Issues with pouring silver

I made some pictures to illustrate the problem, the first picture
shows a small lump of flux inside the wire, the other lumbs are more
on the surface.

this half round has been reduced from a bar, starting in 9 mm
drawing plate


Peter, when I had this problem, I tried several things. Stirring the
molten metal with a carbon rod, changing the length of time and or
temperature during melting, and using a different torch. When none
of those worked well, I replaced the crucible. Problem solved, no
more dirty, crunchy ingots. I think that you can have too much flux
build up on the crucible, and it overwhelms the amount of metal
you’re melting.

Good luck!

Hello from hell, you know the days when your bullion dealer lets you

And they are sure lucky, I live 500 ks away.

Last 2 orders of a particular profile wire 4 x 2.2 mm oval are
cracking/flacking and full of impurities.

One crack was sub-surface and did not appear till the finished
bangle was polished with tripoli.

Spent an hour making the bangle and it all looked good till tripoli
polished. So the the crack was sub-surface.

Filed away a good half mm to get rid of it, of course bangle

The impurities appeared in a ring after pickling. 2 nasty little
spots close together. Started sanding and took off half a mm and still

Sending it all back Monday, emailed them already. I will be
interested to see what they do.

At least all wire replaced with quality.

I have been ordering this wire for months and had no problems till

Thank goodness their metallurgist is not a commercial pilot LOL.

They know I am on Orchid and so should be bending over backwards to
sought this out.

Cause they know I will post the company name if they do not.


This form advertising is not needed in any profession. It’s very
difficult to correct, once its on the web. hoping this company helps
you. We are waiting for their positive response.

So Richard is this the same company that you complained about with
their sheet getting spots on it and it turned out that it was
something that had been sprayed in your studio and settled on the
metal?? Not saying that this is your fault but perhaps before jumping
the gun and putting things on the internet you should wait to hear
their response, do you know if this was aproduct that was made by
them or something that was imported or sourced else where. As there
are only 2 companies actually producing silver sheet andwires on a
commercial scale in Australia I think it might be wise to be careful
how you handle things. Especially with veiled threats like “they are
just lucky I live 500km’s away”… So… what would you have done
if you lived closer??? Ben

The impurities appeared in a ring after pickling. 2 nasty little
spots close together. Started sanding and took off half a mm and
still there. Sendingit all back Monday, emailed them already. I
will be interested to see what they do. 

Looks like my problem is not that unique! Still struggling with the
issue, I changed the cubicle what was a good tip by the way, I had
not realised how much borax had build up.

I will buy some graphite rods for stirring this week (I use to swirl
the sterling in the cubicle) my last attempt with the clean cubicle
produced nice clean bars till I almost was on the desired form and a
few pits showed up (formed half round from 9 mm to 6 mm)

Has any one on this forum a idea why this happens? I only do 30 to
40 grams sterling at the time, sterling pieces from cuttings, failed
projects I o not use old pieces, just my own left overs.

Thanks for all the tips I received offline and online, however the
reason why I have this now and not before is still a mystery to me


Hi the update

the bullion company called me at 10 past 9 this morning. Profuse

Said it was the only wire they bought in from elsewhere. They now
have their own draw plates and are shipping me some of the new wire

After I get the wire I will send back the faulty wire, they supply a
pre-paid post bag.

I will be interested to see what compensation they are willing to
offer. Last time when the sent the wrong wire, apparently the new
staff could not tell the difference between oval and half round.

“They are new staff, go to be patient.” Not new staff to me bloody
morons and I would have taken the mistake from their wages and
sacked them.

Anyway they sent me the right order and let me keep the wrong one as

This time however I spent over an hour on fabrication of the ring
and bangle. And being low on stock because I could not use the wire
lost serious number of sales yesterday. My sales were down 30% while
my wife’s were up 20%, we usually sell about the same total in

I reckon I am out of pocket by about $400, $100 for the bangle which
was an order and $300 dollars of lost sales yesterday.

Be interested to see what they do, I want more than the wire

I will be working some very long hours to catch up to where I should
be with stock levels.

And on top of that people keep wanting orders for Christmas and I
shut my book on those 3 weeks ago.

They get really annoyed that I will not make their little order for
them because I am too busy. My regular clients have been trained as
to when they should put in their Christmas orders. Still have about
20 rings to go, but will all be done for Christmas. Also my regulars
all pay 50% non-refundable deposit and know if it is not collected it
will go on sale at half price to some one else. After Christmas.

My plan on pricing is “If all else fails to sell a piece drop it to
%100 profit.”

Sold a bangle yesterday, customer said it was her birthday next week
and she would come back for it.

I said no guarantee it will be here and I won’t be making another.
But I will give you 20% discount today. Sold! Still keystone pricing.
And one happy customer. Always amazed at people who have no money or
credit cards on them suddenly pull out the money for a discount.
That’s the locals. Tourists just buy and tell me how inexpensive it

I tell them round here I have to sell wholesale to stay in business.
That is life in a poor country area.


Hi Ben

Actually I know of four companies that produce sheet and wire.

They bought in that particular wire and have replaced it with their
own, it is of good quality.

Not a veiled threat, if I lived closer I would have a had a very
firm chat, I am a high school teacher who deals with very difficult
students. Already had a talk with their CEO over fine silver wire
cracking after annealing.

I am not the only one who has had problems with this company’s
metal, I know 2 silversmiths who swapped companies.

Why do I stay with them, good range of charms, chains and findings
quick turn around of service.

I also like to order in small quantities.

I did not name them in the post because I was waiting for the

I can also order through my gold supplier, need to order 2 weeks in
advance not 2 days and larger quantities.

The internet is a powerful tool for small fry like me to be heard,
and I think that it is good to put this stuff out there to show others
what can happen.

As for the sheet with spots on it I spoke to a master silversmith
about that and he said that was not the likely cause.

It was more likely impurities in the “cooking”.


Hi all

Just got an email from the bullion dealer. Sending me a credit note
for my loss.

Their service is fantastic. It was not their fault, they bought in
that particular wire. And are now drawing their own of that profile I
used it today and it is really good quality.

When I get good service and usually quality products and when
something does go wrong it is solved quickly. I am impressed. Those
who follow my posts know this is praise well earned.

So to those of you in Australia I cannot recommend A and E Metals
more highly.

They have a great range of Italian made chain, quality findings and
a very large range of charms.

The embossed wire is a real treat to use as well.

Also a great range of mill products, notably they have deep spinning
quality sheet in silver which is used for raising. This is a hard to
get product these days.

Their small quantity ordering is a big plus, 50 grams for special
orders is amazing.

Stock items much less. I have stayed with this company over a number
of years as they make from re-cycled silver and so are ethically
correct. OK sometimes things go wrong but they fix them ASAP. Unusual
in today’s business world. Also the price per gram is up to 70% lower
than other suppliers.

Hey we all know sh*t happens but rarely do companies quickly sort it
out for the small customer. A and E Metals does.

So if in Oz try these guys out. Used them for many years and 99% of
the time they are really good.

I have used other bullion dealers and their screw ups have been
amazing and no such service on fixing the problem.


Finally sorted out the problem!

For anyone who have the same issue, I sorted it out as follow;

To be on the safe side, I treated all my casting leftovers, bars
made still in stock, wire and sheet I had made in the last two
months, all together 750 gram on the same way.

Using a new cubicle, I melted again in batches of 100 gram, without
using borax as hot as possible (I use propane, without oxygen)

Very slowly poured the melted sterling in a bucket, to create
smallest dropsas possible, I placed all the sterling in heated
pickle for 12 hours or so.

I melted again stirred a lot with a graphite rod and only when
needed a verysmall pinch of borax,

The new bars are perfect without pits.

Looking back what happened it was the following: I had a while ago a
lot of file dust and decided in my wisdom (!) to melt it using a lot
of borax, poured it out in water in one lump (!) placed in the
pickle and used the lump with my normal left cuttings etc to melt
for new wire, sheet. I think there wasalso a sandpaper dust between
the filing dust, the water had a whole black dust floating on the
surface after pouring in small drops.

Lesson learned next time I bring my file dust for recycling