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Thread: Using PMC on Sterling Silver and Copper

  1. #1
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    Default Using PMC on Sterling Silver and Copper

    I've been experimenting using syringe PMC to "Draw" on sterling silver, with limited success.
    So far, I've found it best to make the PMC design, fire it in a kiln and then solder it onto the sterling using solder paste. I've not tried PMC on copper yet.

    Has anybody got any tips or ideas please?

    Chris Hannett

    Daisy Lee Jewellery

  2. #2
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    You need to raise the fine silver to the top of the sterling by repeatedly oxidising, pickling and cleaning it.
    Once it stops oxidising then you'll have a nice fine silver layer that your paste will fuse with. Don't fire too hot or too long as you'll be permanently weakening the sterling silver.
    nicola x
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    That's good advice Nic. Can you explain exactly how you tell it has stopped oxidising. And I've never heard that about weakening the silver. Can you explain the science behind that.
    Linda

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    To prepare sterling silver for adding PMC you need to raise the fine silver by depletion gilding. Heat and pickle your silver piece several times it should look almost white (when you heat it and it doesn't darken it's ready) Clean the piece well after it's final pickling.

    The kiln heat makes sterling silver brittle, you can add sterling while you are creating your PMC/ACS piece but you will need to fire at under 700 degrees C and not for an extended time.... This is because at higher temperatures, the structure of sterling becomes brittle.
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    Thanks for that explaination. Do I take it that enamelling is done at a lower temp than PMC firing?
    Linda

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    Nope - Dependant on the enamels they fire between 750 and 850 degrees C.
    So I'd avoid using sterling inclusions on anything you plan to enamel, what are you thinking of doing? Could you use fine silver for the attachments or use enamelling solder to attach the sterling ones (after the PMC was fired)
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  7. #7
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    It's not with reference to any particular piece I'm doing at the moment. It's just a general question as I have been looking at purchasing the ultralight kiln for future use for both PMC and for enamelling on sterling silver and PMC. But I'm now confused. If silver can weaken in the kiln at 750-850, and that's the temperature you need for enamelling, then does enamelling weaken sterling?
    Linda

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    For enamelling the piece is only in the kiln for a few minutes and you've already raised the fine silver to the surface. It's a much shorter exposure than firing PMC onto it
    I use my ultralight for the odd enamelling job, but bear in mind it's too tiny to have much of a stilt or rack in so will limit size of the pieces you can do in it.
    Great little kiln though!
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  9. #9
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    Yes, I thought that. But my biggest worry with it is, how do you get things in and out? Kilns in general make me a bit nervous because of the high heat. I've only used a big kiln, using a pair of tongs to lift a rack in and out. Do you just place things directly on the plate in the ultralight? And if so, do you just put it in with a kind of overhead action with tongs?
    Linda

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    It comes with a little spatula type thingy for sliding things in and out
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