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Recycling crucibles

Just a curious question - how many of you recycle your crucibles
after many rounds of melting? Do you send them off to the refiners
to salvage the little bits of gold or silver? I have several
unusable crucibles that I can’t use anymore.

Being in NH definitely has its quirks. I’ve a native, so NH is my
home. However, the characters I get time to time in my jewelry
classes can really exasperate me, entertain me or leave me
wondering, what the heck? I was teaching how to recycle your silver
scrap into useable ingots androll out into wire. I had a student who
was a thrifty NHer, who asked, can you salvage the crucibles after
they are hopefully gunked up with borax and other weird things? I
said, well, if you don’t mind spending a few days chipping away at
the glassy borax, going through diamond bitsgrinding way, sure, you
can try salvage them. Be my guest. At $60 ahour for my labor rate,
it wasn’t worth my time to spend days trying torecover my crucibles.
I said, I rather spend the $5 on a new crucible, than to waste $500
of my labor on an old one. Honey, save your energies, that’s what I

Well, the idea has stuck. Problem with January to March is that you
are liberated from holiday orders, and have free time to putter at
the bench. Dangerous ideas lurk… mmmm, let’s see what happens?
I’ve gottwo of my really bad crucibles soaking for days in the
ultrasonic, withheat and the ultrasonic running time to time. A lot
of the borax has come off, and most of the silver granules, I was
able to recover. Now, maybe I should try grinding off the few
stubborn borax spots. We’ll see. It’s an experiment, nothing more.
At least, I’ll get a story out of it.

Here is another NH quirk some of you may relate. There are a lot of
people that will do anything to avoid paying postage. I’ve had
students drive an entire day down to CT, even NYC to go buy tools
and equipment, rather than pay postage. They rather pay the $30 in
gas than $10 in postage. I rather not drive long-distance if I can
help it and pay the postage to get my supplies delivered - it’s more
time I can devote to thebench. However, if it is very heavy tools
like a monster rolling mill, then I will drive down and get it, just
because the freight alone willbe $200, versa $40 for gas. Have any
of you are guilty of that? Let’s trade some funny, oddball, or weird
jewelry or metals stories - I’ll love to hear them. We jewelers and
metalsmiths can be funny. Joy in extraordinary foggy NH, 50 degrees,
and we had snow on Monday. Sighhhhh… the NH way.

We just send our old used crucibles into our local refiner AAA
Precious Metals.

We cast a lot of gold. The old flux in the crucible is red colored.
I’m not a chemist or metalurgist, but I do know that true ruby
colored glass has gold in it. I figure since the old flux is red it
may have some gold in it so we send the whole crucible in. They are
cheap enough to buy new ones.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

I had to stop and realize, that spending 3-4 hours and “trying” to
make a stamp, is a lot time consumed that could be used more
productively. Especially when, when the $10-20 stamp was so much
better than anything I was capable. Live and learn deals in life.

Dave Leininger

Well, the grand experiment is over. It’s not worth trying to salvage
crucibles. I only did it to see what will happen and tell future
studentswhat will the end results be. As a jewelry/metalworking
teacher, I’malways on my toes and have to answer the darnest
questions. I personally don’t want to salvage my old crucibles but
sell them off to my refiners, but I wanted to be able to give a
honest answer. I let my ultrasonic do all the work, and I observed
what happens. I don’t feel the structural integrity of the ceramic
crucibles are good so I rather buy new ones than to try to recycle
crucibles. Since I work so much in silver, my crucibles tend to get
gray over time.

As for gold, I know from lampworking beads for many years that gold
is used to get the fabulous ruby color. If you use boro glass, you
get allkinds of wonderful metallic shades and tones, and naturally,
I prefer boro glass over Moretti when I get to do lampworking in my
spare time. Iwork more in Moretti glass now, due to my special
requirements, but hope to get back to boro glass in the future