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Help with Firestain

So I am having a spot of trouble - I had to fix a mistake and had to heat up this cuff, and I believe it now has firestain, and the solder of course is a bright spot of silver around the “Raise” so its super obvious.

I’ve tried white diamond on a buff, and the 3M wheels and the silicon carbide wheels. I’ve taken enough metal off that the hammered texture is super soft, and I’m still having issues - it looks horrible.

How do I get into the hammered texture to remove that without losing the texture completely?? Should I try bobbing compound? Bristle hair brushes? Help!!!

If you have a flex shaft and silicon grinding wheels, you could shape one, by rounding the edges to fit inside your divets. I would use a medium fine. It might take awhile, but it would also make the divets stand out more. VINCE LaRochelle

I get this problem sometimes with my work so clean with a jewellery cleaner like the Towns Talk one then pickle again. Do this about 7 times then when firscale is gone I use Bicarbonate of soda to stop the action. Works for me

It is great to hear how others resolve this problem. It happens to us all now and then. I am not immune to this at all. I like the solutions offered by Vince and Lynn. They should help with the fire stain, restore the visual depth of the hammering, and give the edges renewed crispness.

Once the stain and solder issue is resolved there may be a bigger concern. Between the polishing away of metal and the annealing caused by the soldering the silver will likely have been softened to the point that it will need to be hammered again to give it back its strength.

This hammering may well create problems with the lettering and make it hard to read or obliterate some of the letters. And it is a worry with some repairs that the big concern becomes time on task. At some point the labor for repairs becomes more than the price of the bracelet. It is hard to know where to stop.

If this were a bracelet I had made for stock I would probably just make another. If I had sold it, the customer broke it and it was in for a repair I would replace it. And if this were a bracelet with a great sentimental or emotional attachment to the owner I think I would apply it to another piece of silver for a backing support and charge only for the metal.

Not a simple reply I know and probably more info than you needed or wanted. I have been asked to repair some of my Dad’s early bracelets and it isn’t always possible. And I don’t know which of us is more disappointed when it can’t be done, me or the owner of the bracelet.

Don Meixner

get it silver plated and redarken the letters - the plating will help stiffen it and you wont ruin the texture

Zack Alan- Although plating with silver is a great way to hide fire scale, plating with silver will not stiffen metal. Silver plating is only microns thick and is usually .999 fine silver. Softer than sterling.
Also once plated with fine silver re-darkening the letters will need to be done with an enamel or two part epoxy paint/enamel. Liver of sulfur does not like to darken pure silver very well. And other stronger solutions will actually degrade the plating. Max Black has hydrochloric acid in it.
Jo Haemer

I’ve gotten pieces back from the plater which were definitely much more rigid than when I sent them to the plater - this may have been due to an intermediate layer of nickel so YMMV - though now that I think about it it was plating with gunmetal, imitation rhodium, or chrome (and especially the chrome plating) that made the pieces MUCH less ductile

Electroforming does the same thing - the deposited material is non-ductile and prone to cracking which probably has to do with the fact that it’s deposited as opposed to extruded

Try polishing with one of the creams used to remove scratches from a car’s paint finish.

If you made this: it would take less time to make a new one, in my opinion. Also switch to Argentium so firescale is no longer a problem. If you didn’t make this and are repairing it for a customer, good luck. Repairs are anathema to me…just sayin’

An once of prevention … I use cupronil religiously and have not had firestain since!

This product only seems to be available in the US. Is Firescoff as good? Unfortunately Firescoff is 3 times the price of Cupronil here in the UK!

I use cupronil or the borax & denatured alcohol religiously and also used it on the piece I was asking about here and it STILL happened.

It’s a preventive - but not a guarantee is the lesson I am taking away from this experience, lol.

@AlyssaKay, have you read about Pripps in the archive? It is different and messy. You need to make it because the Pripps you can buy is not the same.

If you way overheat it nothing will work well.

Isnt pripps just borax suspended in denatured alcohol?

No. You need to search the archives for Prips or Pripps, focusing on making it and applying it.

Peter Rowe shares the recipe here: Prips flux

That thread also discusses Trisodium Phosphate, and BillyBob also discusses application. I would read everything in the archives about application. It’s messy.