One of the most useful things I learned to do in 2010…

…was to make and fuse my own fine silver and Argentium silver links. (Argentium is especially useful because of the strength it provides as an alloy.) I had a lot of practice in perfecting my technique when I made large link silver necklaces for Robin’s fiancee and Fritz’s girlfriend,  Stephanie and Meg, for Christmas presents.

I started by wrapping a coil of wire on a mandrel.

Part of the learning curve:  The joins have to fit together very well…

…or else the will separate (melt away from) from each other instead of fusing together:

Adding more heat will not bring the ends back together. It will just move them farther apart and get hot enough to fuse to the next link it is touching:     (Yeah, oops!)

Once they are all fused and assembled, I hammer the links to work-harden them. These were made with 14 gauge Argentium. This technique is so handy for anytime I need a closed jump ring, or even a closed loop on a hook clasp. No solder to mess with either. It took a little practice to gain confidence, but I am glad I persevered. It was well worth it.

 

5 Comments

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5 responses to “One of the most useful things I learned to do in 2010…

  1. wow! beautiful!!!!!
    happy new year, dear friend…i’ve been researching lampworking opportunities for this spring!!
    xoxo

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    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Holly! Are you back home for new year’s? I like the idea of a lampworking class this spring. A Lot! Have you seen anything interesting?
      Happy 2011 to you!
      xoxo

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  2. LOVE the fused argentium necklaces. They look really cool! I’ve learned that you can point the flame at the fire brick just in front of the join you want to fuse. The argentium will still flow and fuse, but you reduce the risk of melting and having the two ends pull away from each other.

    Happy New Year!

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  3. Barb Fernald

    Wendy! Happy New Year! Thanks for checking out the necklaces. How about the price of silver metal clay lately?! Yikes!!

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