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Yesterday I had a fairly unpleasant day in the studio. :(

I'm having a hard time emotionally working on the pin for my husband's mother- and the fact that I'm pushing some of my skillz doesn't help. Anyway, between yesterday and today I did get progress made... but not as much as I'd hoped, and it was really hard. I HATE the way I get an adrenaline rush when I'm anxious and things aren't going smoothly; there is not situation in which one's hands shaking is useful for fabrication! Still- despite that, I did get the necessary done. Dunno if it'll be ready in time... but at least it's closer to being ready SOMEtime.

And in another piece, Argentium is giving me grief. I have soldered multiple settings to sterling many times, with no ill effects. This seems to be a lot harder in Argentium. Not only is the stuff really brittle when hot- but differential expansion, such as with sterling or fine silver settings, seems to inspire cracking in the Argentium substrate. I've already had to start from scratch once, and I've done a lot of research to help me minimize the problem; if that doesn't work this time, I think I'll need to head back to regular sterling for this piece, and make a mental note that Argentium is NOT a good replacement for sterling in some applications.

I did get some ring work done today- at least that went smoothly and thus was really satisfying after yesterday. :P

Date: 2009-05-24 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anderale.livejournal.com
I hate it when everything goes wrong in the studio. I'm glad you were able to get the necessary things done! I was wondering, can you enamel on Argentium? I was reading a little about enameling on silver - I've only done so on fine silver but a friend of mine was using sterling because that's what she had. It worked fine, even though it wasn't recommended. I am not sure why it wouldn't be as one can enamel on copper and often that is what is in sterling to make it sterling...I hope I am making sense.

Date: 2009-05-24 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] afmetalsmith.livejournal.com
At this point- most argentium has too low a melting point to be compatible with most enamels. I have heard of people having some success with enameling on the stuff- but I've also heard of people having NO success, and have not tried it myself.

I'd be concerned about the brittleness factor, especially after yesterday, as well as the melting point.

I've enameled with fine and sterling silvers, and- many enamels, for whatever reason, get cloudy when used on sterling, even if they work OK on copper and fine. I have NO idea why this is. Sometimes one can get around this by depletion gilding the sterling, so the enamels only hit a layer of fine silver. It's a similar problem with eutectic solder, by the way- it seems to add to cloudiness.

I know it doesn't make sense, but it does seem to be what happens. Weird!

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September 2011

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