Thursday, 7 March 2013

Fusing Jewelry Making Techniques

Metal can be joined without solder by simply heating it to the temperature at which it starts to melt. As the surface of the metal begins to move, any areas that are touching will fuse together. 

Fusing can be a rather haphazard and unpredictable process, or it can be reasonably well controlled. In the first example shown here, the ring is made from pieces of scrap, and although the fusing process worked, it would be impossible to repeat the procedure to produce an identical piece. The second example is more controlled, and it would be possible to repeat the sequence and produce several similar pieces.
Tool's
A piece of metal that is thin or a section of metal that stands away from the main area will probably melt before the rest of the piece has heated up adequately to fuse. If one piece of metal is too far away from another, one of them will melt first and become a rather amorphous mass before the other has had an opportunity to fuse to it. It is, however, possible to push and prod small bits of metal into place with a titanium soldering stick. 







A piece of metal that is thin or a section of metal that stands away from the main area will probably melt before the rest of the piece has heated up adequately to fuse. If one piece of metal is too far away from another, one of them will melt first and become a rather amorphous mass before the other has had an opportunity to fuse to it. It is, however, possible to push and prod small bits of metal into place with a titanium soldering stick.

Quenching and rinsing

 
A fused seam is as strong as a soldered seam, but because the surface of the metal has started to melt and move, it will have a mottled appearance when it is cool. Also, the surface can be rather porous after fusing, which can cause problems when the metal is immersed in acid because the acid will tend to find its way into the metal. Unless properly neutralized, the acid will seep out and appear as an unattractive green blotch. To overcome this problem, drop the fused metal into hot water after heating and then place it in the acid or pickle bath. When the oxidization has disappeared, boil the piece in a solution of soda crystals and water, which will neutralize any remaining acid. You will still have to give the piece a thorough scrubbing either with pumice powder or  with detergent after it has been neutralized, and if any seams are subsequently soldered, you will have to follow the same cleaning procedure. 
Fuse the joint together on both rings, place them on a mandrel, and then hammer them until they are round.

Use dividers to mark the section you want to remove.

Cut it out with a jeweler's saw.

Bend the ring so that the ends meet and place the cut-out section over the joint.

Flux the joints.

Fuse the ring together, this time keeping a careful watch on the amount of heat you apply so that the ring fuses but does not melt.

Fusing wire

 
Thin wire, up to about 1/32 inch, can be laid on metal as it is fusing. It can be twirled in a fairly long piece or added in little bits as decoration.

Thin wire is easy to melt and to fuse, and it can be used in several ways. Hold a length of wire vertically with a pair of insulated tweezers so that one end dangles in front of a charcoal block. Concentrate the heat of the flame on a point just above the end of the wire and watch it carefully as it runs and forms a ball on the end of the wire.

Gold wire, which can be up to 21 gauges in diameter and in 14- or 18-carat, can be bent and twisted to form a ring or bangle and then joined by fusing. All the parts to be fused should be touching, and the ends of the wire can be left proud so that they will run up into little balls in direct heat. Concentrate the heat of the flame on the areas to be fused and watch the surface of the metal carefully until you can see that fusion has taken place

Four silver rings, made by fusing.
 .

Granulation


Small metal balls can also be soldered or fused onto jewelry as decoration. To fuse silver balls to a silver base, you will find that they fuse more easily if there is a layer of copper between them. You can achieve this by pickling the balls in a solution of sulfuric acid and introducing a piece of steel or iron to the pickle. If steel is placed in pickle as you may have seen if you have accidentally quenched a piece with binding wire still in place a pinkish copper deposit will appear on the silver. Rinse the balls in water, dry them, and place them with a little flux on the piece. Heat the metal until the balls just fuse to the surface. To solder the balls to the metal, flux the base of each ball and place it in position. Hold a strip of easy solder over the balls and file the end with a needle file so that tiny solder filings fall all over and between the balls. Keep a stainless steel or a titanium stick in your hand as you solder so that you can reposition any balls that move. Rubber hose for the gas is attached to the larger terminal; 5 liquid fluxes (Afflux), only small amounts are required and the liquid should always be returned to its container after use. 

Writer - Jinks McGrath

No comments:

Post a Comment