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Monday, November 23rd 2009

12:09 PM

eMails, eMails, emails....I Love 'em


Hello Everyone!

Each day I receive a lot of emails from people from all over the world. Most of the letters that I receive are from people who need help solving a specific problem that they have encountered. I really enjoy these emails, they give me the opportunity to help a fellow artist out of a jam.

However, I recently received a surprising email. Peter Johns, the inventor of Argentium Sterling Silver (www.argentium.com), emailed to comment on my YouTube video on hardening Argentium. He had some interesting things to say about it. “I came across your You Tube movie on hardening Argentium.  Your presentation is excellent and I had a good chuckle watching it.  Everybody thought I was mad when I wanted to be able to harden Argentium in a domestic oven, but as you aptly demonstrate, it is perfectly possible.” What a thrill! The inventor of Argentium enjoyed my presentation.

Since Mr. Johns took the time to write me I thought that I would take this opportunity to ask him a question or two. I was curious to see if all of the information that I presented was 100% correct. Here’s what he had to say, “I think you gave the information on hardening Argentium very well in your video.  My only feeling is that three hours may be a little longer than necessary for hardening at 500°F.   When I tested in my own oven with a maximum temperature of 460°F, I found it hardened in two hours.  I presume 500°F is the maximum in you oven?  Slow cooling after hardening is an important part of the process.  I would not quench because it will detract from the hardness.  Leave the piece to cool on the support that was used in the oven and do not touch it until it has reached room temperature. Argentium does not lose hardness because the heating cycle is longer than necessary.  It just reaches a high point and stays there.  Three hours will certainly make sure the piece is hardened but I think you may be burning more energy than necessary.”  There you have it folks, straight from the horses mouth. Two hours of heating in a conventional oven at 460 degrees F or higher is more than sufficient for hardening Argentium.

Mr. Johns also informed me that he will be at “Rio Grande’s Catalog in Motion” at the 2010 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February (here’s the link - http://cataloginmotion.com/cim_seminars.html). If you plan to be there take the opportunity to introduce yourself to Mr. Johns. Be sure to let him know how glad you are that he came up with this fabulous material.

If you missed my Hardening Argentium Video here it is-



‘til next time,

 Jim McIntosh

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