Balling Silver Wire

Balling


Balling the ends of silver wire is not only a nice thing to know in designing and creating jewelry, it’s simply fun!

You’ll need a butane torch, a cross-lock tweezers, and silver wire. You can ball Argentium, Sterling, or Fine Silver wire. Steps, as usual, are in the captions beneath the photos.

For a free online course with videos of this process, go to I LOVE SILVER’s page.


Balling silver wire on tweezers

Place the silver wire in the cross-lock tweezers so that at least an inch and one half are below the tweezers.


Balling middle flame

Spot the hottest part of the flame at the bottom of the wire, then run it slowly up the wire to the tweezers, . . .


Balling Top flame

And back down again.
Slow down when you get to the bottom of the wire, and you’ll see it begin to change color and texture.
Hold the flame at the bottom, allowing the silver to melt and a ball to form and grow in size.
Hold the flame on the ball until the ball is the desired size.

The heating of the entire wire hastens the process and allows the end to be heated evenly,
so that the ball will be even and symmetrical.


Balling silver argentium

This wire is Argentium wire. The ball is not that even and symmetrical. Notice the darkened part of the wire.
Argentium does not produce fire scale like Sterling; so that, this darkened area should come off with any soft polishing material.


A litte sidenote, heated larger pieces of Argentiium should not be quenched in pickle or water.
Quickly cooled Argentium may crack and shatter.


Balling silver sterling black

This wire is Sterling (92.5%) wire, which contains more copper that produces black fire scale. 
The removal of Sterling silver’s fire scale requires pickling or polishing with an abrasive material.


Balling fine silver wire

This is fine silver, the softest and purest. The ball is nicely round and even. 


All torch heating of silver softens the silver wire, so that it needs work hardening by hammering or tumbling in steel shot.


bracelet charm

An example of using wire with balled ends and casting grains


earrings

Another example of using balled wire


rain cloud earrings

Hammering the balled ends gives you this look.



For online courses in metal clay, go to I Love Silver, where you learn how to design and create your own silver creations.

© Kris A Kramer 2017