Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff, Metalwork. Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. New Year's Resolutions for jewelry makers almost always include using what we have on hand before purchasing anything new.
Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Cutting, Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
New Year's Resolutions for jewelry makers almost always include using what we have on hand before purchasing anything new. One of mine is usually to come up with new ways to use scrap. Deciding on how to use wire scrap was causing me a bit of a problem until I spilled my scrap box. I used a ruler to scrape all the bits into a pile and had a "DUH" moment. This cuff is about 5/16" wide but the width will vary with the amount of scrap wire used.

Materials

16 Gauge Round Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-16H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 feet
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $7.04
  • Gold Club Price: $5.28
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Tools

Solderite Soldering Board, Hard, 12 Inch by 12 Inch
SOL-420.30
  • SOL-420.30
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $27.95
  • Gold Club Price: $20.96
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Blazer Big Buddy Turbo Torch, White
TRCH-8012
  • TRCH-8012
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $40.00
  • Gold Club Price: $30.00
Out of Stock
Deluxe Titanium Soldering Pick, Blue Handled, 6-1/2 Inches
SPK-930.00
  • SPK-930.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $5.97
  • Gold Club Price: $4.48
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Steel Ruler, 12 Inches
GAU-189.10
  • GAU-189.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $4.95
  • Gold Club Price: $3.71
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heavy duty hammer
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Premium Steel Bracelet Mandrel - Oval
MAN-217.00
  • MAN-217.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $42.97
  • Gold Club Price: $32.23
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Instructions
Step 1
Please read through the directions before beginning the project.

Measure your wrist where a cuff would sit. Subtract ¼" (about 6.5mm) and that is the length of the finished cuff. Since the melted finished ends may not be to your liking, make the scrap blank the length of your wrist measurement plus possibly another ¼" since this is a very thick cuff. I need a 5-5/8" (142mm) cuff so the blank is being made 6-1/4" (158mm) long.

Place a thick layer of wire bits (this is mostly wire cut from wire wrapped loops) along a ruler placed on a hard solderite board. Remove the ruler.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 2
Holding a torch head on a butane canister in your non-dominant hand and a solder pick in your dominant hand, heat around the length of heaped wire. Most of the wire is light in weight and can be blown around by the force of the flame so until the wire slumps together, do not aim the torch flame onto the wire. Use the solder pick to nudge any wires that moved back to the wire length. Once the wire starts to slump, move the flame over the wire to obtain a good fuse. Do not melt yet.

Allow the fused wire length to cool on the solderite board. Do not quench Argentium as it can break. Once it is cool enough to move with pliers, it can be transferred to a bench block, which will quickly pull the remaining heat out of the piece so it can be worked with again.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 3
Add another layer of wire. Repeat the process from Step 2.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 4
If the wire cuff blank does not seem to be wide enough at this point, add several layers of wire on the side of the blank and fuse as in Steps 2 and 3.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 5
Place the fused/melted wire unit on a bench block and heavily hammer it to compress all the wire.
Step 6
Place the flattened piece back on the solderite board. Heat it until it starts to melt but is not molten. When it starts to melt, drag the tip of the solder pick lengthwise through the metal. Do this along the full length. This should help eliminate some of the air pockets as well as make melting easier later.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 7
Place the piece on a bench block and heavily hammer it to compress the fused/melted wire as much as possible. Use a heavy hammer from your shop-this is a "nugget" cuff so imperfections are good. If the cuff is deemed too thin, add more layers of wire, repeating the above steps. Remember, though, that there is still a nugget layer to be added.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 8
Place the wire cuff blank on the solderite board. Heat it until the surface is molten. While it is molten, smooth the metal with the edge of a solder pick. Be careful to not heat the strip so much that it domes and loses width. The strip may need to be hammered flat in a few places.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 9
Place larger scrap pieces across the cuff blank, more heavily in the center and lighter towards the ends. Heat to melting, but not molten, to retain the "nugget" look. Add more scrap pieces where needed.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 10
Pickle, rinse and dry the piece.
Step 11
Measure and mark the finished cuff length. Cut the ends off to make the cuff the desired length. File and sand the ends to round them and remove sharp edges. Sand and refine any rough parts on the surface of the cuff.
Step 12
Stamp makers mark and metal content on the back of the piece.
Step 13
If desired, add dimension to the cuff surface with hammers, dapping punches, and stamps.
Step 14
Anneal, pickle and dry before starting to form the cuff. Form the cuff to fit your wrist. If the cuff is very thick, it will need to be annealed many times during forming.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Step 15
Tumble the cuff for several hours to smooth and polish it. Leave the cuff as is or patina it to add more dimension.
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff
Judy Larson's Argentium Silver Scrap Nugget Cuff - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, argentium silver scrap nugget cuff