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Hardening earring post of metal clay earrings


#1

Hi There:

I was wondering if anybody out there could help me with a small
problem. I am working with art clay silver and fine silver wire and
using a speed fire mini to fire my pieces. So here is my problem, I
am making earrings and firing them with the posts in place and after
they are fired the wire is soft as butter (20g) how do I harden the
metal again? I don’t have a kiln. I was thinking of using vigor on
the posts, or putting them in the tumbler but was afraid to do that
thinking they would just bend all to heck. If someone has the answer
I would very much appreciate it

Laura


#2

i harden my earring posts by holding the end of the post with a pair
of snipe nose pliers and twisting the earring. this keeps the pose
stait and hardens it. you will never get fine silver really hard
though.


#3

Hello,

Grasp the end of the post nearest the back of the earring using a
pair of smooth jaw, needle nose (bent or straight) pliers. Then
grasp the other end of the post with another pair of same pliers.
Holding the first pliers firmly, use the second pair to slowly twist
the other end of the post about one to two complete (360 degrees)
twists. This should harden the posts. If the posts are securely
embedded in the earrings, they should hold just fine.

Just curious, what temp did you fire at?

Hope this is helpful,
Linda Kaye-Moses


#4

Laura- You can try tumbling. I do that when ever I do anything out
of silver to work harden it. Fine silver is too soft for posts and
will never get hard enough to hold up.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#5

When torch soldering on silver posts to earrings, they will get soft
from the heat. To harden up these soldered on posts, take a pin-vise,
and fasten it onto the very tip of the ear post. A good idea might be
to put a stripe of Sharpie pen ink down the length of the post before
twisting. Now gently twist the post with the pin vise, feeling the
metal move as it twists. You should be able to feel the metal
hardening the more you twist. The ink stripe helps you see just how
much the metal is moving. When you feel the metal resisting, then
stop twisting and remove the pin vise. You’ll have a work-hardened
post that is really stiff!

Jay Whaley


#6
I am working with art clay silver and fine silver wire and using a
speed fire mini to fire my pieces. So here is my problem, I am
making earrings and firing them with the posts in place and after
they are fired the wire is soft as butter (20g) how do I harden
the metal again? I don't have a kiln. I was thinking of using vigor
on the posts, or putting them in the tumbler but was afraid to do
that thinking they would just bend all to heck. If someone has the
answer I would very much appreciate it 

Laura - you could try three things - put your pieces in a rotary
tumbler with stainless steel and a burnishing liquid. It will harden
them a bit. If you don’t overload your tumbler, it won’t bend the
posts.

If the posts are adequately secured, you could also harden them by
grasping the end of the post and twisting it.

Third option - you can harden the posts by burnishing them against a
steel block using a steel burnisher.

Do you have the option to add the post after firing and use a
sterling or gold post?

Judy Hoch


#7
you will never get fine silver really hard though. 

Very true. Can’t you solder sterling silver posts to the metal clay
pieces? They are much more durable and easy to get hard enough for
the intended purpose.

Helen
UK


#8

Well to be honest I have been trying to learn to solder but hubby
thinks the solder I purchased is no good…would not pool, so he
showed me how to use an electric soldering gun and worked slick!! So
needless to say no more buttery wire or trying to fire ear posts with
my earrings. I was so relieved, thinking I couldn’t make stud
earrings. You’d think it was xmas how excited I got?? Anyway I want
to thank everyone for the great advice I really appreciate it!! It’s
really nice to have a place to go when your stuck.

Laura


#9

yeeesh

i don’t think i’d like anything that is electric soldered any where
near my skin. if you’re having soldering problems, you should surely
figure that out, instead of resort to an impractical and potential
skin irritant method. the fluxes in that sort of solder is not nice
to skin, nor is the solder i suspect. let’s figure out why your
soldering isn’t working for you, so you can be a jeweler and not a
electrician…; ^)

as far as work hardening your posts, you may have to combine a few
methods to get those posts to a less than buttery state. all of the
suggestions will work, it may depend on the size of the ear ring
though. studs are easiest as they can be rubbed/rolled between steel
[plier jaws, steel blocks, riveting /doming blocks whatever you
have].


#10
let's figure out why your soldering isn't working for you, so you
can be a jeweler and not a electrician...; ^) 

I agree with Richard. Once you master the right type of soldering
(brazing) method, there will be lots of possibilities open to you,
and you’ll be able to do fabrication work rather than just using PMC
(which is a method of jewellery making which costs a great deal more
than the traditional fabrication methods and is very limited in the
results you can achieve, notwithstanding the handful of true PMC
geniuses who make true works of art with the stuff).

You might find you rather like working with sterling as opposed to
fine silver, due to its ability to hold a form better than fine
silver. I already find sterling silver to be "as soft as butter"
with regard to holding a shine on jewellery for everyday wear, and
wish I could afford to work in gold and platinum. But I worked with
fine silver sheet, wire and tubing on one occasion (when I made a
baby rattle), but will never work with the stuff again, as it dented
and scratched for fun and went out of shape too easily when I was
dapping hemispheres - it’s much, much too soft for my liking. I like
to make rings as well as other things like necklaces and earrings, so
I want my jewellery to hold up to everyday wear.

Go on, give it a go, master the soldering and you’ll have no end of
fun, and make pieces which will last for years to come.

Helen
UK