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Reticulation


#1

Hi everyone,

I joined up a month or so ago and have been lurking around the
corner reading all the posts and getting some quite good info on
techniques. I have 2 questions on techniques that I hope can be
answered. One question has to do with a post by calgang today
on fusing gold. I would like to know the proper proceedure for
and the techniques used to fuse gold together so I wouldn’t have
to solder so much. Almost all of my work is fabricated and some
of my pieces have had 10, 12, even 15 or more parts to them. It
can get real tricky at times not to melt something or have
something move that has been previously soldered. ANY help there
would be GREATLY appreciated, thanks.

The other question deals with reticulation. Does anyone have
experience with this form of texturing? I need a good 14kt gold
formula to use and then some step-by-step technical instruction
in applying it. My success has been sporadic and what results I
have achieved have been somewhat less than desireable. Some help
is needed. Any out there? Thanks to any and all, in advance.

Barry


#2

Barry

Reticulation requires the build-up of a skin of high karat gold
on the surface. This skin melts at a higher temperature than the
alloy underneath. Repeated pickling or acid etching which leaches
out the alloying metals (copper and silver) is necessary to build
up this skin. Higher karat alloys may give better results.

Rick
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#3

Hi,

I’ve finished some reticulated earrings a few months ago and
found it to be a fun process. My earrings were in sterling
silver, tho’ and I don’t know how much this would apply to gold,
but I think the principle would be the same.

I set a piece of sterling on a magnesium block. My instructor
have once told me to put a thin layer of firescale on the silver
before doing the reticulation. Set your torch with an oxidizing
flame and heat the piece until is red. Watch carefully, you’ll
see the surface of the silver begin to melt. Allow the surface
to melt a little and take your flame away. This should leave a
wrinkled surface in the place where the silver started melting.
You continue doing this, moving the torch across the surface
until you get the effect you want. Be careful not to melt a hole
in your piece. The idea is to melt the surface of the metal
and not the whole thing. Thin gauges tend to work better, but
there is also a better chance of melting the whole thing. I had
also tried reticulation on copper and got a very interesting
effect. I had laid a piece of copper on a heavy wire mesh on
top of a metal stand and burned the heck out of it. The top
surface wasn’t interesting at all, but when I turned it over,
there was an amazing landscape of pits and wrinkles. I made some
copper and Nu-Gold earrings out of it. When I got pictures I’ll
post them to the gallery. Basically I found reticulation to be
almost a no brainer kind of technique. The only real way to mess
up is if you melt your metal down. So I’d suggest you try it on
sterling first before you risk your gold piece.

Hope this helps,
Nicolette Hiott


#4

I would like to know the proper proceedure for
and the techniques used to fuse gold together so I wouldn’t have
to solder so much. Almost all of my work is fabricated and some
of my pieces have had 10, 12, even 15 or more parts to them. It
can get real tricky at times not to melt something or have
something move that has been previously soldered. ANY help there
would be GREATLY appreciated, thanks.

Basically support the parts so they don’t collapse when red hot,
I like to use a heavy borax flux but a reducing flame will
protect the metal enought to fuse as well, heat until the surface
looks ‘wet’ and the join ‘flashes’ (for an instant it looks like
mercury at the join), then remove the heat. If you are careful it
is as clean as a solder join, if you heat longer you get the
’fried’ texture that is often associated with fusing. If you are
using self-alloyed materials and you were not careful when you
made them so they contain dissolved gases these can appear as
lumps when you go high enough in temperature to fuse. If you have
a larger flame keep the flame moving and use the bottom third of
the flame (reducing area and gives you more time to think).

The other question deals with reticulation. Does anyone have
experience with this form of texturing? I need a good 14kt gold
formula to use and then some step-by-step technical instruction
in applying it. My success has been sporadic and what results I
have achieved have been somewhat less than desireable. Barry

You can fuse a surface to get texture (as described above) but
this is not true reticulation. Reticulation works best when you
have a lower melting core and higher melting exterior, then you
heat it to the point the core starts to be mobile and the
pressure of the torch flame (I like to glance it at about 30
degrees) across the surface) cause the exterior shell to buckle
and move, just like the mountains on the earth, paint drying in
a can, the skin on burnt milk in a pan. It can be very well
controlled, really amazing conscious patterns are available with
lots of practice. You have to be careful about heating the top
exterior to the point that it alloys with the core-then things
smooth out. It is possible to use white-out, paint it on the
surface and then heat to reticulate. Where the white out is stays
smooth-everywhere else reticulates. Another way of resisting the
reticulation in specific places for pattern development one can
place smooth pieces of steel under the spots yo want smooth,
they act like heat sinks and prevent the reticulation where they
are in contact with the sheet. If you are reticlating a three
dimensional object (reticulation silver is rather brittle and
does not like to be formed after you have reticulated it-so you
need to do most forming first) then back it with casting
investment so it does not collapse when you are reticulating it,
the heat sink and refractive nature of the investment also helps
prevent your burning through.

Materials: best to use is 800.200 silver, commonly sold as coin
silver at your lcal coin shop-just roll out your coin to .5 or
.8mm and go at it. You can also alloy your own reticulation
alloy: 8 parts AG, 2 parts Cu, melt the copper first. Use a clean
smooth brick or charcoal underneath your sheet. Count on
practicing-learn on the silver first and then try it on the gold.
In silver you depletion silver the sheet for a while 5-8 times
heating and pickling until the surface shows dead white while
heating and before pickling. This creates the external higher
melting ‘shell’. I brass brush the surface with soapy water in
between heating and pickling steps.

For gold you will need to heat and pickle as well to create the
different melting temperature shell but I think you will find
your results are never as lovely as with reticulation silver. You
can also reticulate brass with practice and a friend of mine does
this with a mini-torch and leaves portions of the sheet smooth to
better contrast with the textured areas.

All of which brings me to my advice: practice first with silver
reticulation alloy, count on only some parts being good, then
when you do get a good part cut it out, rubber mold it and cast
your 14k into that shape. You just got a repeateable component
too.

hope this helps

Charles

Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

Metals info download web site: http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/tip_sear.htm
Product descriptions: http://www.ganoksin.com/kosana/brain/brain.htm
Links list hosted at the Metal Web News:
http://tbr.state.tn.us/~wgray/jewelry/jewelry-link.html


#5

Hi gang,

A while back someone said,

I set a piece of sterling on a magnesium block.<<

To use the Wash DC term, I think this is a mis-speak. Magnesium
is a meta l that when combined with air & heat creates quite a
bright light & a lot more heat!

I believe the word wanted was ‘magnesia’, that’s the material
used to mfg the soft firebricks (other items too) used for
soldering by alot of metalsmiths.

Have fun soldering, but please, don’t light up your life!

Dave


#6

It is possible to use nickle silver as well as the gold, NuGold
and silver. Nickle silver does not need pretreatment to bring up
a firecoat. The result is a variable grid and can be quite
interesting.

Marilyn Smith


#7

In a message dated 97-06-06 13:11:21 EDT, you write:

<< NuGold >>

Although I have some, I’ve always wondered what NUGOLD really
consists of. Anybody out there have an idea?


#8

Although I have some, I’ve always wondered what NUGOLD really
consists of. Anybody out there have an idea?

Nugold and similar ‘jewelers’ bronze (not a bronze at all a
trade misnomer (could be a lie?) are high copper content brasses.
Regular brass is 35% zinc: 65% copper, Nugold type metals are 5%
(or so) zinc, the rest copper.

Charles

Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

Metals info download web site: http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/tip_sear.htm
Product descriptions: http://www.ganoksin.com/kosana/brain/brain.htm
Links list hosted at the Metal Web News:
http://tbr.state.tn.us/~wgray/jewelry/jewelry-link.html


#9

Nugold and similar ‘jewelers’ bronze (not a bronze at all a trade
misnomer (could be a lie?) are high copper content brasses.
Regular brass is 35% zinc: 65% copper, Nugold type metals are 5%
(or so) zinc, the rest copper.

Thank you, Charles, your discription helps me understand what it
is that I’m dealing with! : )


#10

Yes yes yes!!! Thanks to all you wonderful people, I’ve just
made my first piece of true reticulated (as opposed to
vermiculated) silver, and it felt totally incredible, pushing
that molten core around with my torch, while the surface
remained unmelted. Wow! I could go on doing this all day long!
This is Fun!

Thank you for the delight.

Best wishes,
Vira.


#11

I am looking for imformation on reticulation. Not the process
itself, but a bit more on the history of reticulation. If any
artist out there uses reticuation in their pieces, please contact
me. I would like to discuss your work. Daryn Pake East Carolina
University


#12

Daryn, read your request for reticulation onformation. I think
you should contact John Satterfield and LINDA DARty at ECU and
ask them. Maybe they can pull from their vast resources and get a
speaker in your classes to discuss and demo reticulation. Keep
in touch! P Cubed


#13
 I am looking for imformation on reticulation.  Not the
process itself, but a bit more on the history of reticulation. 
If any artist out there uses reticuation in their pieces,
please contact me.  I would like to discuss your work. Daryn
Pake East Carolina University 

I use “reticulation silver” once in a while. It’s fun to work
with, it’s not always easy to get the pattern you want. I have
not been doing it for a long time.


#14

Dear Daryn- In a class I took, reticulation was explained(If I
remember correctly) as being a process where the inside of the
metal cooled more slowly than the outside therefore you got the
reticulated surface- I’d dare to describe it as something akin
to crumpled tissue paper that someone has tried to uncrumple.
In my case, we worked with a 80% silver 20% copper sheet that we
had poured and rolled to the right thickness-about 18 GA.
(Hoover & Strong sells a 82% alloy that I’ve heard is good)
This was heated using a prestolight(SP?) torch , small tip, and
as the metal began to reticulate, the flame was moved gradually
along the entire surface to cover the entire sheet. Some people
accidentally melted their pieces of metal- so be warned!

Alan Revere has a video where he makes a “reticulated” set of
wedding bands in sterling- The technique is interesting but
sand paper gives a much similar and durable texture-in my
opinion! The reticulation in a higher copper content alloy,
however is great, and the piece would have to be exposed to a
lot of wear to get rid of the texture. However, I don’t
remember how hard the alloy would be…

Good luck-hope this helps
Calvin


#15

Metals Technic has an article by Heikki Sepp�. He has a section
of historical notes. He states that the technique was discovered
by accident. He traces his involvement to the studio of Carl
Faberge`. he had the opportunity to study with craftsmen who had
worked in the studio before the revolution. Because the silver
that was used in Russa was 820, it was easy to accidentally
reticulate. He also worked on gold reticulltion in the 60’s.

Marilyn Smith


#16

Have been following both of these threads with interest. With
regard to reticulation, I have done a little of it and find it
fascinating. I think what makes it most interesting is that the
patterns you get are so random.

I have found the metal to be somewhat brittle afterwards and
have also found that it soaks up solder like crazy when used in
other pieces. In playing around with it, I have been able to form
it to some degree, I have done some enameling with it and found
that to be very interesting and have done a couple of granulation
pieces with it (altho you end up losing some of the patterns with
this last. ) I’d also like to hear from those who have worked
with it. I have used and like the metal from Hauser and Miller
supplier about the best.


#17

I also use the metal from Hauser and Miller. It works SO much
better than regular sterling . . .


#18

Here is a reticulated pendant in 14kt that I did just a while
ago.

http://www.empirenet.com/~hansen/fineart/bullet.html

Any feedback will be appreciated.

Barry
Hansen Designs


#19

Hi Folks,

I just remembered something I learned the first time I tried
reticulation, which may improve a beginner’s success. The
wrinkled effect comes as a result of pulling the torch away
(cooling). Now, I “knew” this academically, but all our other
processes condition us to look for things occurring through the
application of heat.

So the trick is to heat the metal sufficiently, then pull the
torch away (or move on to another area of the sheet) so that the
effect can develop. If you linger looking for something to
happen while the torch is applied, you risk overheating and
putting a hole in your metal.

Hope this helps someone!

Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com
http://www.sebaste.com


#20

I think it’s great - question, tho. Is reticulating gold much
different than silver? Do you have to get a special alloy and if
so, do you make your own alloy or buy yours commercially? Do you
have the same process of heating/pickling/heating, etc. that you
do with silver? Really neat stuff !!!

Laura