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How to make large unpitted granules

Hello Orchidians,

I was wondering if anyone knows how to make large granules without
pitting. I use an acetylene/air torch on a charcoal block.

Thank you for any advice you can give me.

I was wondering if anyone knows how to make large granules without
pitting. I use an acetylene/air torch on a charcoal block. 

Use LP/Oxy and when your ball is done, turn off the oxy and let the
LP flame dance over the pretty ball.

Paf Dvorak

Use a Bigger Bur to drill your holes and use a drill stop so they are
the same depth- no drill stop? just put a piece of tape on the bit
and don’t go below that line as it meets the block ! Cut your metal
to the same size- look up the dwt/inch ratio to come up with a guide
for cutting lengths or pieces the metal you are using to make them
the size you want in result.

But first, if using scrap, melt the metal with a refining flux (Sal
Ammoniac with charcoal 1:3) in a very well glazed, dedicated crucible
( fused silica will work best and a “burno” style with a hole in the
back makes pouring easier by hand). Pour it out into a wire or
whatever you like, quench in alcohol and water or the quench of
choice depending on what metal or alloy you are talking about.(since
you didn’t list that most important detail!!!) Then cut it to size
if you want same sized grains. then flux the metal with a borax&
alcohol based flux /firecoat ( don’t use a hydrochloric acid based
liquid) Cupronil (by 4S labs) works great - especially if you build
up coats on warm metal- then just use a bushy flame to melt the
grains passing the torch over your (pre cleaned, level & pre-drilled)
block until you see the balls rolling. that should give you nice
grains. The alternative is preparing a set up that lets the balls
roll off into water- but to me it’s less accurate if you are after
close to perfect rounds looking the same. If you have Tim McCreight’s
"Complete Metalsmith" it has similar instructions

in it- as does a Hoover & Strong catalogue in their technical
articles section. I think the grains in that process seem to develop
a tail or lunge to one side as they hit the water depending on how
high you raise the board and the angle at which you hold it. so the
charcoal block would be my preference particularly for golds. There
is yet another method using a coffee can or larger tin can with a
bed of pulverised charcoal in it- again not my favourite method. . if
you have none of the resources mentioned above most raw material
vendor 's catalogues (and their online catalogues) list charts for
reference. of metal weights to quantities. If you don’t have
"Complete Metalsmith", i highly recommend your getting a copy- at
least from the library as many libraries have copies. It’s a great
reference for novice metalsmiths taching themselves. If you need
more assistance try the Orchis Archives. I know its been discussed
before. rer

I’ve found that melting the silver balls on a charcoal block helps
to slow the cooling so you don’t get dimples in the silver balls.

Pitting could indicate impurities in the metal. Are you using scrap
silverthat has solder on it or perhaps you are overheating them?

Rick Copeland
Rocky Mountain Wonders

One way is to put a pail of water below the block. wrap a apiece of
copper sheet around the block with a gate at one end. hold in place
with binding wire set at an angle so when the balls form they roll
off into the water. Water has to be deep enough to cool the ball
befor hitting the bottom or they will flatten. An easier way which I
use for up to 1/8 in. or so is to use an eye dropper. Soon as the
ball forms pull the flame away and drop several drops of water on it.


Here’s how I do it and it has worked very well for me thus far.

  1. Use a ball bur to create a cup shape in a charcoal block for your

  2. Place your piece of scrap to be melted in the divot and coat it
    with flux.

  3. Use your torch to draw circles around the scrap. As it melts, it
    will begin to spin helping it to retain its shape and forcing air

  4. While continuing to draw circles with your torch around the
    now-melted granule, begin to slowly pull your torch away. slowly
    until the granule solidifies. The granule will continue to spin as
    it cools until it solidifies maintaining its shape and pit-less

Hope that helps!
Erich C. Shoemaker