A while back there was a brief discussion about heat treating
Argentium to boost it's hardness. Cynthia Eid has mentioned this
process on a few occasions but in relation to the "twice as hard"
claim that's been made I had said "I'll believe it when I see it".
Needless to say someone contacted me offline and asked it I'd tried
it yet. That prompted me to do so and (drumroll) it works!
The process I followed is on the ArgentiumSilver.com website and is,
1. Heat the alloy to a pale-red annealing temperature (approximately
1050F/565C), wait until any visible red heat has disappeared and then
2. Precipitation harden by heating the alloy at 580F/300C for
approximately 30-45 minutes and air cool to room temperature.
I followed this as best I could using a torch and our domestic oven
which maxes out at about 275C.
To be honest I still don't know about the "twice as hard" business
because I have no way to measure that. But the piece I oven treated
came out as one stiff little piece of metal! I think it's safe to say
that this will prove to be a _very_ handy property of the alloy.
Well anyway, that's the Reader's Digest version of the story. If you
want the gory details you can find them on my "Working with
Argentium" blog at
In The City of Light