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Reducing silver ingot to useable sizes


#1

Hi Orchidians,

Last year I acquired a bar of fine silver (which had been purchased
as an investment during the boom back in the '80s). This bar/ingot
weighs 86 oz. Its big and heavy.

Can anyone suggest how to reduce the ingot to useable sizes. I
normally alloy my own Sterling in quantities up to 20 - 30 grams at a
time (handheld crucible and propane torch.) Cutting chunks off the
"brick" with a hacksaw is not only time consuming but has the
potential of contaminating the metal and can be very wasteful as a
hacksaw produces a lot of sawdust or “lemel” which is not all
recoverable. I don’t really need a $1300 paperweight… any
suggestions?

John Bowling


#2

If it’s serialised ( like Englehard bars, or other manufacturers bars
containing an identifiable number and date- in some cases) rather
than trying to cut it with a heavy dutty slitter, or reinforced
cut-off wheel into usable pieces that can be rolled out, I would send
it off to Hoover&strong- in the case of traceble bars, they don’t
need to assay for the content- and you can just exchange it for the
mill products you want at this time, or have a cheque cut and sent,
or put a portion of the value (based on the spot price the day they
receive it) into an account for you and the materials you want now
sent out…Leave tackling a hefty bar like that to those with the
equipment, or buy an ingot mould - the type that allows for pouring
rods, and roll from there. If you have access to a machinist shop you
may find that they have heavy duty shears tht can reduce the block
into usable sizes too…all-in-all from what you are describing and
your needs, better to send it in, while silver is still high in the
market price, and draw upon the credit you will receive frm
hoover&Strong- (or any number of firms), that way, you don’t loose
value but gain a long time asset and the potential to order a wide
variety of findings as well s mill products that aren’t all fine
silver… I don’t know who told you the lemel is of no value- it goes
for the same spot price (minus 10-20% depending on the dealer you
choose) when turning it in for refining,and contamination removal
is as eaay (in what it sounds like you are doing) as passing a
magnet ove rthe dust pikle to remove the broken saw teeth and other
ferrous bits that may have gotten into the pile generated when you
saw it into chunks…You can also remove the contaminants with itric
acid. However, carefully collecting the dust immediately after sawing
should leave no time for contaminants to set in…and a melt with a
stir of a carbon or graphite rod will also remove any impurities that
appear on the molten metal’s surface…rer


#3

Trade it to any of the metal suppliers for an equivalent amount of
sheet, wire, shot etc. in sizes you use. Much less wasteful and
easier on you. You will have to cover the milling costs but still
probably a better use of your time than trying to alloy and mill
that much metal.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4

John,

Do you have a crucible or melting pot large enough for the ingot? If
so, get a really big bucket of cold water (like a quench bucket
that’s really clean). Melt the ingot in the crucible, then pour
slowly into the water, keeping the torch on the molten metal the
whole time you’re pouring. You’ll get wonderful “casting grain” out
of the pour. Just pour the water through a fine mesh sieve which will
leave the grain.

Then you can proceed as usual with measuring and alloying or pouring
into smaller ingots that can be rolled out… or whatever you
normally do with them.

Hope this helps!

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


#5
Do you have a crucible or melting pot large enough for the ingot?
If so, get a really big bucket of cold water (like a quench bucket
that's really clean). Melt the ingot in the crucible, then pour
slowly into the water, keeping the torch on the molten metal the
whole time you're pouring. You'll get wonderful "casting grain"
out of the pour. Just pour the water through a fine mesh sieve
which will leave the grain. 

Unless he has a melting furnace he is not going to be able to melt
that large an ingot. Certainly not with a studio torch maybe with a
large industrial rosebud torch. It is 7 troy pounds of silver for
goodness sake it has a volume of slightly more than one fluid cup
measure (9 fl oz)

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550