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Safety master alloys and gemstones


#1

Good day, to you all,

I have a great interest in gemstones (I collect and
metallurgy. Somehow, this two added up to jewelery making. :slight_smile:

I had recently self-made a cement refractory furnace. I’m planning
to use natural gas as the heating element.

  1. This is a list of the safety equipment I have:

Face protection, gloves, good ventilation system, thick jacket and
pants, boots, did I miss out anything?

  1. In the metals aspect, how do I make a master alloy? What I know
    about making master alloys is that you have to melt the lower
    melting point elements first, then a solid higher melting point
    metal is added in. I am really interested to MAKE MY OWN master
    alloys.

An example, aluminium melts at 660C and silver at 950C, does that
means I have to melt the aluminium first, then put the silver in? At
what temperatue is the best to add the next metal to an alloy?
Should I just follow the ratios to melt?

  1. I heard that pure gold is too soft to hold any and
    therefore have to be alloyed with copper. How about silver?

I hope you can answer my questions.

Thanks.


#2
    In the metals aspect, how do I make a master alloy? What I
know about making master alloys is that you have to melt the lower
melting point elements first, then a solid higher melting point
metal is added in. 

The other way round. Melt the highter melting point component first,
then add the other components in descending order.

        An example, aluminium melts at 660C and silver at 950C,
does that means I have to melt the aluminium first, then put the
silver in? 

What alloy are you making with aluminium and silver? I think
aluminium would not alloy with silver. Maybe only a tiny bit as a
deoxidiser, perhaps.

I’m sure you’ll get many answers to this one.

I heard that pure gold is too soft to hold any and
therefore have to be alloyed with copper.  How about silver? 

Pure gold is suitable as a bezel material, for examples, see

http://www.fingers.co.nz/exhibitors/ann_culy.htm
http://www.adam.co.nz/making/jewellery/rings/purity

and pure silver is also suitable. I use it for all my silver bezels.

Brian

B r i a n A d a m
e y e g l a s s e s j e w e l l e r y
Auckland NEW ZEALAND
www.adam.co.nz


#3

Purity rings–so fine silver is strong enough after all?

Dear Brian,

Thank you so much for the link to your “purity rings.” I have been
wondering about how strong fine silver actually is and whether
alloys weren’t actually invented for things like teapots and forks.
You obviously believe fine silver is strong enough to make a ring,
which will be subject to a lot more “abuse” than a pair of
earrings.

So, is fine silver wire only strong enough when it’s hammered a lot?
What about tumbling, which is so popular with PMCers? Is there a
certain B & S gauge below (above?) which it will be too weak to
stand up to either hammering or tumbling–or just too weak, period?
And, if you hadn’t added the gold bezel, could you have fused the
band, rather than soldering it?

I welcome answers from other Orchidians as well. My questions are
not academic: somebody has offered to pay for me to take a little
fusing workshop and I’ve gotten very excited about potential
designs and am wondering about the limits of this process–which is
a lot easier to do in a kitchen with a butane torch than soldering
is!

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments


#4
    Purity rings--so fine silver is strong enough after all? 

Most of the jewellery techniques books say, on the subject of fine
sil and fine gold, that they’re to soft for jewellery use and must be
alloyed to be of any use. I generally question things like that, and
prefer my own experience with my own shapes. I know what they’re
trying to say, that fine sil/gold is inappropriate for the mainstream
methods and styles of jewellery out there.

Fine silver is not appropriate for a lot of applications, but it’s
very appropriate for a lot of others.

    I have been wondering about how strong fine silver actually is
and whether alloys  weren't actually invented for things like
teapots and forks. You  obviously believe fine silver is strong
enough to make a ring, which  will be subject to a lot more "abuse"
than a pair of earrings. 

Fine silver is NOT a very appropriate casting metal if you want
detail, and while I usually want detail when I cast, I also cast for
the very effect that fine silver gives in a casting. For a
fr’instance, casting fine sil into a simple wooden mold which is
itself not of high detail produces a result you will not get with an
alloy such a stg sil. I call these ‘Tree Trunk Rings’. The resultant
shape requires no more bench intervention! Gotta be a plus!

As for what gauges and so on, firstly I don’t have the faintest idea
what a B & S gauge is, and secondly, the form of the object has a
great bearing on the performance of the material. So I encourage you
to do your own practical study. Take a few granules of fine silver
and turn it into various forms, such as rod, wire or plate, and
experiment with a selection of sizes, you’ll start to get an
understanding of it as a material.

One other thing I like about it is it doesn’t tarnish so much as
stg, and it gets no firescale firestain. Liking it already?

    So, is fine silver wire only strong enough when it's hammered
a lot? What about tumbling, which is so popular with PMCers? Is
there a certain B & S gauge below (above?) which it will be too
weak to stand  up to either hammering or tumbling--or just too
weak, period? And, if  you hadn't added the gold bezel, could you
have fused the band,  rather than soldering it? 

Fine silver work-hardens (contrary to some techniques books) but I
actually don’t count on that for its strength. I count on the FORM -
a beefier form than you would use for a stronger alloy like stg.
Tumbling will only work-harden the surface.

Fusing fine silver still carries the usually problems for fusing
sterling. It conducts heat away from the join too quickly to make it
an easy job.

    I welcome answers from other Orchidians as well. My questions
are not  academic: somebody has offered to pay for me to take a
little fusing  workshop and I've gotten very excited about
potential designs and am  wondering about the limits of this
process--which is a lot easier to  do in a kitchen with a butane
torch than soldering is! 

I’d say go for it. Probably best of all, fusing could allow you to
make joints that will stay together during any subsequent forging.

Brian

B r i a n A d a m
e y e g l a s s e s j e w e l l e r y
Auckland NEW ZEALAND
www.adam.co.nz


#5

Thank you so much, Brian. I don’t cast, and right now I work with
metal only in the form of wire (B&S is one of the standard US ways of
measuring wire gauge, and I can barely translate it while looking at
a chart–sorry for that).

Yes, lack of tarnish is one of the reasons I began working with fine
silver–and, with the work I’ve done, the fact that it doesn’t work
harden quickly has been a great advantage. And lack of firescale
(ergo, no pickle fumes), as well as freedom from solder and flux
fumes. is a major reason I like the idea of learning to fuse it. But
this is the clincher:

    I'd say go for it. Probably best of all, fusing could allow
you to make joints that will stay together during any subsequent
forging. 

That’s exactly what I need for the designs I’m imagining.

I didn’t realize that tumbling will only work harden the surface–
this seems important to take into account. Thanks again.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments