10 Tips for Fusing with a Micro-Torch

Apr 9, 2010
Get started in a hot jewelry-making trend!

So many of today’s stylish jewelry designs seem to include more metal, wire, and chain, so chances are you’ll be tempted to learn to use a torch. Do you have a bit of anxiety about using a flame? Fear not, because using a micro-torch is easy, fun, and safe when you follow the expert guidelines of a pro such as Denise Peck.

Add fusing to your repertoire
In Denise’s DVD, Metalwork: Wire Fusing & Other Micro-Torch Techniques, you will learn how to use a micro-torch to make just the right findings and looks you want for your jewelry. 
Metal components and accents are so popular to incorporate into designs in almost every medium, so using a micro-torch is a valuable technique to be able to customize your designs, from ball-end head pins to chain links.

Here are 10 tips for fun and safe use of a micro-torch:

1. Fusing can be done with a small butane torch, so no large tanks of gas or hoses are needed.

2. Face your torch away from you. Remember the tip of the torch will be very hot, so avoid touching it.

3. Save your furniture! Cover your work surface with a nonflammable surface such as a large ceramic floor tile or a square sheet of stainless steel.

4. Torch your pieces on a magnesia soldering block, charcoal block, or solderite block.

5. Use fine silver for fusing: it melts and fuses to itself without using solder. Sterling contains traces of other metals and will not fuse to itself with a butane torch. Fine silver also resists oxidation so less polishing is needed.

6. Keep a set of cheap “hot tools” to use exclusively while fusing and grip hot pieces with these tools.

7. Always keep a bowl of water nearby for quenching, or cooling, your hot metal.

8. A good metal file can be used to clean up and reshape edges you’re not happy with.

9. Remember that heat will soften your metal: hammer cooled torched pieces with a rawhide or nylon mallet or tumble to work-harden them.

10. Propolish pads or a jeweler’s polishing cloth will give your finished pieces a high shine.


Ready to ignite your creativity with a free project?
Under the expert and clear teaching style of Denise Peck in Metalwork: Wire Fusing & Other Micro-Torch Techniques, designs such as this one are within your reach! Watch the video to learn the technique, safety, and design tips, then try Cassie Donlen's Summer Garden Bracelet.

I learned fusing from Denise. After melting away parts of one or two rings (turning them into lucky horseshoes) I got the hang of it, and so can you. Show us your favorite fused pieces on Beading Daily!


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Comments

on Apr 9, 2010 8:13 AM

Hi Leslie,

2 questions about the very well written discussion of fusing w/ fine silver wire, along with a description of Denise Peck's new material.

1.  the article mentions a charcoal block as a potential soldering block.  I've always been told that charcoal blocks can be dangerous because the charcoal can begin burning and continue to smolder for hours, even after water has been sprinkled on the surface of the block.  should your article mention this safety issue briefly and address proper handling of charcoal blocks?

2.  (item number 9) does fine silver ever work harden?  I was told it didn't.

best,

Mary Alexander

JanG@25 wrote
on Apr 9, 2010 9:52 AM

Hi, Leslie --

One more question about fusing: is a small torch like the kind you can use to make creme brulee?  It sounds like fun!

on Apr 9, 2010 11:48 AM

Good points, which are being fowarded to Denise for the best answers.:-)

But I know my own fine silver links definitely work-hardened!

Denise Peck wrote
on Apr 14, 2010 11:25 AM

Hi Mary,

I definitely would have addressed safety issues with charcoal soldering blocks if I'd ever heard any warnings about them. But I've been in the metalsmithing world for years and never heard anything about their being dangerous. That charcoal is pressed very densely, and I've never had it smolder after I'm done fusing.

Fine silver definitely work hardens. It is the property of all metals to become harder and more brittle when manipulated.

And Jan, yes, a creme brulee torch will work for fusing. I've used a kitchen torch, as well as a Blazer, made for jewelry. Harbor Freight also sells a hand-held butane torch, for a very good price!