It’s always so fun to learn something new! I had the opportunity to take a water casting course at Working Silver at the end of August. This course was an awesome way to experiment with the different ways silver can form and cool. And because water casting is effected by so many outside factors, it was nice to put aside the idea that I would come out with the “perfect” piece. The idea is to just let it free form and use your imagination and creativity to come up with something out of the pieces you are given.
But what is water casting?
“Water casting is the process of melting sterling silver in a crucible and casting shapes in cold water. The shapes are the soldered together to create unique pieces.”
What factors will affect the shapes you get?
- humidity of the air
- mix of silver (.925 / .999)
- temperature of the water
- height and speed of the pour
Some of these factors you can control and experiment with, but it is good to note that you will get very different looks in the summer vs the winter based on the humidity of the air. Take notes! Learn what works best for you. Its a great way to use up all that scrap metal!
What do you need to start?
- a torch with a large head (acetylene or propane)
- a crucible
- liquid flux
- a deep bucket of water with a metal bowl at the bottom
Here is a cool video showing us how to water cast (I was too busy having fun melting silver to take any video, oops!):
And look what I got! This was 20g of scrap sterling silver melted down and poured in three separate batches. They look pretty rough eh?
Now time for my favorite part of any silver process – filing and polishing. Once the texture is added or removes, edges are polished, and the crevasses oxidized to give the piece depth. You can then add pearls, posts for earrings, ring shanks, or bails to turn it into a final piece ready to worn. And the best part, each one is completely unique!
If you’d like to give it a try and learn something new, I highly recommend Working Silver’s water casting course with Kelly Allanson! The best part is you can be at any level and still learn lots from this class.