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I Forge Iron

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I'd like to try forging some silver.  Never tried it before, so this would be entirely new to me.

 

Any difference in forging 925 or 999 silver?  Is one or the other preferred?

 

Do you forge it cold, then anneal, or forge at very low heats?

 

This would be more than thin sheet silver type of stuff.  I'd like to buy something like 10oz and then forge it to the applicable bar size I'm looking to use.

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925 is coin silver, slightly harder than 999 silver.  I believe there is a bit of copper in the alloy.  10 oz of silver .999 bar will run you about $210 on the 'BAY'.   You could take an old silver dollar coin and try that to start.  You will need to forge it hot.  Temp kind of depends on what you are trying to do with it.  There is a group on the internet of silversmiths with some instructional videos.  Some of the silversmiths do incredible work.

 

You will need to polish off your hammer faces and anvil.  Silver will pick up small divots and transfer into the surface.

 

 

Paul Revere Silver work in NYC at the Metropolitan Museum of art.

 

 

post-10347-0-58292600-1422892329_thumb.j

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I've forged a couple of pounds of silver so far:

 

so 925 is sterling silver most of the coins of the world are NOT 925 but more likely 900 or even less!  (called coin silver for some reason...) There is a whonking big book out there that lists every coin and it's silver content---my Grandfather had a copy when did silver buying. It's probably online now.

 

999 forges much easier than 925 and does not get the copper scaling on it but is much softer in use too; I prefer 999.

 

I forge it where there is just some colour to it in a dark room, (999 melts at a higher temp so you have a bit more leeway than with 925)  You can also forge cold with annealing steps, (heat to dull red and quench in water, sparex #2 for sterling to remove scale).

 

Working cold is safer---less chance of melting it, but takes longer and is not as "fun" so I hot forge.

 

I generally buy ingot and cut it with a chisel into strips and then forge those into penannular brooches.

 

A good way to practice forging silver is to forge pure copper; it works much the same save for the build up of copper oxides on grain boundaries leading to cracking over time---teaches you to work fast and sure and not leave work in the forge when you are doing other things!  (as does melting; though you can of course re-use the molten stuff...)

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Feel free to practice forging on copper, copper forges almost identically to .925 sterling silver. That is forging cold and annealing between rounds of forging. If you forge copper hot it can take a lot more heat than silver, while silver can just fragment or melt off when forged too hot, so deserves a lot more care. Sterling silver , although slightly harder to forge and more prone to fire scale than fine silver will result in a more durable end product due to its increased hardness

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