Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet
by Judy Larson
Who doesn't have lots of wire and/or sheet metal scraps? It would take me way too long to accumulate enough scrap to make it worth my while to send in to a recycler to get paid. Besides, there are so MANY things that can be created using scrap!

Fusing can be done with metals that do not oxidize, such as pure gold, fine silver and Argentium. Layer and fuse all those little Argentium wire ends and tiny bits of scrap metal into a lacy scrap metal sheet. Solder a square wire shape on top to the scrap sheet to make a focal element or jewelry components to assemble into unique one of a kind jewelry pieces.
Instructions
These directions are for Argentium silver only.

Gather wire scraps. Try not to use scraps that are too far apart in gauge. 30 gauge wire will melt and ball up way before 16 gauge is hot enough to get shiny and start to fuse. Most of the scrap wire I use to make my sheets is 20, 22, 24, and 26 gauge. Save the other gauges for other scrap projects.

Lay out a jumbled mess of wire scrap on the Solderite board, making sure that each wire touches a few others. The area I generally like to cover with scrap is about 2" x 4" because it is easy to fuse the metal bits in of that area using a torch head and butane canister. Scrap wire and sheet metal bits are easier to handle and place if they are slightly flattened with a rubber mallet on a bench block before use.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
When satisfied with the first layer of wire bits, start heating the area around the wire assembly with a bushy flame that is not full force. The force of the flame can move smaller wire pieces so have a solder pick handy to move things back to the general area they came from, if needed. Keep heating around the assembly, moving closer and closer to the wire assembly until finally being able to heat across the layered wire bits. The wires will turn frosty before they become shiny before slumping into one another. Keep the flame moving around because an area can melt into a blob pretty fast if your mind wanders. Once the wires slump into and onto each other, fusing has taken place.

Let the assembly cool on the Solderite board. Picking it up too soon results in bits of Solderite sticking to the back of the assembly. If that happens, those bits MUST be removed from the back of the piece before continuing to the next step. If bits of wire are left on the board, fusing was not complete. No worries, just add them to the next layer.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Place the fused wire assembly on a bench block. Hammer the raised wire areas with a flat faced hammer. Wire pieces that are not fully fused may break away. As explained in Step 2, just add them to the next layer being fused.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Place the wire assembly back on the Solderite board. Add more wire and any bits that fell off in previous steps to fill in any areas that you feel may need it. The assembly may be perfect as is. How open or tight the lacy look will be is personal preference and also determined by how the piece may be used. Heat and fuse the new layer of wires to the first layer, if desired. As before, let the assembly cool before removing it from the Solderite board.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Flatten the wire assembly. If there is access to a rolling mill, roll the piece out to an even thickness. Be careful to not make it so thin that it loses the organic look. Some of the wires may fall off during the rolling to flatten the assembly, which is fine. Put them back in the scrap box to use later. If a rolling mill is not available, place the wire assembly between two bench blocks. Hammer the top bench block in the center until the wire assembly is evenly flattened. Hammering around the edges of the bench block will result in the center of the wire unit being thicker than the sides/corners, so make sure to keep hammer strikes in the center.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
If a lot of wire was used to make a dense lacy look assembly, this step may not be necessary. Place the wire assembly back side facing up on a Solderite board. Cut and flatten small bits of sheet metal to use to connect some of the more fragile areas of the wire assembly. Since the wire will heat faster than the sheet metal bits, it is best to use thinner sheet metal, such as 24 or 26 gauge for this step. Randomly place the sheet metal bits across the back of the assembly. These bits add stability to the wire assembly. Fewer are needed if small areas of the assembly will be used in a jewelry piece. More little sheet metal bits should be added if a larger piece of the assembly is needed for the intended jewelry design.

Heat the unit as before until the sheet metal bits and wire slump and fuse together.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
The corners of the metal pieces added may need to be sanded a bit so they will not snag on clothing. Of course, this can be done during the construction of the jewelry piece, as well. This photo shows the back of a different scrap assembly.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Pickle, rinse, and dry the assembly. Flatten the piece as in Step 5.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
The piece is now ready to use. Wire shapes and templates can be moved around on the assembly until they frame a desired section.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
After soldering frames to the assembly and cutting them out, there will be left over bits. Flatten them on a bench block.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Layer them on a Solderite board. Layer a few pieces of wire on top to connect the pieces. Fuse the pieces together. This should be all that is needed to hold the pieces together. However, after flattening, if needed, fuse a few wires to the back of the piece and flatten again. Pickle, rinse and dry the piece before using.
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet
Judy Larson's Make a Lacy Argentium Scrap Metal Sheet - , General Education, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make a lacy argentium scrap metal sheet

Materials

24 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-24SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $26.11
  • Gold Club Price: $19.59
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22 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $32.91
  • Gold Club Price: $24.68
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14 Gauge Square Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-14SQH
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $11.43
  • Gold Club Price: $8.57
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16 Gauge Round Dead Soft Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-16D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $5.55
  • Gold Club Price: $4.16
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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: $34.95
  • Gold Club Price: $26.21
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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
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Dead Blow Brass Hammer - 2 lb. Brass Hammer
HAM-456.20
  • HAM-456.20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.97
  • Gold Club Price: $24.73
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Flat Face Chasing Hammer with Wood Handle - Economy
G3-14
  • G3-14
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $11.57
  • Gold Club Price: $8.68
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Steel Bench Block 4x4 Inch - Pack of 1
G17-10
  • G17-10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $21.95
  • Gold Club Price: $16.46
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques