Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fine Silver Class???

I've been thinking about offering a fine silver class to the members of the polymer clay guild. I don't think I'd charge anything. It'd be fun just to get together and teach some people to learn some new techniques.

Fine silver, just to explain (although I'm sure most of you know the difference) is 99.9% pure silver. It tarnishes much more slowly than sterling (sterling is 92.5% silver--actually, it's the base metals mixed with the silver that tarnish. I have old fine silver pieces that haven't been protected at all from oxygen, and they're still not tarnished!) It's also softer, which can be a bear, but a few tricks can help with that.

It's so easy to manipulate the fine silver. It fuses into itself, so you can make solid rings very easily. Making balled end, professional looking ear wires is also very easy. Because fine silver doesn't form a blackened fire scale, it's a lot easier to work with than sterling. Just toss in the tumbler for 5-10 minutes or buff gently with a polishing cloth and the metal is shiny again.

Also, if you're only working with smallish things, you can get away with using an $8 ($5 on sale!) Butane torch from Harbor Freight. Seriously. Just get the triple refined butane fuel from Lonnie's, Inc. and you can get quite a bit done. Pretty much the only thing you can't do with that little torch is solder (well, you CAN solder... it's just really annoying and you have to do it just right) and make fused rings that are made with, say, 10 gauge wire. Toggle clasps, earwires, headpins, fused rings, etc... That's all possible.

I taught this class one time at Art on Boston and we all had a great time. Does it sound good? Should I go to the guild with the idea?


  1. I agree with Marlene...definitely a YES!!!

  2. One more thing Kathy, I ordered a ring off your Etsy shop. Would it be possible to deduct the shipping cost and you just give it to me the next time you are at a guild meeting?

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