Carol Dekle-FossIf you use silver or copper in your jewelry designs, at some point you will have to figure out what to do with your scraps. I've amassed about 10 ounces of sterling silver scrap and a MASSIVE amount of copper in about a 3 years time. It never appealed to me to turn in my silver scraps because I wouldn't be getting the amount invested in return. Especially now with silver prices so low and possibly dropping even more.
I've wanted to melt my silver into sheet ingots for rolling for awhile now, but honestly, I was too nervous. I had visions of it spilling and melting a hole in my toe!
But.. I started thinking it's time. Time to do something with all the scraps I've accumulated and put them to use. So, with my husband taking pictures (making sure I don't burn the house down) I melted my first ingot yesterday! Yay!
Here is how I did it and what I used. This is in no way a tutorial because I am still learning myself, but I wanted to share my results and a few things I learned along the way.
The Ingot mold and Crucible I purchased at PMC Supplies on Ebay. I like the reversible one because you can make nice thick ring shanks. If you want to melt copper too, make sure you get the right ingot mold and crucible.
Ohhh pretty flame. It's Photoshopped, I couldn't help myself! You get the idea though, you'll need a nice big beautiful flame!
The torch I use is a Smith Air/Acetylene torch, and for this project I used the #3 tip.
First, I heated up the crucible and ingot mold.
I then filled my crucible with a few pieces of silver and Borax. I guess Borax acts like a flux to help melt the metal quicker. After it started to melt, I added more pieces of silver.
Here we go!
When it started to get molten, I turned the crucible more to the side to get ready to pour. Anyone else see the creepy skeleton face?!?!!! WTH! Seriously. freaky.
Ummm. yeah..epic fail. I poured too slowly and it created this interesting looking blob. Gotta pour fast!
I just reheated and poured again and got this. Much better. Although, I should have taken advantage of making the ingot shape smaller and it would have been a better shape. Oh well, next time!
So yeah..I made a boot. Hahahaha! That's okay, it's 20 gauge thick and will work well for backplates etc. Any suggestions on how to prevent cracking when rolling would be greatly appreciated. I did anneal it about 5 times. Maybe more annealing?
What else have I been up to? I have a 2 day event coming up in September, so I have been preparing for that by making tons of earrings.
I still have about 25 pairs to make, but here is what I've done so far.
I made these simple sterling silver earrings priced to sell at $18.00 each. We will have to see how they do.
I then played with mixed metals and shapes by soldering together brass stampings to textured copper rounds.
I made these from some of my favorite ceramic beads my husband and I made.
I also played with a new shape and pattern for ceramic beads.
So that's what I've been up to! So what about you? Do you have tons of metal scrap just lying around? Have you ever done a metal scrap return? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for reading!