How to melt silver with a propane torch

Written by janet lee-amies
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How to melt silver with a propane torch
The typical propane "plumber's torch" can be used for melting silver for jewellery-making. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Even a hobbyist can start her own line of production jewellery rather than labouring on one-off pieces. This can be achieved by casting the shape of an item, such as an acorn, in silver and then creating a mould so you can recast the shape in mass quantities. Melt down bits and pieces of silver wire, filings, old earring wires and even whole pieces of sterling silver jewellery, using a propane torch.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Silver scraps
  • Propane torch
  • Flint striker
  • Crucible
  • Fire brick
  • Borax
  • Wooden or metal mould

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  1. 1

    Place silver scraps into the crucible. A crucible is like a cup that is used to liquefy metals since it can tolerate high temperatures.

  2. 2

    Light the propane torch using a flint striker or lighter. Turn the gas on high so you have hot blue flame.

  3. 3

    Hold the crucible handle in your left hand if you a right-handed. Hold the torch in your right hand, with the flame close to the crucible so that it's a couple inches away from the metal.

  4. 4

    Add about 1/2 tsp of borax to the silver once it starts to melt a bit to prevent it from oxidising as it heats up.

  5. 5

    Concentrate the flame over the crucible, carefully swirling the metal in the crucible from time to time to make sure all the metal bits have melted. Heat the metal until it liquefies.

  6. 6

    Immediately use the molten metal for casting, or pour the molten silver into a metal or wood mould, if desired to cast a brick or ingot of silver for later use.

Tips and warnings

  • It can be difficult and intimidating to melt and cast metal. Enlist the help of a friend to add the borax to the crucible.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear when melting silver to ensure you do not get burnt. Ensure your work surface is clean and devoid of items, such as paper towel or rags, that can catch fire.

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