Letting silver cool slowly [was: rolling mill care]

As far as I know letting silver cool slowly will harden it, not
soften it more.

softness silver alloys are compressed about 45% (hammer or mill),
then annealed, not too hot, (no visible red glow in daylight or
artificial lighting, watch the flame color-it will go a bright
orange as it leaves the metal), and then quench it fairly quickly
(but not when glowing, as said, that is too hot). The slow
cooling method described is the approach used for annealing
steel, not precious metals. I think someone learned the correct
approach for annelaing steel, then decided the same approach
must work for silver and so transferred the method. My opinion is
that is wrong for silver (and gold alloys). Also I don’t like the
idea of messing about with old investment powder, silicosis is
too real a hazard for that, instead some larger grained material
like pumice chunks, silicon carbide, vermiculite, kitty litter
etc would be safer. Charles

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

Metals info download web site: http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/tree.cgi
Book and Video descriptions: http://www.ganoksin.com/kosana/brain/brain.htm
Gallery page at: http://www.ganoksin.com/brain/gallery.htm

   As far as I know letting silver cool slowly will harden it,
not soften it more. 

I’ve used this method for many years, and have made many
hand-made conchos with deep crenallations with it. I tried to
find something in a book which would support my method, but was
unable to find anything. I’m the first to admit I’m uneducated
and frequently ignorant. I was taught the method by an elderly
Navajo silversmith gentleman. Since he knew no English and I
knew no Navajo, perhaps we misinterpreted each other’s sign

I have taken some jewelry classes at a college, and my teacher
was sure it wouldn’t work. We did an experiment to see. Several
coffee cans with plaster or investment now stand at the soldering
stations in the jewelry class as standard equipment.

If you ever find yourself in Wyoming, I would be happy to repeat
the experiment for you. After all, we metalsmiths here have been
trying to get you here any way we can. You are highly regarded as
an artist/teacher/author, myself included, and would love the
opportunity to meet you.

K.P. in Wyoming

The info I have says that for maximum softness that sterling
silver should be quenched from around 1100 degrees F If it is
allowed to cool in air it will still be softer than it was before
annealing but not as soft as it is possible to acheive by
quenching. One warning if sterling is quenched from too high a
heat (around 1300 F) it will crack. To harden sterling silver
with heat it must be held at 750 degrees F for a half hour or


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

The things you learn at Orchid. I had often wondered why my
silver sheet after annealing wasn’t really softer. Well, now I

Thanks all.

Karen Christians
416 Main St.
Woburn, MA 01801


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