Thanks Trevor and Judy and all else who answered my call for help.
I thought you might like to know how things went today in my
learning experience with Argentium silver.
First I made two bezels - a very small 4mm round one and one about
20 x 12mm. I’m sticking with my 28gu fine silver 6mm wide bezel
wire (that is what I have, fits the stone, and I don’t want to roll
out bezel from the A. silver, just lazy I guess).
this time I used 22 gu A. silver, cutting the pieces to be a little
larger than the bezels. I cleaned the metal with a scotch pad and
laid them on a charcoal block, then heated them a bit and brushed
on some Battern’s flux. I sanded the bottom of the bezels, brushed
on Battern’s and put some more flux on the metal plates. Then I
placed the solder bits inside the bezels. I used easy silver solder
since the medium I started with Saturday didn’t work at all. I put
a couple of thin strips of scrap siIver under the larger plate so
that I could direct the flame under it, turned out the lights
(there is a window at the other end of my shop) and heated very
slowly with a small pointy flame under the plate. the solder began
to flow! amazing!!
I did put a little solder chip on the outside ledge so I could tell
when it reached flowing temp. I went around the whole piece this
way, moving it so there was no silver strip under the place where I
wanted the solder to flow. I found out that the A. silver reaches
hot pink or cherry red before the solder flowed. The little 4mm
bezel went much quicker. After sawing away the “ledge” around the
bezels and smoothing them with a wheel, I found that the bezel had
joined all the way around.
Next I soldered the little gold post that connects the two pieces.
To do that I pressed the large piece into the charcoal block, bezel
side down, so that the “post” would lay level with the back - and
this way the solder is on the back and wont show on the front of the
pendant. I pushed in a straight pin to hold the post up against the
large piece. I laid an easy solder chip on that seam. This time I
used more light so I could tell if the chip flew away and if the
seam filled. I ended up using about 3 solder chips. Getting the
4mm bezel piece to stay in place pushed against the other end of the
post was a bit harder but was accomplished - then I soldered two
half rings for bales (the piece will be a slide) on the back of the
larger piece and this time I left all the lights on. I noticed that
I can’t see the red color with the lights on, but I needed to be
able to see how the solder is flowing and to make sure nothing is
moving. Worked great.
For me the secret seems to be to heat slower than I usually do with
I think the Argentium silver works ok for smaller pieces - at least
I don’t feel brave enough to try to do one of my big bezels yet.
And yet it is on the bigger things that the fire scale really shows
up. Hopefully there will soon be an argentium solder available that
will work better. I’m going to do some experimenting with
reticulation using the pieces I ruined Sat. and that will be pure
fun. At any rate I am not as afraid of A silver as I was and no
longer so frantic (my state when I did my first post on the
Thanks again - what a wonderful forum this is!
sorry this is so wordy.