Sterling silver is a precious metal that is used to fashion a variety of decorative, functional and wearable objects, including everything from dishes to baby rattles, photo frames to necklaces. Beloved for its cool-toned glow and relative durability, it is a favorite material of artists, crafters and metal workers who are sometimes left with scraps of sterling silver after they finish their projects. Whether you are one such person or you simply have small sterling silver scraps or objects that you do not desire, you can melt your sterling silver scrap and use it to create something new.
Things You'll Need
- Dry cloth
- Sterling silver scrap
- Butane torch
- Glass or graphite stirring rod
- Metal tongs
- Ingot mold or other mold
Verify the cleanliness of your crucible -- a small, highly refractory, dome-shaped vessel in which metal is melted -- before using it to melt sterling silver scrap. Remove any bits of metal or debris that may be in the crucible. Wipe it with a dry cloth to get rid of dust.
Prepare the crucible by adding a pinch of flux to it. Note that flux a substance made of borax that prevents the oxidation of heated metal and helps it to flow better when it is poured.
Add the sterling silver scrap to the crucible.
Turn on a butane torch. Aim the flame at the sterling silver scrap so it is neither too low or too high, but somewhere in between. Move the flame around slightly, but keep it in constant contact with the sterling silver scrap.
Agitate the sterling silver scrap with a stirring rod while you heat it with the torch to encourage it to melt more quickly.
Continue to heat and stir the sterling silver scrap until it is molten.
Turn off the butane torch and pick up the crucible with metal tongs. Move quickly, but carefully. Do not allow the molten metal to cool and solidify, and be careful that you don’t spill it.
Pour the molten sterling silver scrap into an ingot mold -- a vessel in which to pour leftover molten metal that you plan to reserve for later use. Alternatively, if you are using the melted sterling silver scrap to make a new piece of jewelry, pour it into the mold you have prepared for that project.
Tips & Warnings
- Keep your ingot mold close to the place where you melt the sterling silver scrap. This way, you won’t have to travel too far when you pick up the crucible and pour the molten metal into the mold.
- Always melt metal in a well-ventilated area.
- Wear protective eyewear and heavy-duty leather gloves.
- "Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight, 2004
- Handy Harman Canada: Silver
- Photo Credit jewelry image by Snezana Skundric from Fotolia.com
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