Who Shared this Tip?
This Tip of the Trade was generously shared by Hamish Bowie a Goldsmith who has been working in the Jewellery industry as a Goldsmith for over 40 years. He has taught Jewellery skills at the prestigious Birmingham School of Jewellery BCU for many years encouraging students to be the best they can and sharing his extensive repertoire of skills. In his retirement he still continues to share his trade tips to other makers.
Annealing Fine Gold & Silver Wire
In the days when I was involved with filigree work I had to anneal long lengths of silver or gold wire, probably only 0.2 mm in diameter.
This is my tip for annealing fine silver or gold wire perfectly throughout its length without hard spots or overheated areas which will show up when wire is twisted either by breaking or giving an uneven twist.
- I use an old baked bean can and cut the ends off as in the diagram and burn the can out first to remove any plastic lining etc.
- Wrap the thin wire tightly round the outside.
- Fire the torch flame up the inside of the can, gently warming the whole lot up to a dull red heat in a shaded hearth area.
This is a very effective method and you can also put the wire inside the can and heat up the outside.
In effect I made my own little furnace and the wire never came into contact directly with the flame.
It's impossible to evenly flame anneal a wire when it is stretched out. Unfortunately overheating takes the nature out of the wire and that is not recoverable..
This method was used for this Brooch I made with a twisted wire flatten scroll design.
Annealing Thicker Gold & Silver Wire
Thicker wire can be tied together with iron binding wire at frequent intervals and annealed direct in the flame to a dull red heat.
The mass of coils spread the heat so there are no hot spots.
Images copyright Hamish Bowie
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