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my silver has cloudy finish on part of the item

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  • my silver has cloudy finish on part of the item

    Hi All,
    I have been struggling with some silver bangles. I have heated the silver sheet as usual, pickled it and then done a light hammer design. Heated it again, pickled and then lightly hammered with a rawhide mallet on the bracelet mandrel. After I have put it through the barrel polisher part of the bangle is shiny and parts have a cloudy / foggy look. The other items I have made at the same time are all shiny so I dont think it can be the barrel polisher. Not happened ever before, just on the three recent bangles made from silver sheet, and also a bangle made from D shaped wire, so not the same batch of silver. Any thoughts would be most welcome. BEWE

  • #2
    I can think of two things.....but they are long shots.
    Could you have overheated or unevenly heated the silver?
    Was the silver completely submerged in the pickle?
    I thought of a third thing. Could there have been a coating on the silver. Not sure what but maybe grease, wax or the glue from a price sticker? How clean is your rawhide mallet? Could that have left a residue?
    Have you got a strong magnifying glass or a microscope? Can you see whether the foggy bits are more pitted than the shiny bits?


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply and some good thoughts for me to look into. many thanks BEWE


      • #4
        I don't use a barrel polisher I use a mop but ......bit different as I've been working with brass for the last 20 years but that too sometimes 'stains'..... but I would go back to the polishing stage and redo it. That's (almost) always cured it for me. Almost - because I sometimes get so cross I resort to hitting it with a hammer or throwing it in the reject pot and starting again. :-)


        • #5
          By a complete fluke I clicked on this. I think Misgeorge has the answer. Go here and scroll down a bit


          • #6
            Hi Annie, I think this was how to make a chalky / muted look rather than how to rectify what I am getting. Hopefully Mizgeorge will have the answer if she sees my post. Many thanks BEWE


            • #7
              Yes but you'll be trying to be careful when heating your metal next time, won't you?


              • #8
                A picture would really help here...

                AnnieAnna's right, it's possible the surface has become slightly reticulated, but your description sounds like you were doing no more than annealing the metal rather than getting it up to the sort of temperatures that could do that sort of damage.

                My first question would be about your rawhide mallet. Have you properly conditioned it? It's very possible that it's leaving small scratches, and these could cause the clouding. Another possible cause is if it's a larger flatter piece and you have over-sharp pins in your shot mix, which can cause pitting and dimpling.

                Without seeing it, though, it's pretty hard to be much more help.


                • #9
                  Thanks for your very helpful reply. I think the mallet could be the problem, could you kindly let me know how you would condition your rawhide mallet. My husband sanded it down to make it nice and smooth. Thanks BEWE


                  • #10
                    It's usually not enough to just smooth it off. You need to break down the varnish, and to soften the entire surface a little. Repeated bashing against a bit of wall, concrete stone or heavy anvil will do the job nicely, and a lot of people also soak the surface to help.

                    Until it's nicely softened, you can just wrap a bit of old leather over the face and hold it in place with a strong rubber band or a twist of wire.



                    • #11
                      Thanks for all your advice, much appreciated. BEWE