alloys end up brittle, rather than just hard… Yellow and Rose
golds, and nickle based white golds, all can be age hardened this
way.

But as another poster noted, you may need to stay away from white
golds for piercing rings. At least from nickle based white golds.
Nickle free ones, usually based on palladium would be Ok. But they’re
usually too soft, and they don’t age harden either.

And you might consider… There’s a reason other than just cost, why
most piercing jewelry is stainless steel, titanium, etc. They are not
only hard and springy, but hypoallergenic/inert. It’s difficult to
get both those properties at the same time with most gold alloys.
Hard usually means some level of either copper (yellow golds) or
nickle (white golds). Both, if even slightly bioavailable in the
metal, can cause problems for some people. Nickle, especially. But
with high enough karat that these aren’t a problem, then you have a
hard time getting the metal hard and springy enough to function the
way most piercing rings are made to do…

If you were going to use platinum, though, I’d suggest the SK heat
treatable platinum alloys from Hoover and Strong, or the similar HT
platinum alloys from Imperial. Both can be acceptably hardened, and
both are platinum, which is generally hypoallergenic.

Peter Rowe


#7

It is the heat that softens it not the quenching. Air cooling will
not help, it will still end up softer than the original wire.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#8

Jeff- I would not recommend that you have threads on the exterior of
the rings or bars. It’s very painful to insert and remove from even
an older healed piercing. I have always made mine with interior
threads on the end. The attaching ball or whatever has a threaded
wire on the end that inserts into the bar or ring.

Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#9
If you twist the wire it will create grooves that will foster
infection in the body piercing. Since body piercings go through
fleshier parts than typical ear or nose piercings, they take up to
9-12 months to heal, and it only takes a day or two for an
infection to start. 

You’re correct if 2 or more wires are twisted together. You’ll have
grooves where the wires come together.

However, if you twist a single wire about it’s own axis, there will
be no grooves. You may see lines on the wire after it’s twisted.
However these lines are created by dirt/tarnish on the surface & will
be gone after the wire is pulled thru a polishing cloth.

Dave


#10
1200 will fully anneal the metal. With some alloys, air cooling
will give you some age hardening as it slowly cools, but you'd get
a lot more if you heat to only about 650 F (exact temp depends on
alloy) for a half hour or so, and then allow it to slowly cool. 

Time for most alloys we work with is more like two hours. There is
some very very minor hardening with air cooling but it is on the
order of a few points HV which is in the error range of hardness
tests.

Some alloys will age harden almost as much as work hardening can
do, though the end strength of the result is not always the same.
Some age hardened alloys end up brittle, rather than just hard...
Yellow and Rose golds, and nickle based white golds, all can be age
hardened this way. 

Gold copper alloys exhibit a hardening phenomenon called ordering
which is different from age hardening. Ordering is what makes 18K
red brittle if allowed to air cool. And is what is responsible for
some, (most?) of the heat treatment hardening of red and yellow gold
alloys.

But as another poster noted, you may need to stay away from white
golds for piercing rings. At least from nickle based white golds.
Nickle free ones, usually based on palladium would be Ok. But
they're usually too soft, and they don't age harden either. 

Pd whites also exhibit ordering (Pd-Cu and Au-Cu form similar ordered
phases) so can be heat treated to harden them somewhat as well.

If you were going to use platinum, though, I'd suggest the SK heat
treatable platinum alloys from Hoover and Strong, or the similar
HT platinum alloys from Imperial. Both can be acceptably hardened,
and both are platinum, which is generally hypoallergenic. 

The alloy from Imperial is amazingly hard, over 300 HV when in the
heat treated state.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#11
I would not recommend that you have threads on the exterior of the
rings or bars. It's very painful to insert and remove from even an
older healed piercing. I have always made mine with interior
threads on the end. The attaching ball or whatever has a threaded
wire on the end that inserts into the bar or ring. 

No holes here but a few years making beads for standard commercial
bars and hoops. Your ideas are good but might need heavier bars,
would increase the price, and make the threads even smaller and more
delicate.

Also when making a lot of piercing parts I tended to be more than
slightly cynical about client comfort levels compared with making
pierced earings. :slight_smile:

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#12
Also when making a lot of piercing parts I tended to be more than
slightly cynical about client comfort levels compared with making
pierced earings. :-) 

Woohoo, you said it! I’m taking a life drawing/painting class, and
our current model has three large, apparently heavy, um, ornaments
through his genitals. I can’t (and wouldn’t anyway) say exactly
where they’re placed, because I cannot look directly at them. I’ve
moved my easel so I’m seeing his back. I do not think comfort is the
issue!!!

Noel


#13

As I have interest in making chains by various processes I bought 12
gauge wire because I find it fairly easy to draw down to the
diameter I need and it was larger than anything I’ll need for my
current interests.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Alliance, OH


#14
I do not think comfort is the issue!!! 

Sure, for a lot of people the thrill is in the pain; but for others
it’s not. For me, it’s all about the beauty. It took me about 5 years
to work up the courage to face the pain necessary to get my
piercings, and I’m not looking to re-experience any more pain from
poorly finished jewelry!