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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Solder Filled Sterling Silver Wire, Check Your Website for Mobile Readiness, and Copper Cuff Bracelets

The good news is, I got a new product and tested it out and rather like it (one caveat I'm still trying to determine the importance of).

But the bad news is that I forgot who mentioned this product and got me excited to try it.  I "feel" like it was one of my metal clay buddies, but oh my gosh my memory is a sad, sad thing.

Anyway, the product is solder-filled sterling silver wire.  What they've done is taken fine silver (.999 pure) and given it a solder-filled core, so that the make up of the metal still equals .925 pure silver and hence is absolutely technically still sterling silver.

The thing *I* am testing, however, is its malleability.  There are a lot of things I don't make out of fine silver because it's just too soft a metal.  The prototype of my Fairy Ring is a perfect example.

BTW, I have since started making these in sterling silver, but I'm still working on polishing them up.

And guess what... next comes a tutorial on the project!  Whoohoo!

Oh, where was I?

Ah yes, soldering this.  Since I only got 18 gauge to start with, I was worried I'd fry right through my first attempt to solder the wire.  I made a ring-sized loop in the wire, cut it, and filed the sides.  Then I laid it on my soldering block.

I recalled reading an article or tip in a magazine that talked about instead of heating the whole piece, just aim the flame onto the soldering block right in front of the join.  So my pick is pointing to where I'm going to aim the flame.

Here you can see where the flame is in relation to the join.

Within seconds I saw the join flash. I removed the heat, quenched, and it was good to go... no pickling.

But even after hammering (work hardening), it still felt like 18 gauge fine silver (even though it's technically sterling silver).  Too soft for anything but earring components.  I will, however, see if I can order heavier gauge and we'll see how that goes.

Are you mobile friendly?

How "mobile-friendly" is your website?  Test it out here.

How's school coming along?

Had fun making these copper cuff bracelets yesterday.  I decided to give them different patinas... both liver of sulfur only, though.

And the garden?

Apparently we're growing cats this year.

This is the view from outside my workshop window.  Normally, it's a vegetable garden, but mom cleared almost everything out for the winter... leaving just the right spot for Tennie.

And remember, no matter how awesome it is to have your alone time, also schedule together time with someone at some time this week.  It's important.


  1. I just read minutes ago for the first time about this kind of "sterling" silver... Could be really useful for chain making where all the links are soldered???
    I find it an interesting development... Keep us posted with your next experimentations!

    Did you work harden the wire after soldering it?

  2. The fairy ring is so exotic looking. The creative proces is so fulfilling and I'm looking forward to a tutorial involving silver earrings in fine silver - though I know they will be more fragile than sterling silver.