Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Melting gold


#81

Hi Richard,

On melting gold. I can't remember where I found this formula. If
you add 1% titanium to pure gold you get a virtually indestructible
casting that assays 99% gold. Does this work? Is this what is sold
in Asia as pure gold? 

Very interesting, very close to a fine gold too. James do you know
if precipitation would allow the titanium melt point to decrease
significantly?

I’ve never thought of this alloy mixture before.

Regards Charles A.


#82
Due to the little percentage of Titanium, this alloy may be sold
as pure gold when 1% Ti is used. 

Not in Australia, you’d have to mark it 916 (22 ct) CIA


#83
Why is it up to the traditional way to prove a statement? Well,
Bill, it's not just the traditionalists that have to prove what
they say. 
Everyone on this list, when challenged, has to prove their point
of view, if they want to get their point across. 
Saying "I've been doing X process for X amount of years, without
issue,... therefore it must be the best and only way to do it",
isn't credible these days. 

This is obfuscation at its finest. This is arguing for the sake of
argument. So far I see no benefit from this discussion. I think that
those that are dissuaded from forging their ingots might be
influenced by someone who does not have the experience to be
questioning or doubting. Fine objects in precious metals are not the
same as iron, steel, bronze…

I would look at the work of an individual who has decades of fine
quality work that exemplifies the techniques used, and I would be a
fool to argue with the methods used or arbitrarily change procedure
to suit my mood or whimsy.

Because something has been done as a time honored tradition
sometimes does mean that the tradition provides the results desired.

I have a feeling that in Europe, traditional methods are taught and
there is no debate, there is respect for knowledge acquired through
experience.

Over the years, when people have trouble rolling ingots, certain
remedies keep being offered.

Wonder why, one is, forge the ingot…

I personally don’t have anything to prove, and would not waste my
time trying. I am a goldsmith, not a debater.

Someone said that for some work, forging is not necessary and for
some work it is preferred for the best quality of the metal. I cannot
see where 15 minutes of my time to forge is worth the time trying to
question process when process is the solution, not the problem.

If I was teaching and I was challenged this way about what I was
teaching, I would suggest that the person was in the wrong class.

It is not about which is better, it is about what works for you. Do
both, then decide which works. Do that.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#84
Why is it up to the traditional way to prove a statement? Well,
Bill, it's not just the traditionalists that have to prove what
they say. 

The reason that Bill has an excellent point is because traditional
ways are based on hundreds of years of workshop practice. Doubters
basing their opinions only on the lack of knowledge of the
processes. The common rhetoric that doubters use “I never heard of it
before”. While it may be true, it is a very weak case against
anything to base it on lack of personal knowledge. Therefore it is up
to the doubters to prove their position.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#85

Charles,

I agree that we all need to qualify what we say, but if you look
back at most of the posts written on any subject it is always the
traditionalist that have to prove their statements. It if very
aggrevating that someone ask a question and when someone answers it
they get slammed by people that don’t want to hear the answer.

On the issue of the eternity band, I don’t want a model, I want a
finished piece. If it is not work hardened then it is not the same,
no need to go on with the discussion. I also say that it will never
be polished as nice. The time it will take to make the CAD file and
polish you could make the ring and be done.

You have been in this industry as a student for 4 years, I have and
many others on this list have been a student in this industry for 30
years and more. We have seen many things come and go. I have worked
on fine jewelry made 100 years ago that is still worn. I have worked
on jewelry made 5 years ago that is not worth fixing. To me its very
fascinating that Tiffany or Faberge’ could make jewelry without
electron microscopes to analyze grain structure, and computers to
design the pieces.

Put a hammer and saw in a carpenters hands and he will build a
house, put a hammer and saw in a graphic artist hands and he will cut
his fingers off.

Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com


#86

Hi Leonid,

The common rhetoric that doubters use "I never heard of it before".
While it may be true, it is a very weak case against anything to
base it on lack of personal knowledge. Therefore it is up to the
doubters to prove their position. 

Personally I think everyone should prove what they say, or at least
know why their techniques work, and be willing to help others
understand.

It’s not an unreasonable request, that I think everyone should be
subject to. Myself included.

Doing something the same way for 100’s of years doesn’t mean there’s
no room for improvement.

For example the jewellery techniques we use today aren’t hundreds of
years old, none of us on this list are that stuck in traditions, and
thank God for that.

I think a lot of people take it the wrong way when asked “why”, but
they really shouldn’t. This list is a learning experience for
everyone on it without exception. We can’t be upset when people ask
questions.

Regards Charles A.


#87

Hi Bill,

I understand your view, and I think that it’s not fair to be slammed
when you provide an answer, I think that’s not fair for anyone.

The CAD ring challenge started out as a fun venture, but it quickly
turned out not to be, so I lost interest. I was just saying I could
replicate the design in CAD, it will take stones, and will polish
(not as nice as a hand wrought ring). The speed issue is less of a
problem. The benefits are that that same design can be resized as you
like. CAD is more a tool for mass production. Once the CAD is
created, many rings can be made from it.

Personally I like to make things by hand, but sometimes I need the
precision that I can only get from CAD e.g. silver gears with 90
teeth that have to work. CAD is simply a tool.

True I’ve only been in the jewellery trade for a short time, but
this of course means I will ask a lot of questions. There’s no
offense intended by it, sometimes I just need to know.

There are some things I can bring to the industry from my
experiences external to the jewellery trade. I too was slammed for
stating things I knew to be correct, and had to get an external party
to prove me right.

You can understand that if I’m asked to prove what I say, I’m going
to ask as well :wink: If someone slams you in the future, put it on the
log let it float down the river, life’s too short.

Bill you’re a gentleman, and your reply has been a pleasure to read.

Kindest regards Charles A.


#88

Richard,

I take exception to this personal attack, don’t lower yourself
again, you’re smarter than that. However, as I don’t hold grudges, I
will forgive you.

If I choose to ask questions, and say that people need to prove what
they say, that is my right. If I am expected to prove myself, then I
expect no less of others, 'cause honestly I don’t know you from a
bar of soap. You say you’re a gold smith, but it could just be words.

Accusing me of deliberately confusing the issue of forging ingots
isn’t a logical conclusion from asking people to prove what they say.

Your general statement about European students, that they don’t ask
questions, and don’t challenge their teachers. Teachers encourage
their students to think, not blindly follow. So I think you’re wrong
in this, at least I hope you are.

Experience is fine, but if you can learn from someone else’s
experiences and find a better way… why not? Some of us dare to
think outside of the box.

“It is not about which is better, it is about what works for you. Do
both, then decide which works. Do that.”

This is a very wise thing to say.

Regards Charles A.


#89
For example the jewellery techniques we use today aren't hundreds
of years old, none of us on this list are that stuck in traditions,
and thank God for that. 

There is a term coined by Faberge “manual cunning”. It basically
means ability to overcome technical difficulties, which would render
an engineer quite useless. Modern jewellery shop practices of using
high tech gadgetry like lasers, microscopes, and etc, are not an
improvement of anything. Even worse, it results in generation of
goldsmiths which are quite helpless if these gadgets are taken away.

Traditional techniques develop manual cunning. They develop ability
to think and solve problems without use of the technology. One only
need to examine jewellery of 18th and 19th centuries to appreciate
the level of sophistication achieved by extremely primitive means.
The proof of these techniques are in the pudding, so to speak.

You say that just because a technique have been practiced for
sometime, does not mean that it cannot be improved. That is true as
far as generalities go, but is does not apply to current situation.
In order to improve something, one has to be ultimately familiar
with what he or she is set out to improve.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#90
Mind you I deal with very professional, and very competent casting
houses, that produce high quality castings.

Could you tell us which casting companies these are? Thanks.

Janet in Jerusalem


#91
CAD is more a tool for mass production. Once the CAD is created,
many rings can be made from it. 

It’s likely that CAD is used more often for production work, perhaps
simply because the workshops that simply can afford the equipment,
tend to be doing that. However, CAD, as a tool, can be equally useful
and time saving in one of a kind work. I say this because many
artists work within a fairly consistent design vocabulary, and being
able to reuse various individual elements from one piece, into the
next, can be very useful. Think “series” rather than just individual
items without connection to each other. Perhaps the biggest drawback
to CAD, aside from financial ones, my simply be that the software is
often optimized for the most often used commercial jewelry techniques
and looks, and branching out into more unusual and creative designs
requires often more time, and always a higher degree of skill and
familiarity with the software. In this, it’s like any technique. The
better you are at it, the better and more unique and well made your
work can be. But the learning curve for this improvement in CAD
software is often not short and simple, so there are many users of
CAD who are forced, simply by limits to their skill set with the
software, to make greater use of the built in functions of the
software, which may tend to give the end result more of a pre-defined
"CAD" look, or a result more similar to other commercially done CAD
work than the artist may have wished.

Peter


#92
For example the jewellery techniques we use today aren't hundreds
of years old 

blanket statement…

Some of the jewelry techniques we use are virtually unchanged since
early humans first started making things from materials they found
around them, or from later eras within historical record, where
metalwork and jewelry work often advanced to very high levels of
competence. So some of our methods are little changed, not just from
hundreds of years ago, but sometimes, thousands…

On the other hand, other techniques, and especially tools, may be
brand new from last week…

It’s a fascinating mix, and part of what makes this field so
interesting to work in.

Peter


#93

Are we confusing kilogram ingots with 50gm ingots or smaller as cast
in a studio?

If your cast ingot will go straight into the rolling mill then the
rolling mill will do the forging. If your ingot is too big to go
straight into the rolling mill, you will have to forge it until it
can feed into a general studio rolling mill.

Forging with a cross peen hammer will give depth and direction when
forging a bar. Forging with convex and flat hammers works best when
forging a sheet.

No matter how your ingot is forged, you have to identify the areas
in the ingot that need to be cut off so that your final product is
free of defects.

I see little difference between forging with a hammer and forging in
a rolling mill when your ingots are less than 50 grams.

Alastair


#94

Hi Janet,

Could you tell us which casting companies these are? 

They’re in NSW Australia, so maybe a bit far from Jerusalem.

Palloys is good, but I recently changed to Pure Castings, because
the service is better imo. What I like about Pure Castings is they
listen to their customers, and are constantly doing research to
improve their quality. The staff have many, many years of experience.
If something is not how you want it they will recast (within reason).

They also have a good relationship with the CAD company that "lives"
upstairs, and it’s a good match.

Their work ethic is excellent, and they do a few things, that
benefit the customer, that other casting companies don’t.

Regards Charles A.


#95

So where do you propose to draw the line of “tradition”? Before the
advent of electricity we used a drillstock. That was tradition. Drill
presses and handpieces were new and non-traditional. Ditto
manufactured drill bits. Ditto factory made files. Ditto torches.

How did the hand and finger benders respond to the advent of pliers?
If microscopes are gadgets was a loupe a passing fad for the lazy
craftsman who didn’t want to give up squinting. I’m pretty tickled
that my eye surgeon is happy to employ gadgetry when he works on me.

In order to improve something, one has to be ultimately familiar
with what he or she is set out to improve. 

I would say that this is mostly true. But why must the baby be
thrown out with the bathwater?

Take care,
Andy


#96
Modern jewellery shop practices of using high tech gadgetry like
lasers, microscopes, and etc, are not an improvement of anything.
Even worse, it results in generation of goldsmiths which are quite
helpless if these gadgets are taken away. Traditional techniques
develop manual cunning. They develop ability to think and solve
problems without use of the technology. 

I understand your point of view and respect it Leonid. It is however
a bit of a sweeping generalization to say that the generation is
helpless without their gadgets. But it is true that this is more of
a generation of assemblers rather than makers. That has as much to
so with the advent of overnight delivery from findings manufacturers
with huge product lines as it does with techie equipment. Thirty
years ago, you simply couldn’t get the part fast enough even if it
was available. You were forced to know how to fabricate it. These
days, many bench jewelers end up using components that aren’t quite
right because they don’t have the skill set or confidence to make it
themselves. They simply never hand make components. This doesn’t
apply to everyone, but I’d think it’s not a stretch to say it
applies to the majority and is a result of the times in which they
live.

That said, I personally love my laser and my scope. I still primarily
use my torch, but the laser is a huge time saver and has more than
paid for itself. The scope allows me to see my work magnified many
times more than my Optivisor, using the scope not only improves the
finest details of my work but it gives me a great deal of personal
satisfaction to see it magnified. It’s thesame feeling I had as a kid
when I put a bug under my chemistry set microscope, it was like being
transported to another world!

Mark


#97

Hi Charles,

Doing something the same way for 100's of years doesn't mean
there's no room for improvement. 

The OLD saying, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it!” Yes there are
innovations, but are they always improvements?

For example the jewellery techniques we use today aren't hundreds
of years old, none of us on this list are that stuck in traditions,
and thank God for that. 

Excuse me on this one! I AM STUCK IN THE PAST. My metalsmithing and
jewelry work is done on stage at a Shakespeare Festival. I recreate
as close as possible the manner an item was made in the 1600’s. Thank
God I get paid for this! Most tools we use today, except for electric
ones, were used long ago as well. We may have refined them, but the
basic ones are still mostly the same.

Also as a mother and Grandmother, I’ve spent many many hours on
questions teaching small children. I’ve taught in the upward bound
program, I’ve taught college level classes. I’ve run across people
who have gotten notions in their heads they know more than those
teaching. As such they keep questioning. Until you have mastered the
technique that is being taught, I’ve learned it is best not to
question. Once you have mastered the technique those questions have
disappeared, or you have some valid theories as to why it doesn’t or
does work, and alternative methods to try. A teacher will encourage
you to try your theories so that you can understand for yourself what
is happening. That teacher will understand there is no substitution
for the actual work. This is not to say that the teacher will not be
there to hold your hand during those experiments, nor not tell you
where the theory failed. It is just to keep questioning and demanding
proof when you don’t do the work to see for yourself what you
question is right or wrong, makes you look like the little kid who
sits in the back of a car and keeps asking endlessly “why?” Reactions
from people then are to tune you out. This board is made up of
wonderful very experienced professionals who have done the work, and
pass on their sagely advise to try and save us the hardships of doing
it wrong. My suggestion to you Charles, is to do the work and
experiment then come back with specific questions as to why you
failed.

I also have a good forging hammer, anvil, manual rolling mill, and
an electric rolling mill. Any time you want to work on this matter
you are welcome in my garage.

Agnes
The old lady in Florida


#98
I see little difference between forging with a hammer and forging
in a rolling mill when your ingots are less than 50 grams. 

Here is a recount of actual event, which took place just a few days
ago. I was cleaning my safe and found some old 14k rope chains, which
I decided to melt and convert into sheet for further use. I cast an
ingot, forged it, and tried to roll. It was as unyielding as steel. I
attempted to power through and broke my mill. The female thread on
height adjusting screw collapsed.

I ordered new mill and tried again, using small bites. The thing was
absolutely unmovable. I re-examined the ingot. It was fine without
any cracks or porosity, so I eliminated bad casting as the reason. I
suspected that alloy contained small amount of either nickel or
cobalt. I annealed it and forged it again. When I tried to roll it, I
reduced thickness by 0.2mm and metal stopped yielding again. To make
the long story short, it took me 5 annealing and forging cycles
before I could roll it in normal fashion.

I am using the sheet right now and it behaves like a normal gold
alloy. I am a strong believer in forging, but even I was impressed
with the power of forging to change working properties of metal.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#99
I see little difference between forging with a hammer and forging
in a rolling mill when your ingots are less than 50 grams. 

Forging is forging and rolling is rolling, they produce different
microstructure no matter what the ingot size is.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#100
So where do you propose to draw the line of "tradition"? Before
the advent of electricity we used a drillstock. That was tradition.
Drill presses and handpieces were new and non-traditional. Ditto
manufactured drill bits. Ditto factory made files. Ditto torches. 

Like I said before. One must completely understand old techniques
before passing judgement and/or trying to improve them.

I am still using drill stock because if offers something that neither
drill press, nor flexshaft can do. Let’s take something like hollow
ball completely set, using technique of pave. The holes on the inside
must not intersect each other and must be azured (ajoured). To
satisfy these requirements each and every hole must be drilled
exactly in the direction towards the center. How such a feat can be
accomplished? There is no way to do it with flexshaft. No matter how
skillful one is, few holes are bound to be mangled on the inside.
Drill press is no help either, because holding wise has to be
adjusted for every hole. Even dividing head is not sufficient. It
would take very sophisticated wise, which can be adjusted in all 3
planes simultaneously and even than the degree of adjustment had to
be calculated on computer ( two linked dividing heads can do it, but
I am not aware of such device. ) In any even, the gadget required
will definitely put such task out of reach of most, if not all,
goldsmith shops.

Drillstock solves this problem with amazing simplicity and elegance.
Using drillstock one has no choice but to drill towards the center on
spheric surfaces, because any other direction will cause drill to
slip. The center finding direction feature is the direct outcome of
it’s design. In order to use drillstock, it has to be in balance and
it could only be in balance if it points directly toward the center.
Drillstock is forefather of gyroscope and has exactly the same
properties.

I can give the same examples of modern drills and torches, but it
has to be some other time. A bit short of it today. The main point is
that there are a treasure trove of contained in
traditional techniques. It would be a shame to loose it just because
some authorities making judgements without understanding of what they
are judging.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com