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Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum
February 21, 2019, 05:32:46 pm
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Tempering Metal Wire?

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Author Topic: Tempering Metal Wire?  (Read 243 times)
James D. Farrow
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« on: August 18, 2015, 06:38:43 am »

O.K. When you wrap your cabochon I have seen many people have a fancy
curls, spirals, loops, etc... on it.

As the wire is pliable how do you temper it to make it harder so it won't
bend out of shape when people fiddle with it?

I though I read somewhere that if you heat it up it will harden.

Yes? No?

Thanks,

James
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James D. Farrow
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Trails
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 10:37:47 am »

For me it all depends on gauge and what I want to do with it. Usually anything 18g or smaller I'll use right off the mill, being hard and I can weave into neat rows without boils. Sometimes I'll anneal just the spot I want to do some sort of spiral or celtic knot.. other times, it just comes down to using the right gauge to obtain the effect. Also, often if I'm using something to act like a prong, I'll tap it a few times with a small hammer or my bezel pusher to add some strength. Flat plies also help if you apply just enough force to stiffen thing. If I don't think an area is strong enough, I just add another weave of wires or bend a loop to pull in space.

I've torn a many of pendants apart in the early years cause they didn't live up to my standards of hippie proofing, meaning if you tug them out of dreads or a tree the piece will be unscathed. Part of my plan of having my work still around 1000+ years later when they pull it from a excavation dig.

You can strengthen by heating.. but I've never done it. Something like eight hours in an oven set at 600f to allow the crystal structure of the metal to regrow. I've never tried cause in most cases its around a rock, and after I spend time in making the rock and weaving it, I'd rather just add more metal then chance myself with ruining the whole piece cause of heat cracking the stone.
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Tay
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 11:38:30 am »

By heating your wire, you are annealing it and making it softer. Just the act of bending and forming your wire, around the cab or whatever shape, you are work hardenig it.
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tetonartgallery
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 12:21:51 pm »

tumbling the piece will work harden the wrapping wire
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James D. Farrow
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2015, 02:51:26 pm »

Thanks for the replies!

I thought I read somewhere that you could heat up the wire with a Dremel using a felt bob bit
and when it's hot (I don't think it gets to 600 degrees though) you put it in cold water to cool
it down quickly.

Does that make sense or have I got it backwards maybe.

James
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James D. Farrow
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2015, 07:49:30 pm »

There are certain special spring alloy precious metal wires that do age harden at around 500-600 degrees--they are not quenched after heating -slow cool in oven only.

If you quench in pickle or water after heating you will likely anneal or soften the wire but a full anneal requires usually more than 500-600 degrees.

Argentium silver will age harden at 500-550 F also.

Hope this will help  some of the  confusion
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Bryan
Debbie K
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2015, 08:22:37 pm »

It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that sterling silver must be annealed and quenched and then brought back up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes and then allowing it to cool slowly in order to harden it.

I have never bothered either, because I have stones of some kind set in everything I make and nothing but diamonds could consistently survive the heat it takes to anneal silver. If I need to harden something I use a burnisher.

On another note, in my experience fine silver never really hardens. It will, however, case harden and then suddenly fail. This is the primary reason I have never cared for PMC, that and the horrendous shrinkage factor.

Debbie K
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James D. Farrow
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2015, 03:41:14 am »

tumbling the piece will work harden the wrapping wire

What process is taking place in the tumbler that results in hardening?

James
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James D. Farrow
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Trails
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2015, 05:05:17 am »

The constant tapping of the medium against the metal, like little taps from a hammer.
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Tay
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2015, 09:27:51 am »

What Trails said is often called Burnishing done in a Tumbler in my case with heavy Stainless Mixed steel shot and a low PH detergent.
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Bryan
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2015, 09:38:30 am »

Debbie K

I forgot. My coiled sterling wire comes annealed from my supplier because I order it that way, saves me a step.

I make a lot of omega clip style spring's.
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Bryan
James D. Farrow
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2015, 03:54:22 am »

Thanks!

James
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James D. Farrow
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"No more trains will be sold once the magazine leaves the station"
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