After yesterday’s debacle, it was a relief to find that fusing fine silver links came back just like riding a bike.
Note: The rest of this post is a technical description of the fusing process. Feel free to skip down to the pictures!
First, I switched torches from my usual oxy-propane to one that just uses propane. The flame is not as hot and it’s easier to control for this process.
Then I laid out my links on the special dedicated soldering board that I use only for fusing, so it stays clean. Setting up the links means butting up the ends precisely, so there are no gaps. I put them on the board so that the joins are all oriented the same way, at the top.
For the actual fusing, I dim the room because it’s easier to see what’s happening. One link at a time, I take the torch in quick little circles around the circumference until first I see the join as a little red line, then the line disappears and that one’s done. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. There are always a few that fail, for whatever reason. Those go into the fine silver scrap bin.
Then I oval out each one with half-round pliers as I take it off the board. This is why the orientation when I laid them out is so important. For the chains I make with these links, I want the joins in the middle of the oval because they are a potential weak point and that’s where the least amount of stress will be. So because I know where the joins are, making the ovals correctly is easy.
One board’s worth of links was enough for one day. I’ll do another one tomorrow.