Scrap silver, I don't know about you but I have a whole tub of the stuff! I know that you can send it back to be recycled but it always seems like a lot of fuss for not a lot of return, so I challenged my self to try and use some of it.
|Piles of Scrap|
The first thing I did was sort through it to see what I was dealing with, I left all of the sheet metal, large silver blobs (from when I get over enthusiastic with the soldering torch) and failed soldered pieces in the tub and then piled up tiny pieces (less then 5mm), coils (from my chainmail days), eye pins, cut jump rings, lengths and wrapped wire.
I'm not going to lie this was mind numbingly boring and I did not get half way through before I decided that I had plenty, now on to the fun part!
I started with the coils and cut any that were longer then 8mm in half, they were then placed onto the charcoal block and heated slowly until the outer surface fused together forming one piece. I did play around with the heat and found that if you turn the torch up really hot and pull away just before the whole thing melts into a blob (timing can be difficult) you can get them to look less coiled and a lot more rustic/ancient looking!
Once melted I put them into the pickling pot and moved onto forming bead caps.
|Forming Bead Caps|
The eye pins, cut jump rings, lengths and wrapped wire pieces were all arranged on the charcoal block into small piles making sure that there was a hole in the middle and then again slowly heated until they fused together making sure that all sharp edges were either tucked in or melted.
I then melted the tiny pieces of silver to form balls and soldered them onto the larger soon to be bead caps (you could possibly fuse them together but I really liked the shape and did not want to risk melting the whole lot into yet another blob) and then into the pickle pot with the others.
Once removed from the pickle pot everything was rinsed/neutralised and cleaned up with a brass brush the spacers were hammered slightly on the anvil to make the ends more even and the larger bead caps were domed in a doming block and then all was thrown into the tumbler for half an hour while I sorted through beads to put with them!
|Spacers and Bead Caps|