Help me melt some silver.
September 5, 2006 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Metal Working Filter: My kids found a destroyed watch that is made of 925 silver. Is the metal soft enough for us to melt down to create an ingot or something? Perhaps pour it into a mold?

The watch is destroyed, obviously been run over by cars. The band and case are marked as 925 silver. Ofcourse I would remove all of the non-silver pins and stuff.

Can I make a crucible out of clay? Use an iron skellet? I have no idea how hot this needs to be for it to melt. I've done some searching but have only learned that the metal is an alloy stronger than pure silver which I understand is pretty malleable.

I do have a plumbing torch. Any ideas?
posted by snsranch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Response by poster: BTW, I saw fishfucker's post, but didn't see anything about actual melting stuff down.
posted by snsranch at 4:39 PM on September 5, 2006

This might be a place to start.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 4:53 PM on September 5, 2006

Best answer: It's silver and copper. It should melt around 1700F. Your torch can probably get that hot, but, you'll need some way of containing the heat in a small area to melt that watch.

I would say, no, the things you're likely to have at home won't do it. You need a kiln-like construction to hold in the heat - otherwise while you're heating one end of the watch, the other end is radiating the heat away to the cool air nearby.

If you cut the watch into very small pieces (hacksaw), you can probably melt the small pieces with your torch.

Maybe find a local jewelry-making shop and ask if you can use their melting furnace? Or you can build your own.
posted by jellicle at 4:55 PM on September 5, 2006

i didn't take that course yet, btw. We live like three blocks from the Crucible now though, so maybe soon.
posted by fishfucker at 5:10 PM on September 5, 2006

Response by poster: the things you're likely to have at home won't do it. except for a bonfire! Thanks, jellicle, you've got me headed in the right direction with this.

Breaking it down into very small pieces will be no problem. I imagine I can get a bon fire up to maybe 1700. But what about the crucible? Is cured or fired clay feasible? Tiny iron skillet?
posted by snsranch at 5:27 PM on September 5, 2006

use a porcelain cup in a microwave
posted by hortense at 5:57 PM on September 5, 2006

The Coffee Can Foundry can melt aluminum, which is about 1400 degrees...

I have a feeling that this "Pizza Can Furnace" Can get even hotter (it too melts aluminum)...
posted by hatsix at 6:32 PM on September 5, 2006

You need help from Dave Gingery. His books, which are really cheap, can help you build your own metal shop from scrap, for really cheap. Or, you can just get the books on making crucibles and a charcoal foundry.
posted by dammitjim at 9:29 PM on September 5, 2006

N.B.: The charcoal furnaces described in the links above will create quite a bit of sulfurous exhaust, much different from what charcoal is like when you burn it without a blast.

A MAPP gas torch (available in most hardware stores) is plenty hot to melt a small (watch-sized) quantity of silver. You'll want a crucible or graphite block or something to contain it while you are melting it.

If you want to go bigger, see frinstance this:

I melted half a pound of aluminum alloy engine block pieces with something pretty close to this in an alarmingly short time.
posted by oats at 7:28 PM on September 7, 2006

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