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Reticulation on a formed surface


#1

I am a jewelry student researching reticulation for a project and I
can not seem to find any about reticulation on a formed
surface. Where can I find on this process or any first
hand experience?

Thank you


#2

Claire- The fastest and best way to find out is to get some metal,
form it and burn the ***** out of it. That’s my approach to teaching
soldering.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#3

This will be an interesting thread to watch. When all is said and
done the only product that will do this is Crinkle. This is a bi-
metal developed be Shining Wave Metals and distributed by Reactive
Metals Studio. It consists of two layers. The bottom, heaviest layer,
is fine silver. The top is standard reticulation alloy. They are
fused together using the same methods as those applied to mokume-gane
laminations. The material may be cut, pierced, formed and then
reticulated in one final step. This material requires no depletion
plating steps. The reticulation will occur the first time adequate
heat is applied. The metal will not deform during the reticulation.
The reticulation layer can actually be melted on top of the fine
silver. It can be stirred. Bits and piece can be added into it.
Effects can be varied by applying a variety of torch techniques. It
is not the same as depletion plated reticulation alloy alone. It is
much the same, but ultimately different. It will never be as hard
because it is based on fine silver. It’s pretty much fun to use,
clean and a fast way to get great results.

Bill
Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sharon


#4

Hi Claire, have you tried looking through the orchid the archives?

There’s more where that come from

Hope this helps!
Laura


#5
I am a jewelry student researching reticulation for a project and
I can not seem to find any about reticulation on a
formed surface. Where can I find on this process or any
first hand experience? 

For reticulation to work, you must create metal with surface composed
of higher carat gold. To create such surface strong acids are
involved and book publishers do not want a liability printing
instructions. Another problem is that to work with silver is far more
difficult, and beginner must start with gold. That is a non-starter to
many, so book would not have readers. That is why you may find a short
chapter here and there, but details are usually lacking.

leonid surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6

Hi,

I am a jewelry student researching reticulation for a project and
I can not seem to find any about reticulation on a
formed surface. Where can I find on this process or any
first hand experience? 

I consider Paulette Myers to be the “Queen of Reticulation”. She was
one of Heikki Seppa’s first graduate students at Washington
University in St. Louis----I think that it was after he introduced
reticulation to the U.S., but before he began inventing Shell Forming
(anticlastic and synclastic forming).

Paulette teaches across the river from St. Louis, at SIUE–Southern
Illinois University of Edwardsville. She occasionally does
workshops. I suggest that you research her, and contact her to ask
for any handouts she can give you.

When I saw Paulette demonstrate at a symposium organized by Jeff
Herman, director of the Society of American Silversmiths, she
supported formed silver with fiber-frax (not sure of the spelling),
or kiln blanket. For safety, be sure to find the type that dissolves
in your lungs, rather than the toxic type that stays in your lungs.

After watching her demonstration, I have successfully reticulated
formed objects.

I have also seen work that was supported by wet sand, but I like the
heat-reflective quality for the fiber-frax better.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com/


#7
For reticulation to work, you must create metal with surface
composed of higher carat gold. To create such surface strong acids
are involved and book publishers do not want a liability printing
instructions. Another problem is that to work with silver is far
more difficult, and beginner must start with gold. That is a
non-starter to many, so book would not have readers. That is why
you may find a short chapter here and there, but details are
usually lacking. 

Leonid exagerates more than a bit. I have done nice reticulation 3D
work with 800 silver and an investment core. Not too much fun but
not really tricky and not that difficicult. Never messed with
reticulating gold except by accident but lots of 800 silver

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#8

I haven’t done any reticulation since college (long ago & far away),
but just came across instructions for it in Jinks McGrath’s book,
“The Jeweler’s Directory of Decorative Finishes”. It’s a wonderful
guide for anyone doing surface work & speaks to all levels of
experience. Be well, do good work,

Cristine McC


#9
Not too much fun but not really tricky and not that difficicult. 

Are you talking about controlled reticulation, or putting torch to
the metal, and accepting whatever comes out?

leonid surpin
www.studioarete.com


#10

Leonid,

Are you talking about controlled reticulation, or putting torch to
the metal, and accepting whatever comes out? 

In my experience reticulation at best is only semi controlled even
after lots of practice.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#11
In my experience reticulation at best is only semi controlled even
after lots of practice. 

That’s what makes it fun.

Peter Rowe


#12
In my experience reticulation at best is only semi controlled even
after lots of practice. 

I do not claim a lot of practice, but take a look at this picture

http://beladora.com/viewitem.asp?idProduct=1706&priceRange=0x999999

This is actually one of my early works during my tenure at Tiffany,
so I can speak with authority about this piece.

The bracelet is made by cutting strips of gold and then every strip
is given reticulated edge in accordance with design. Because this is
a copyrighted work, deviation from design are not allowed, so results
of reticulation must be predictable.

To assemble the bracelet, solder cannot be used because of the
reticulated edge, the gap between the pieces is large. The strips
were joined by using process similar to granulation, so the
appearance is very clean.

The main difficulty in designs like this is to obtain nice
transition from reticulated surface to the regular gold appearance. I
am going to give myself a compliment by saying that this is a good
example of controlled reticulation.

leonid surpin
www.studioarete.com


#13

I have to second the comment that silver reticulation is not
especially difficult. Hoover and Strong carries an 80% silver/20%
copper blend that works beautifully. I have not tried to reticulate
gold as I’m relatively new to working with metals, but even as a
relative novice, reticulating silver is fun and can result in
beautiful forms to work with. I also form the reticulated metal, set
stones in it, etc. Don’t be afraid to play with it. (I was taught
that the 80/20 alloy is more brittle than SS, so I anneal it pretty
well before forming it. I’ve also been told that it’s more porous
than SS, so is a bit more challenging to solder, but again, it seems
to be working ok for me so far… knock on wood.) I would highly
recommend taking a class from someone who is experienced so they can
show you the details of how to raise the silver to the surface, and
how the metal looks as it approaches the liquidus state.


#14

The reason 80% fine silver-20% copper is used for reticulation is
that when the sheet is heated and pickled, up to 5 times, a skin of
fine silver is developed. When heated to develop the reticulation
pattern, the center gets molten while the outside does not. When done
right, surface develops peaks and valleys. Gold alloys do not do the
same thing and heat pattern on gold does not look the same. I have
not seen good peak and valley pattern developed using gold.

Someone else mentioned molding silver reticulation and casting the
wax using gold for a good reticulation pattern and this is what I do.

Two good examples of reticulation are on Harold O’Connor’s website,

http://www.haroldoconnor.com/album/photos/photo_21.html
http://www.haroldoconnor.com/album/photos/photo_22.html

Other good examples are on Judy Hoch’s website:

http://www.marstal.com/img/pd05212.jpg
http://www.marstal.com/img/Gabrinerphoto_7380.jpg

I would be interested if anyone has seen any good quality
reticulation work that can be viewed on other artists websites.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#15

Leonid,

I do not claim a lot of practice, but take a look at this picture
http://beladora.com/viewitem.asp?idProduct=1706&priceRange=0x999999

I suspect that what you refer to as reticulation is not quite the
same as what most others on the list are thinking of regarding that
technique. Reticulation is not simply melting the surface of the
metal. In the example you show (beautiful work, by the way), the
edges look to be melted back to an organic look. But the surfaces of
that melted edge are basically fairly smooth and untextured beyond
the variances simply occuring from variable degrees of melting. That
sort of work, which many of us might refer to as fusing (or just
melting) is indeed nicely controllable, especially with gold.

Reticulation, however is quite different. It relies on the creation,
on the surface of the metal, of a surface layer with a higher melting
point. Usually this is done by depletion gilding the surface by
repeated heating and pickling to oxidize, and then remove the surface
copper content, resulting in, with silver, a fine silver (or fine
silver with mixed oxides, but less metallic copper) surface layer
with a higher melting point. When this metal surface is heated with
a hot, fairly forceful (like neutral to slightly oxidizing, so the
gas is moving at a pretty good speed) flame, it’s then possible to
get it so the interior of the sheet melts, and flows around, even
pushed around by the “wind” of the flame, but without the surface
itself actually melting. It wrinkles as it’s pulled around by the
movement of the molten metal underneath. The result is a distinct
texture which varies from tree bark to ripples like the view of sand
dunes from the air, to various other interesting textures. You can
execute this sort of thing with either silver or gold alloys. Gold,
at least in my experience, is not noticably easier to reticulate,
though cleaning it up again afterwards is easier, since it doesn’t
end up with deep fire scale or oxide problems as usually happens
with silver.

Forgive me if I’ve misninterpreted your posts and that photo, but
from what I can see, that bracelet is not a reticulated texture, but
rather, a fused/melted one. If this is indeed the case, then perhaps
any difference in opinion regarding reticulation between you and
other posters could be chalked up to a simple difference in how you
and others are actually defining the term, rather than a difference
in technique.

Search google images for “reticulation” and you’ll find a number of
good examples of various true reticulated textures. As well, if you
can find images of Faberge reticulation, his workshops use of the
method, usually in silver, are also good examples. Google didn’t
immediately point me to a good image of Faberge reticulation,
however, so you might need to consult an actual printed book on his
work…

As I said, the key difference here is that in true reticulation (at
least as most of us define it), the surface of the metal specifically
does not melt, while the interior of the sheet does, pulling and
distorting the floating unmelted outer skin into interesting
textures.

Peter Rowe


#16
I have to second the comment that silver reticulation is not
especially difficult. Hoover and Strong carries an 80% silver/20%
copper blend that works beautifully 

This comment piqued my curiosity, so I went to Google images and
searched for reticulation. Based on my limited research, I have to
make following observation. Because silver reticulation is
excruciatingly difficult, the contemporary practice of reticulation
have settled for results of the over- reticulation. ( just don’t know
what else to call it )

Reticulation is when one heat a small area of metal, until metal
begins to expand. Because of surrounding metal kept cool, the heated
portion have nowhere to go but up. One must stop at the right moment
or the spot will collapse! Once results are achieved, the different
spot is selected and so on. Correctly reticulated piece will never
have a sunken appearance. It should look like an abstract repousse
with random texture, or not even be an abstract. By strategically
selecting areas to work on, one can actually shape metal in
controlled manner.

The difficulty with silver arises due to silver heat conductivity.
The time interval between expansion and collapse is miniscule.
Expansion must be predicted rather than waiting to see it happens.

80/20 silver/copper alloy does not offer any advantage for
reticulation. If anything it makes things more difficult. 95/5
silver/copper, or even higher is the right alloy to use.

leonid surpin
www.studioarete.com


#17
Gold alloys do not do the same thing and heat pattern on gold does
not look the same. I have not seen good peak and valley pattern
developed using gold. 

They don’t do it as easily, Richard. But it can be done. 14K yellow
gold, without zinc or silicon, especially, works fairly well. I’ve
found, though, that it’s harder to control, so it’s harder to get
uniform good patterns over a larger area, and harder to prevent
accidentally actually melting the surface in places, which ruins the
pattern at those spots. The pieces I’ve done with it have ended up
with smaller panels of reticulation cut from a larger piece of metal.
Not all the larger piece was usable But it CAN be done.

Peter Rowe


#18
In the example you show (beautiful work, by the way), the edges
look to be melted back to an organic look. But the surfaces of that
melted edge are basically fairly smooth and untextured beyond the
variances simply occuring from variable degrees of melting. 

It is true, except one thing. In this type of design, you get a
drawing with all the details. Every strip is cut to predetermine
shape in accordance with design and edge is actually reticulated.
Fusing the edge does not guaranty design conformance. Since, one must
account for shrinkage, the strips cut with allowance. So to be
precise, it is probably a hybrid of both technics.

leonid surpin
www.studioarete.com


#19

I have made some experiences with reticulation, and for me worked
very well with silver with deep and relatively controlled patterns,
but I can’t say the same with gold where the result where more a
sandy surface then reticulation itself. I Thought that I should try
a different alloy (now I use a FLEXIA by PRO-GOLD AF 51 - master
alloy for plastic deformation yellow gold 18k).

Who have some suggestion?

Vlad


#20

I’ve been following this post and am surprised by some of the
responses.

I have never had any problems with reticulating silver and whilst
gold does not work in quite the same way, it is by no means more or
less difficult to reticulate. The only tedious part of the process is
the preparation: Anneal the silver 8-10 times, leave to cool
properly (do not quench) pickle and clean thoroughly after each
annealing.

Be careful when using very thin silver and try to avoid thick silver
(2mm is probably your limit) What you place beneath your silver will
affect the pattern and the time the reticulation will take. Using a
honeycomb block is best but make sure it is clean! Charcoal also
works well but I tend to heat the charcoal up before putting the
silver on it.

After all the annealing and pickling then heat up the whole piece of
silver to the normal point of annealing, distributing the heat
evenly. A little while later the silver should begin to reticulate.
Use the flame to ‘draw’ on the silver. With practice you’ll be able
to create some patterns but I never worry. Be very careful with thin
silver as you are likely to burn through it and be careful of edges
as these will obviously melt! Reticulation is not just a case of the
surface melting (I’ve read one or two comments stating that the
surface should liquify) That is not proper reticulation, that’s just
melting the surface. Reticulation changes the molecular structure of
the metal, as many people have pointed out. I find it hard to
believe that you have had problems researching reticulation. I did a
project several years ago on surface textures and had no problems
whatsoever. And I wasn’t even a member of Ganoksin then!

Good luck
Laura
London