Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Melting silver?


#1

Okay, please don’t laugh but I have a bunch of little pieces of
silver that I have been gathering, scraps. Can I melt them down and
use them. Sorry if this is a really silly, simpleton question.
Thanks, Lori


#2

Dear Lori To quote one of my instructors " the only stupid ? is the
one you don’t ask" …the answer is of course you can melt your
scrape down and reuse it …now how you do it if you have a lot of
scrape it might be worthwhile to invest in an ingot mold any
supplier carries them …if you only have a small amount you can use
a cast iron frying pan and a charcoal block or ( please do this
outside since it generates a lot of smoke ) a plain piece of scrap
wood …PAM the pan! so your ingot won’t stick keep the scrap as
together as possible and heat till COMPLETELY melted it should glow
a reddish white and the surface of the metal should look like it’s
roiling …you will know it when you see it ! pour into mold and let
cool thats it. HTH Ron


#3

Lori,

Not a stupid question at all. There are a couple of answers to
it…

  1. Yes, you can melt them down, pour into an ingot mold, roll out
    and work into wire or sheet. For best results, mix in some "fresh"
    casting grain to avoid any problem with brittleness.

  2. But first – Sort them by size or shape and take a good look at
    them. Are there shapes that spark something for you? Can you use
    them as part of fusings in a piece? As the base for another piece?
    What would that odd shape look like if it were reticulated? Or
    partially melted? This is an exercise I use to try and get new ideas
    for abstract designs – it can work well and lets your mind go down
    paths it might not otherwise follow. And best of all, it’s really no
    cost to you other than time – you can experiment to your heart’s
    content and if it doesn’t work, go to step 1 and melt it down.

Have fun! Karen Goeller @Karen_Goeller


#4

No, not a simpleton question – just a simple one. With a simple
answer: --yes!! Most people just use them for casting. And they also
make great little beads (for decoration. Or melt the silver and drop
it in water, or ice, or on a wet broom, or all sorts of things, to
get some really interesting shapes.

Margaret


#5

Not a simpleton question at all Lori, of course you can melt the
silver scraps down, but it may not be cost effective to do so.
Silver is pretty cheap (at least compared to gold or other precious
metals)these days. The effort required to melt and cast, or otherwise
form the silver, may be more effort than the cost of newly refined
sheet or wire. Of course if you are only going to fuse it into a
pile on your soldering surface, it’s no efort at all, but that isn’a
always of much use.

Tom


#6

Hi, Lori-

Not a silly question at all!

Sure you can- the question is how you use them once you have melted
them down? You could cast an ingot and then roll it into sheet or
draw it into wire (too much work for me!) Investment casting,
cuttlebone casting, tufa casting and splash casting are other
options. You can also arrange the pieces on a piece of silver
backing (assuming the scraps are fairly thin) and fuse them for some
interesting surface textures. You could conceivably recycle some of
the little bits as surface design elements on your pieces. I
sometimes raid my scrap jar when I need a tiny piece to fabricate a
finding. I also sometime use scraps to prop up a component in
position for soldering( after painting them with white-out to
prevent adhesion.)

Continuing on, you could melt the silver pieces onto copper sheet
for a multi-color piece ( you can define where the silver will flow
by masking with white-out.) You could fuse the scraps into granules,
and use them for surface decoration.

What other uses have Orchidians found for scrap silver? I’m sure
there are plenty of other possibilities- and sometimes creative
answers to a question like this open up new ideas for design.

Lee Einer


#7

Lori, If you are melting a lot of silver DO NOT POUR INTO AN ALUMINUM
PAN. The aluminum will melt and you will end wup witha big mess.
Melted silver poured into water will form many very interesting
shapes. Most silversmiths use the scrap for casting. The scrap can
also be exchanged for new silver. Good Luck Lee