Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Tool and how I spent my morning

I bought myself a luxury item last week.  For anyone who appreciates tools you'll understand.  Here it is:

I am in love with it. 

Since my creative muse still seems to be AWOL I decided to teach myself a little of the process of recycling my silver.  For those of you who don't know, silver has doubled in price in the past year.  DOUBLED!   The silver companies will take your scrap and give you credit, but not at full price, so I think by doing it myself as much as I can I can keep costs down for my customers.

This is where it starts: with my crucible, scrap pile and a couple of hollowed out cuttle fish.  These cuttle fish are the kind you buy for birds and are supposed to be good for pouring hot metal because they are cheap, dont catch on fire, etc.  Honestly I don't think they work too well and they stink, but they beat the heck out of a $70 ingot mold.

After melting (no pictures of this process because I need to keep both hands and eyes attentive), this is what I was left with. 

And this is what I ended up with after rolling.  I didn't get any pictures of this either because it's a two hand process.  I made a small flat sheet, a piece of square wire, some half round wire and rectangular wire.  Not too bad for a beginner I think.  It's very exciting.

I did learn some lessons though.  No. 1 lesson is not to make the ingots too big.  My little roller can't handle it.  Lesson 2, anneal, anneal and anneal (heating metal to red and then slowly cooling it keeps the metal malleable.) I would say after every 5 or so passes through the mill.  If you don't you can break the metal.  See these pictures?

Interesting isn't it.  It splits and splinters. 

I wanted to share my tool with you all.  I am very happy to have this tool and am excited about recycling my silver scrap. 


  1. How neat! I want to play with metal one day -- must get out of the one-bedroom apartment first! Bravo on the venture, and good luck!!

  2. You are just simply amazing! It's like watching one of those how its done shows :0) Thanx for sharing...

  3. Thanks for sharing your process! I hope to have one someday soon and it's interesting to see how it's done :)