I’ve tried fusing fine silver a few times. First with Danielle Sweeney in our silversmithing classes, and then again with Kate McKinnon last week. This is low tech metalsmithing at it’s very best. You can easily do this at home with really minimal tools. Fine silver does not develop what’s known as Fire Scale, so you will not require the harsh chemicals that are needed to work with Sterling.
Here’s what you need:
Torch (small butane torch which you can get at any hardware store)
and some basic wire tools (cutters, pliers)
Since you will be firing you do need adequate ventilation. I would suggest working under your stove with the vent hood on. You won’t be running the torch for more than a minute at a time. I also suggest that have on goggles, and make sure that you have a fire extingusher handy!
If you’ve ever wanted to make your own chains, or links for pendants (lampworkers, you will love this!) you should definately pick up this book, or do a google search for any online instructions.
Here are some simplified, basic instructions for making a jump ring:
Form your wire into a ring around a dowel, or pen/pencil.
Cut using flush cutters
Close your ring as tightly as possible. You do not want any open gaps! The seam should be just barely visible.
Light the torch, and heat your jump ring, focusing the flame near the seam. Move the flame back and forth across the seam. The metal will “flash”, and then start to flow. Quickly remove the flame. You’re now done!
The ring will be extremely hot. Do not touch it with your fingers! Pick it up with a pair of tweezers, and quench it in a glass of water.
You now have a jump ring. To make a chain, attach a new jump ring onto the one you just made, close it and fuse as above.