effective heat shield

by jimshepard on September 6, 2010

hello all,

here is a picture of what I’m dealing with.


the small wire wrap ‘keeps’ the beads.

I want it fused onto the Mother Wire as a teardrop.

the adding mass and fusing concept is something I’m really interested in.







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Op3Studios Notes fusing fundamentals

by jimshepard on September 6, 2010

updates 9610

Op3Studios 2010
act ii.  ed.i.fice

Fusing Fundamentals


round wire / dead soft

16 gauge


Pureflame & Silver draft82510

consider fire.
the ultimate servant and destroyer of man.
we think we know fire, yet few of us know more than the weak candle flame of fire, that is, fire at it’s low temperatures as seen in everyday life.  the flames we typically see are gloriously raw and dirty things, sparked into life and consuming fuels at low temperatures while starving for oxygen.  the mesmerising beauty of the campfire is a blatant corruption of flame and represents fire at it’s most base.  refine that magic  with an injection of ready oxygen into an efficient fuel and you will witness fire as a living entity with character and definition.  at it’s most hot, metals touched with fire must be viewed  through protective lenses that black out all but the most intense light temperature.  for fusing  .999 silver chain rings, small and medium scale, you won’t need elaborate oxy/fuel torch rigs.  a good butane hand torch will do the job just fine with power to spare.  additional heat signatures add to the versatility of your studio, and can greatly speed you on towards success as well as disaster,  but a properly controlled butane torch is a good introduction to pureflame.  pureflame must be sculpted with the proper oxygen to fuel ratio to produce a well defined sharp edged point of clean blue flame.   or not.
recipes for fire, melting temperatures and like knowledge are of interest to the artist, and are well covered elsewhere.  an unadjusted butane fuel/oxygen mix will usually show as a fluffy finger of  cool blue.  as you adjust the amount of atmospheric oxygen available to the mix you will find a sharpening cone growing from the throat of your torch.  the sharper the point, the higher the temperature.  learn the spectrum of heat  thrown by your flame, relative to it’s sharpest point, and use them all as pigment.

Beginners Mind,   the book.  draft83110
narrated by Peter Coyote.
somehow all this .999Silver goes back to that years ago reading,
a file randomly captured from the anonymous net.
I have no idea why the reading struck me so.  I am afraid to listen to it again.
I don’t practice.
as I write this, I’m really not so good at the physical execution of my thoughts translated into dead soft finesilver.
the Silver still commands my mind, my thoughts are drawn to recognized patterns in the line of the wire.
the Silver is shaping me.  thus, I have my job.
the landscape is Silverponte.  each stop brings me closer to a dream.

as I learn, as kind souls send corrections that save me a year, I see that learning a craft over the internet is the next logical progression from typical web use for distance learners.  we are all voluntarily connected.
your legacy will no longer be carved in stone.  it will carry forward on your works, and here, your reputation on the web if you want one.
services, such as Google Docs combined with Skype provide robust print, image, video, and audio in any combination, and more importantly; these free programs are highly developed to present live time to a group of any size.  a teacher now has the ability to teach at will.  a modern cellphone broadcasting a tour through the Met, is something distance learners would die for.  This morning, Leslie Leirness suggested a flame adjustment for fusing, that is, using a reducing flame instead of a sharp hissing point of cool blue.
the snake of Silver mesmerised me, and I forgot my fire.
I have much to learn.
part of my designed distance learning plan includes taking print notes in book form.
these are a students notes: posted.

that’s all these are.

The Assumption of Power draft82410

Properties of .999Silver

pure .999Silver defines itself with a phosphorescence unseen in other metals.
In new raw form, given clean light, the metal is clean white deceptive, all the way back into shadows of charcoal.  smooth Silver is highly reflective.  as polish level recedes into a fog from oxidation or pitting, a rich gray is suggested in the afterglow.  roughing the surface by hand bending results in a wavy shimmering of available light.  from these base visual presentations, reflected color from surrounding objects play a rainbow.  the overall effect is to give the wire a star brite presence framed in a subtle rounded shadow.  it is this very shadow that reveals the mysteries of Silver.
roughing the surface mechanically results in scarring, either by surface depth of injury, as does flesh, or, by mechanical bending with pliars.  scarring will introduce not only sparkles of fresh metal, but also refracted shadow and additional faces of reflection.

The Silver is at it’s root in the bare hands.  As is the Art.

Fire is the breath of life for .999Silver.  Fusing is the soul.
With pureflame, Silver is fused into a continuum of shape.
It is for the Artist to find their way.

.999Silver has no sex.
it is equally expressive of the yin and the yang.

fineSilver will take the hammer willingly, yielding with a seeming empathetic compassion for the hand.

The basic form of .999Silver is the infinite wire.  from nothing, diameter increases into fine atomic chain: micro-hairs, into wire, sheet, and bulk.  then comes the Artist.

The fortress of fineSilver is subdued with the application of heat, chemicals, and mechanical coercion.
Heat forced movement of Silvers molecular structure work hardens the metal noticeably.  work hardened, The Silver shows the suggestion of memory, which is enhanced when the wire is formed into a spring coil.  the varying degrees of hardness each bear a particular signature which should be learned by hand.
it is the application of Fire that soothes this hardness and returns the will of Silver to the hand.

[sample: .999Silver, 16 gauge  round wire.]

The Application of the Hand

fineSilver, deadsoft, follows the hand in the lighter thicknesses.  there is no apparent memory or spring to speak of.   shapes morph with a fluidity that closely echo the life movements of the hand.  the primitive expression of the wire is reminiscent of handwriting, and recognized by the mind at the same level.  once hand worked, straightened wire will assume a form descriptive of a musical wave; a most basic expression of universal truth.  consider string theory applied to .999Silver wire.

Preparations For Fusing draft 82710

reconsidering fire draft83110

I’ve burned enough Silver and steel to know.
flame is everything.
the choice you make now on fire will affect your signature in everything you do.
to simplify things, just know that there is no choice to be made between butane and oxy/fuel torch systems.
go butane first, for whatever time it takes to learn fire,  then graduate and use both.
by graduate, I mean research well the fact that you are welcoming a highly explosive tool to set fire with into your studio.  it’s a total shift in consideration and ability requiring a teacher and a student.
Oxy/fuel is not a rig to make discovery mistakes on.
many welders are misunderstood sculptors and tend to be pretty friendly as long as you buy the beer.
oxygen enriched, pressurised fuel truly cuts like a knife if tuned properly.
my second Smith Little Torch system will be Oxy/Propane.
I’m using only butane now;
a Master Appliance UT100 Ultra Torch, which is a very high quality pencil torch,
with the sharpest butane flame I’ve seen so far,
and a passable, though not very versatile Blazer hand held I got at Rio Grande.
I may well return the Blazer and get a Master Appliance GT-70 on the experience with my UT-100.
the flame must be under physical control, with ready adjustments possible.
the handheld butane torches are somehow very intimate.  you are not connected to hoses and tanks.
you and your backpack can do most anything with fineSilver.  anywhere.
except for the many critical things that you can only do with a Oxy/fuel torch.
there is a detrimental wait time when butane hits 12 gauge or lower.
a well adjusted butane flame is like a small Hake brush compared to a sharpened high end jewelers torch.
I find this a bit strange given the serviceable range of temperatures  available using butane.
the edges I have seen so far with butane could use for some edge geometry adjustments.
the temperature of butane will never rival Oxy/fuel as a cutter, or in processing crucibles, but as my chain gets smaller, it’s becoming a crowded fuse.  a sharp tiny point would dream The Silver into place.
The difference that matters to the starving artist = ~$150 / ~$850.
the difference to the dreamer: about 30 pounds of explosives, the size of a back.
be careful out there.

for a ring to fuse cleanly, joining surfaces must be dead-flat where they meet.
there is no solder to fill the joint, and any space must be filled by flowing metal which is subtractive to the contour of the ring at the site of the fuse.  too much space, caused by an improper cut, or poorly aligned surfaces, will at the extreme, cause the ends to draw away from one another instead of fusing together.
unplanned partial fuses are worse than no fuse because grace cannot be readily recovered.

the proper fusing join before fire will show a weak springy attraction between the surfaces.
>gently bend the edges a bit beyond each other and then pull back, align carefully, and release; allowing the surfaces to settle solidly together.  beware the memory of lateral twisting at the join.  when the fuse flows, any lateral energy will release and deform your ring.

maximising surface area contact at the join is key to successful fusing at the highest quality levels.
a good pair of fitted faces is the start of a good individual ring.

I’m using Tronex 7223 Flush Cutters.
a jewelers saw can also be used with even greater ease, once mastered, because at the kerf, the angles naturally match and are subsequently easy to align.
with flush cutters, you are making two individual cuts and they must match flawlessly.  where the saw is self-aligning, there are all kinds of unwanted expression to be had from a pair of even the finest  flush cutters.  I would not choose one tool above the other, each has an important signature to the work.
the saw is a file, the cutters a knife.
Miland toolmakers offer this innovative single cut, double flush cutter.  it’s use is limited at ringmaking.

tectip:  cutters, delicate, like the 7223’s don’t deserve -14 gauges of fineSilver, and will dully complain of it soon enough.

First Fire draft82610
five rings

it’s all about touch with fire.
the torch whispers, The Silver speaks.
you’ve only to learn the language of exchange between the Pureflame and The Silver.
the subtleties of true understanding are revealed visually.  look for it.  The Silver under proper flame trucks quickly through various colors of deepening pearlescent pinks until it rushes to glasses with the immediate molten fluidity of the fusetime, which is where the work is done.  so, in the beginning, pay attention to learning the fast color progression leading to fusetime.  the window is small and disaster lurks in the short opportunity.
fusing requires a quick hot flame.  valuable expressions will be had with anything different.
>when you first see glass, the melting point has been reached.  this melting point will be quickly followed by the fusetime.  the actual work done during fusetime is something that must be experienced to be learned and assimilated.  it is good to recognize these requirements in any art because attainment of skills is generally a matter of developing muscle memory to follow the way of an understanding.  both mind and muscle respond well to repetitive process.  mentally, try and accelerate the time it takes to learn fusetime.  go slowly with deliberation.  properties to see:  other than color progression, know that The Silver under flame is undergoing constant and rapid atomic change, as heat excites movement and opens space.  this is the alchemy of Silver.

now comes the rub.
any fluid, no matter the temperature, can be moved about in a painterly way.  In the above rings, the first two show a pronounced gathering of Silver near, but not at, the site of the join.  in a fluid state, under fire, the Silver ran this way.  what caused this?  how is it repeatable?
consider this;  purposefully applying increasing heat to it’s natural end will result in a globular sphere of Silver.  much like quicksilver, the molten metal will rush together to find this peace, where environmental pressure is at it’s most equal. thus, the globe, the earth, the planets and the sun.  .999Silver is all about universal truth.
fusing is natures casting box.  the fluid nature of molten .999Silver does not directly follow the patterns of water in a pressurized gravity.  where water would fall flat, Silver flows in curious directions with volition.  it will fall and fill naturally, this is the mailers art, but it will also flee the flame, bulge and thin, and ultimately seek regulated spherical peace.  with larger amounts of metal, gravity will collapse the sphere into a disc.  how then to apply the brush to the begging flow?  heat;  zoning temperatures along the continium will cause Silver to seek in the direction of the highest heat.

Painting With Molten Silver draft 9610

a friend here in Sitka gave me an ammo box filled with student ‘mistakes’.  check this out:

these examples are not reticulated.
this photo is my proof of Silvers paint-ability.
so now what are the tools?
what is the ground?
O-1 tool steel seems an obvious choice for ground, given it’s ease of heat treating, general design versatility and workability using hand tools, and a insatiable hunger for environmental patina.
readily available as precision plate and rod, junked O-1 can be identified by the unique spark it throws.  any steel that will take Silver will do, the O-1 is interesting in that it represents a versatile studio ground with repeatable values.
only beware of the coated steels under flame.  some of the fumes released are downright nasty.

there.  this is my exercise for this time:
O-1 plate as ground.  .999Silver plate (20 gauge) and wire: 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 26.
fusion and anything goes.
there, I’ve shifted.

fineSilvers want to go globular when fire-wet represents a force of movement that can be utilized in design execution or overcome by mechanical means.
given no interference, molten Silver will rapidly flow like Mercury at room temperature, and pool collectively into a spherical form submissive to atmospheric pressure and gravity.

the following actions on liquidous Silver would require a dedicated fire room or space that can be effectively ventilated and defended from unwanted fire and heat.
full fire skins and hood would be minimum protection///.
beware!  water+molten metal=explosive reaction as rapid fluid to steam transition empowers great force.
of course, this too is an application technique of high risk.

consider that moving molten Silver is a radical dance of circumstance.
initiation could be costly.
it would be good to have a concrete floor.

the weak presentation of butane flame from hand torches makes it difficult to move the silver.
good in the application of heat for fusing, soldering, and patinization, the butane flame carries no force of will with which to move the Silver.
the tanked fuels, combining pressurized Oxygen and a fuel source of Acetylene, Propane, and so on, will move the silver, and the regulators should control the required pressures.  experimentation will show how both temperature and pressure ratios can be consolidated in a controllable, effective form at the torch head.

key is the temperature point of flow, ~1762f for .999Silver.  no more heat than this is required as a technicality, but added heat will obviously effect the window of time required to melt.
sculpturally, the transition point between the solidus/liquidous state is precise, experimentation will reveal any tendency for soft plasticity occurring just before flow.  various specific temperatures could be held with precision in a kiln.  given a zone of plasticity, the metal might be sculpted as butter and left to dry hard.
ArgentiumSterling is especially interesting in this light, given it’s wide window of 1410f to 1610f solidus/liquidous range.

mechanical means for painting with Silver:

>running a nail through the molten.  experiments with Silver/Bronze handcasting show a globular form in the crucible, and a standing raindrop on ground.  it is the way of the sphere to preserve itself.  a small nail run through may coat the nail under the right temperature conditions, but the stoke is unlikely to significantly disturb the sphere, which carries the quality of self-healing.
you know if you know.

>sandwiching the molten between plate, causing lateral flow.  with studied process, the plates may be moved and parted at the proper temperature for plasticity of the metal, creating moonscape dimension, and interesting one-off Silver leaf.
in thick based paint, which sorta resembles well whipped mashed potatoes,
with gravy…the sandwich-pull-and lift movement results in striking contour.
.999Silver, with it’s precise flash temperature window leaves little room for the practice of art, as it becomes mechanical in it’s repeatable nature, and the nature of plasticity is not evident in a torched transition.  it would be of interest to those discovering fire, to witness a kiln and the precision time and temperature controls that allow complete control of the ?oxidizing temperature.  ArgentiumSterling is again squarely in the mix as a source of Silver, and moving swiftly to the forefront on reputation alone.  my reservations in bringing a copper alloyed Silver into the studio, are overcome by proven possibility.  ?given it’s lower temperature and a possible  plastic nature around flash point, ArgentiumSterling, as researched, brings some drawback;
admittedly in the minority, I am most attracted to oxidized surfaces, and the general patina expressions available to fineSilver through various means.  the Germanium content of ArgentiumSterling will resist oxidation.  this represents a most valuable attribute to the jeweler.  and some Artists will choose ArgentiumSterling for it’s unique tooling and casting abilities.
ArgentiumSterling is not fine.

*controlled blasts of air, well regulated to push the silver over various temperature zones applied to the ground.
effective ground resists and flux materials to guide the Silver into the corral of design intent.

*ultimately, a high temperature wand applicator spraying molten metal through various designed heads, would serve the hand and mind.  what current industry would have such a technology available for use?

liquidous Silver could be thrown or poured from the crucible.
flying molten Silver would bounce from cool steel.
but at proper temperature, the ground would accept the Silver as granulation (an Art within itself {0 1 2 }).
it is expected that the Silver in air will resort to a more pure spherical form, impacting the prepared ground much like spattered watercolor.
*Argentium is perhaps the standard for this approach.  I cannot speak to it until the next shipment of Silver shows up.

and fire.

*fire for fusing

*fire for silver wire solder, representing an important tacking agent that will not need temperatures that destroy shape.   there are several hardness levels to Silver solder, each allowing a level of protection from the next.
and so on to building dimensional representation with the tools and materials at hand.
and finally fire for patinazation.
at the end of any design execution it is surface patina that is displayed, catching light and carrying the artists voice to the viewer.  structure emerges subliminal as the eye describes the focused light on the retina into various understood dimension.
>just as there is recordable eye scan patterns in response to print media, so too with free form sculpture.
the eye insists on a repeatable scan pattern, which the artist is free to interrupt, encourage, or disavow.
surely a language to be quickly learned, and just as quickly forgotten.
enter Miles Davis.

draft 82810
the only way forward is to layer .999Silver wire and sheet of various gauges together and start fusing sculpturally.
already, I have a talking chain promised.

tectip: burn yourself as soon as possible and get it over with.
#1  Five Rings

First Chain
First Chain

Bed Rings

Tool List 82810

Materials Inventory 82810

9410 notes
ALL Argentium instudio will be unround.

bounce heat from flame- from charcoal, solderite, firebrick surface to work.
needed: industrial heat shield products.  foil, cream, etc

a kiln is simply a device designed to reflect and hold heat.
in any heat reflective structure, there will be focal points of various temperatures to be had.
the better the kiln, the more constant and variable the temperatures available, usually combined with accurate timing devices to run elaborate heat treating recipes.
Solderite is a good material for fabricating small scale heat reflective ‘kilns’ and structures to accomidate specific tasks for fusing, granulation, and soldering.
a widened saw kerf cut in the Solderite will help apply concentrated heat to wire.  lay the wire in the cut channel and apply flame.
for general work, a charcoal block fire surface is preferable.

a crimp is a compressed wrap.

Op3tektip:  a magnet in a tin can is a great way to pick up steel bits, like the steel shot I just spilled in my sink.
the bits will stick to the bottom of the can, then, when you have the can over you intended container, simply remove the magnet and the bits fall from the bottom of the can.  old speaker magnets work great.

produce 0-1 springstock of various presentations to hold high temperature work
research expected temperature ranges.  Rc may be above normal springstock.

granulation technique is fusing refined.

patina: selective Oxidation removal and application,. +chemical.

notes to torch manufacturers:
the common “Blazer” butane hand torch is fine for the hand.
it’s construction is fine for it’s price point,
but there is a level above that should be designed and provided.
the design would incorporate a mechanical air vent, actuated by the rear striking plunger.
this would allow for the artist to accurately control a range from reducing flame to bushy, to a clean cutting edge.
Actively, in real time.
the current placement of the adjustment ring is serviceable, but too far forward.
reflective heat finds the thumb.
the standard workings must be tightened for the next level.
both the reducing flame, and point must be precise in their own way.
Blazer II

12, 16, 20, 24/26/28 .999.
trees in winter
fired cork base, under domed glass.
briteness adjustable led footers.
nightlight/bedside reading lamp.

Op3tek:  heat the surface of Bur Life like a candle for a through coat to your blades.

Op3tek:  everything that moves molecules is a blade.
from the tiniest lapping grit, to the lazer;
a knife.

Op3tek: saw cuts begin with a file edge of appropriate size and applied direction.
they continue with a gloved holding hand.
you know who you are.

0-1, 1/2 inch rod,
narrow V triangle.
to be used as an alternate bench pin
to secure abstract shapes for tooling.
especially chain ring.
V face allows for saw frame
as you push rings onto the point.
bolts or clamps to solid work frame.

.999 at it’s most elegant.
simple wire with fused teardrop ends.
all gauges.
everyday twist ties, and lengths for multiple uses.

the idea of bursting through the manufactured lives we live
with elegant every day use items.

fused loop ends
8/10/12/14/16/18 gauge.
.999 and ArgentiumjSterling
18 – 24 inches.
+ custom: fused wrap of 21, 24, 26 gauge.
with break away (open link) pinch closure of .999. fused tear drops.
goes as an elegant necklace

8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21,
.999 and Argentium.
finger wraps.
fused teardrop ends.
pinch to close (aligned teardrops will weakly clasp.
optional: one end fused loop for pinch clasp.
Note: dead soft .999 is inherently moldable to any body part.

8, 10, 12, 14, 16
.999 and Argentium
RC Hard
barbed wire wrist wrap bracelet, and rings.
fused teardrop barbs.
appropriate barbs,
military only; 0-1 barb cores.

explore the properties of glycerin.
discover hand enrichment preparation
that can be used with neutral effect while working .999
softened with Lavender.
Product Name:  ‘My Silver Hands” / ‘My Golden Hands” / ‘My Studio Hands”.


(c) 2010 Jim Shepard





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