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Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum
December 11, 2018, 05:15:29 pm
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Reusing scrap silver

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Author Topic: Reusing scrap silver  (Read 1355 times)
GregHiller
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2014, 02:40:16 pm »

>You need to anneal your piece when it gets hard for you to roll it, when annealing heat the piece up to a dull red and let it cool in the air “do not quench it as this just hardens the metal”.<

I don't work with sterling much, and that might be the case for sterling, but for Argentium I usually let it cool Very slightly just so it's no longer brittle, then I quench very quickly.  This gives me a very soft piece.  I found this section on the PDF for Argentium FACS:

>On the other hand, note that the sooner the Argentium is quenched
after it reaches black heat, the softer it is; therefore, you may
choose between metal softness and the risk of shock-cracks
or warpage according to the situation and your personal
sense of concern about those factors.<
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Goldsmithy
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2014, 05:22:31 am »

Broomstick casting is a technique that you can use for all your scrap that has solder in it. If you do a search for "broomstick casting"( as my computer skills are very lacking in posting links. dunno ) you will find many good articles on the topic.  It is extremely easy to do.
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GregHiller
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2014, 07:23:43 am »

So, I tried the Tufa stone casting method to try and make sheet silver out of my scrap.  It was quite easy to shape the tufa stone, and the material was very inexpensive from Thunderbirdsupply.  It only took a few seconds to cover the tufa with some soot from my acetylene torch (no O2 going in).  I was working with Argentium.  The problem I had on this initial try was warned about by an earlier poster.  I also realized the problem after reading a little more carefully some of the Argentium literature.  Indeed, for a small thin piece of Argentium you can achieve maximal softness by quenching quickly after annealing.  However, for a thick piece which cools much more slowly you must be more careful.  I clearly created thermal shock in my piece the first time around which showed itself as I began to roll the material out.  When I tried again (I just remelted my failed attempt) and allowed the thick piece to cool more slowly before quenching I did not have any problems.  However, I will say that this is a SLOW process.  I needed to anneal the piece many times between rollings. 

I suggest to anyone doing this, if you are trying to get back to sheet material, you are best off making a mold that yields an ingot no more than 2-3 mm in thickness.  Also, if you have a roller that can deal with large pieces you are much better off.  The flat section of my roller is only 1" wide.  As I rolled the pieces sometimes they would twist a bit so it took some patience to keep them rolling in the center (the flat) section of the roller.  As I worked the ingot down I eventually cut it into multiple pieces as it got longer and longer and more difficult to handle.

All in all it was a fun process.  I learned a bit and the final result was good.  The material I ended up with looks every bit as good as a new sheet from Rio, albeit a bit narrow!

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Cowboy
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2014, 12:38:13 am »

Fantastic!  Learning is always a good thing.

You're making me appreciate my mill a bit more. I often wish the flat roller was wider, but mine is two inches, which must seem generous to you!
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