In Rio they offer different kinds of sheet silver like dead
soft, spring hardened and I have no idea what one to get!
The hardness of the silver (any metal for that matter) depends on what
you're going to do with it. It you're going to solder it, getting spring
hard makes no sense because you'll draw the temper when you heat it to
solder & you'll end up with something that's close to dead soft anyway.
However the entire piece may possibly be at several different hardnesses
from dead soft to spring hard depending on the size of the piece & the
amount of heat applied while soldering.
If you need a hardened metal there are a couple of ways to harden soft
metals; 1, work harden it, twist, bend or hammer it until it's the
hardness you want; 2, heat harden it, sterling can be hardened by putting
it in an oven or kiln for about 2 hours at 560 deg.
I make a lot of chain & when I used unsoldered links I usually make them
from hardened wire. It takes about 10 times more force to open a ring made
from hardened wire than 1 made from 1/2 hard wire. To harden wire all that
is required is a stationary point to tie 1 end of the wire to & a
rotateable device (a portable electric drill works well) with a hook in
the chuck to attach the other end to. To harden stretch the wire taunt &
start the drill. The wire will be twisted about its' own axis & get hard.
The longer you twist it the harder it gets, it may break once or twice were
it's connected at either end. I've hardened wires from 1 ft to over 30 ft
For comparison twist about 1 ft of any guage wire, Then hold it horizontal
from 1 end & pull the other end down & release it, see how much force it
takes to bend or how far down it bends. Now do the same with an unhardened
piece the same length. Compare the results.
A lot of catches require a 'springy' sheet metal to keep them closed.
Sterling (other metals too) can be hardenened by hammering the area to be
hardened on an anvil or other suitable surface with a metal hammer. You
may have to start with a thicker guage metal if it thins to much due to the
Generally you'll be better off getting 1/2 hard silver for you're stock
unless of course you have a requirement for some other hardness.
Also I got a small can of Sparex, it was to make one quart of pickle. I
only wanted a cup so I measued out 2.5oz of the 10oz can. However the
pickle doesn't work at all! I do heat it up and everything but it does
absolutly nothing ! Please, what have I done wrong???
Should work, especially hot (120-150 degF). Just what are you expecting
it to do? It's intended to remove the flux residue & some of the
discoloration from silver that's been soldered. If you got the metal too
hot during soldering you may have a bad case of fire scale & pickle
(Sparex) won't take that off. Only a stronger acid or mechanical polishing
will work. When correctly heated (not to hot) sterling comes out of a warm
pickle it's usually sort of a milky white. The pickle actually disolves
some of the copper in the sterling, leaving a thin skin of fine silver.