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Solid gold balls and stretched chain

Hi everybody I have two questions: 1. I need to make two solid
gold balls for the end of a bangle, I am used to making hollow
half domes and soldering them together. I thought that the best
way to make the solid balls would be to carve a depression in my
charcoal block and melt the metal in the depression, then file,
sand etc to form a sphere. ANY COMMENTS?

  1. I have a customer that has a machine made chain that keeps
    kinking on her, the chain is made of 3 or 4 oval links bent in
    the middle(hollow as well) soldered together to form a square
    cross section. The links keep getting turned around and they
    then catch on things and don’t look nice. The customer thinks
    that a tiny gold wire threaded throughout the chain and soldered
    at both ends would prevent this. I think that if I pulled the
    chain through my drawplate to compact it, and then cut off the
    extra chain that was left over that this would be the best way to
    correct the problem.ANY COMMENTS ?

Cary James
Cary James Designs
box 336 manuels, nfld
a1w 1m9

 1. I need to make two solid gold balls for the end of a bangle

Cut up pieces of gold, turn on the heat, and melt the gold. It
should automatically BALL up (Do not touch until it cools).
Very little sanding/filing may be necessary. The trick is to use
enough gold for the ball to be large enough for your needs. Have

That is a wonderful solution but how do you make more of them

If you want to make them identical, weigh the two pieces before
you heat them up. If you leave them on your block to cool, there
will be a flat spot where the metal contacted the block while it
cooled. You can use that as a place to solder, or you can
eliminate the flat spot by tipping the molten metal into a pan of
water while it is cooling.

The size of a gold ball can be controlled by the gauge of the
wire. Flux the wire & hold it vertically over water,hold your
torch to the end of the wire and the wire will melt creating a
ball which will drop of when it is too heavy. Because the weight
of the ball is the same they all drop off the same size
.Alternatly clip a given length of wire,make a hole in your
charcoal block using a ball burr.Flux the piece of wire & melt in
the hole in the charcoal block.If the pieces of wire are all the
same all the balls will be the same size,This system works for
balls up to3-4 size. Larger than that you will have to dap
hemispheres and fuse or solder them together. Try it you’ll like

Stanley R.Rosenberg

You make the gold balls identical by using the same size of gold
wire or sheet.

Visit me or “beam me up” at:

Thanks everybody: I did weigh the pieces and melt them on the
charcoal block. But because I wanted to make 8mm round spheres
the amount of metal would not form a perfect sphere more like a
mushroom top. So I decided to either hollow form them or to cast
the spheres.

Cary James>

Hi Cary,

I read that you were having trouble making solid 8 mm. spheres,
too big for the charcoal block method. I have made them on
occasion by making a rubber mold of a pearl or bead. The pearls
are not damaged if you cut carefully, I wouldn’t do it with
anything of great value anyway. Then you just shoot the waxes and
cast. You have to treat it as the heavy solid object that it is
as far as flask temp. is concerned. Its a little hard to get a
perfect wax shot every time, but when you do it’s a perfect

Mark P.

Recently I needed some fine silver shot larger than I usually
use, and I made the little spheres the same way I make my
granulation balls. I use a kiln for this, but I don’t see why it
couldn’t be adapted to work with a torch.

First, I used a mortar and pestal to pound some charcoal block
[pieces of an old one that were too small to solder on anymore]
into dust. I packed some of this into the bottom of a small
ceramic crucible, then placed the silver snips on in a uniform
layer on top of the powder. I added more charcoal, more silver,
and so on. For the bigger spheres, I made sure I had a set of
silver bits of equal weight, then I set them on the top layer of
charcoal so they would get well heated. I put the whole thing in
the warm kiln, then turned up the pyrometer and let the crucible
cook at 1900 degrees F. for about 20 minutes. I took it out, and
spooned the charcoal into a tall beaker of cold water. The dust
floats [mostly] and the bright, perfect little spheres sink. I
just washed the charcoal away and collected, dried, and sorted
the granules. You can get several hundred at a time this way.

The large shot came out great – very bright and round. The dust
gives the molten silver enough support to keep it from falling to
the bottom of the crucible, but not very much resistance, so the
liquid metal can be the sphere it wants to be. I had much better
results with this powder technique than I did when I tried to
encourage the formation of perfect spheres by melting the metal
in little hollows that I had made in my charcoal block with a
tiny dapping punch. That approach gave me spheres with bulges at
their equators.

The trick to trying this powder technique with a torch is to
keep the charcoal dust from going all over creation when you aim
the flame at it. I would suggest making a flattish hollow [about
1/2" deep] in a firebrick and packing your charcoal dust in that,
then heating the dust slowly, with a gentle flame until it starts
to burn and stick together a bit. Keep your metal on the top
layer where you can see what it’s doing.

I hope this works for you!

Anne Hollerbach
in snowy Mass., wishing she were going to Tucson…