I have been working with mild 1018 steel for a short time, and while
I am no expert, I can answer a few questions.
I have a commission for a large hinged cuff bracelet that will be
heavily engraved. I have made this piece in sterling as well as 18k
without the engraving. Now my client would like another but wants
steel for the durability.
Does anyone know what type of steel would work best?
So that would be 1018 mild steel.
Should I try to laminate it to silver or make the entire piece from
You could do either, but the whole thing can more easily made in
steel. Steel is 25% lighter than sterling silver so you have
strength with less weight.
Can I sweat solder steel to silver?
Yes but you can not fuse silver to it.
Will I be able to drill and manipulate it as I did with the others?
Yes. 1018 is softer than the steel your tools are made with and it
won't harm them.
What about pickling?
You can use Sparex but with several differences from silver. First,
it must be clean sparex or PH down, with no possibility of any copper
contamination from previous use by metals containing copper. It will
copper plate your steel. You must also use only stainless steel or
other tongs that do not contain copper. It is useful to know that to
anneal the steel, you must bring it up to red then DO NOT quench. Put
it into sand, vermiculite or even kittly litter to slow the rate of
cooling, which can take as long as an hour for a large/thick piece.
If you quench, the metal will be hard.
Thanks to anyone who can help with these questions!
I have learned basic skills in iron from Chris Nelson, Urban Armour.
Go to his site for a listing of workshops he offers to learn more! I
am presently working on a collection that is not yet on my website.