Use 22 ga. fine silver wire and cut with solder cutting
pliers. This will give you tiny uniform pieces.
Prepare a charcoal block by making small semi-cirular
indentations with a bur. I used one of the European charcoal
blocks sold by Allcraft. They are wonderful as they don’t fall
apart like the standard ones.
Place a wire piece in each of the indentations and hit each
one with a small tipped torch like the little torch. A larger
air-acetylene torch will blow the pieces off of the block.
Each piece of wire will form a perfect little ball. It
sounds like a lot of trouble, but once you have the tools, you
can get quite alot made in one sitting.
A variant on this I use is to make a v-shaped groove teh length
of the charcoal block. I then raise one end of the block and put
the lower end over a pyrex dish with water (doesn’t have to be
pyrex, that’s just handy for me). As little pieces of silver or
gold laid in the v become balls, they roll down into the water.
this method reduces the incidence of granules that aren’t
HI–i’d like to add some variations—when using the wire–I
like to use 24 or 26 ga. wire. wind it around a thick needle or
pin stem, using it as a mandrel. After making the tiny coils,
remove them from the needle and pull them apart out slightly.
With a fine tip cutter, snip the top of each coil, leaving tiny
half circles of uniform size. This eliminates the need to judge
the size of each piece. I usually carve a channel around the
top of the charcoal block about a quarter inch from the edge.
Then I lay out the pieces and heat them one by one. The channel
prevents them from rolling off the charcoal. Use a small
flame, otherwise the pressure of the flame pushes the little
balls around and when they meet another wire, they merge and you
get one large granule instead of two small ones. Sandra