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Processing silver sweeps and filings


#1

Hello,

What is the proper way to process my silver sweeps and filings? I’d
like to separate the silver from the other materials which include
wood dust from the bench pin and wax from sanding wax. The silver
bits are from either using the saw or good steel files. Finally, I’d
like to take that sterling, melt it down and roll it out into
sheet/wire.

Thanks for any input,
Chris


#2

Hi Chris,

What is the proper way to process my silver sweeps and filings? 

I don’t know about “the” proper way, but this way works for me.

A magnet can be used to remove ferrous metals. The wood is not
really an issue as it burns off, as does the wax.

Melting is the fun bit, and can be amusing when you get it wrong…
in retrospect of course. Meaning if you are using a torch to melt
your lemel there is a good chance to have a silver snow storm, unless
you take precautions. Wrapping the lemel in wet paper toweling to
stop it blowing everywhere.

Personally I use a crucible furnace, there’s no gas jet impinging on
the lemel, so it just sits there and melts.

Make sure you use flux, and your ingot mould of choice. Everyone on
this list knows that my ingot mould choice is Delft Clay.

Once you have your ingot you should be able to roll it out straight
away.

Kindest regards Charles A.


#3
Personally I use a crucible furnace, there's no gas jet impinging
on the lemel, so it just sits there and melts. Make sure you use
flux, and your ingot mould of choice. Everyone on this list knows
that my ingot mould choice is Delft Clay. Once you have your ingot
you should be able to roll it out straight away. 

Thanks, this seems pretty straightforward. I will give it a try.

Best,
Chris


#4
Thanks, this seems pretty straightforward. I will give it a try. 

Before you melt it, you should take steps to clean the filings. File
teeth break off, so often what seems like clean filings will have
non-trivial amounts of iron/steel in there too. Even tiny amounts of
iron in your silver (or gold) can drastically alter the working
characteristics, and not for the better. You also would benefit from
removing organic contaminants, as well as abrasive dust from various
abrasives, as well as dust filed from the bench pin, and who knows
what all else ends up as dust.

If you melt it directly, some of that junk can harm your metal. Iron
in particular you need to get rid of. A good strong magnet run
through the filings to extract the steel dust does that trick. Put
the magnet in a zip lock bag first, so then by simply peeling the
ziplock bag off the magnet, you remove the filings, leaving the
magnet cleat.

Of the rest, some will simply join the flux and slag off when you
melt, but you can still get a better melt by cleaning the filings
more. Soaking in lye (sodium hydroxide, or use it’s cousin, potassium
hydroxide) will do much to clean things like orgainics, wax, dirt,
etc, and leaves the metal (after rinsing) in better shape to get a
clean melt.

Peter


#5

Last summer I went gold mining for the first time, yes we found gold
in GA! I t was so great but I also learned the proper way to swirl
the water in a pan so that all the lighter materials floated out and
the heavier gold stayed at the bottom.

So I tried it with my bench sweeps and the dog hair, wax, wood and
light dirt floated and the gold and steel stayed in the bottom,I let
it dry and than ran a magnet over it and mostly clean filings. Not
sure I would melt it down and reuse it but it was lighter and more
accurate weight that I send to the refinery for clean gold.

It was alilttle time consuming and fun on a hot day to take a break
and cleanly bench and see a difference.

Love to hear other ideas to clean bench sweeps

Lauren