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Thread: Annealing and quenching - How to restore a bent and twisted silver spoon

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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2012
    Westchester, NY + FRANCE
    Minelab CTX 3030 XP Deus
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Annealing and quenching - How to restore a bent and twisted silver spoon

    Speaking of restoring...
    Here is a silver spoon that I found in the US. Completely bent (in every direction), folded on itself. After discovering about "quenching" and "annealing", I decided to give it a try. (Using just my kitchen stove... one has to be daring sometimes...) Some people would rather use a small blowtorch for this. Well... I just don't have one. And honestly, the kitchen stove flame proved to be efficient enough. Silver reacts differently than iron. When you heat iron and then put it into water, it makes it harder and stronger. It's just the opposite with silver. You heat it, then put it in the water, and it makes it soft enough to be worked on. To get the spoon bowl back... I used a wooden spoon I basically only used wood items to work on my spoon. Also, do not forget to use pliers or anything that would help holding the spoon as you heat it. (needless to say, I know) Be careful not to use tools that have metal handles since the heat will be transferred to those. Quenching (if I remember correctly) is heating and putting directly into cold water. Annealing is the last process when you heat it but let it get cool by itself. THAT makes it stronger and stabilizes its new shape. Because during the process, silver can get a little darker (and red stained if you don't pay enough attention and over heat it), I cleaned it by wrapping it up in aluminum foil with baking soda and placed it in boiling water for a few minutes.
    Maker is J&I Cox (NYC, 1817-1852) and the spoon bears the initials "AM".

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This video is not perfect but it gives you an idea of the overall process :


  2. #2
    us
    Can you dig it.

    Dec 2016
    NH
    Garrett AT MAX & ProPointer AT Back Ups: AT Pro, Tesoro Royal Sabre, Tesoro Mojave, Wilson C&R 4
    205
    504 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thats wild. I have the Andre pencils btw. They rock!

  3. #3

    Oct 2016
    South St Paul, MN
    First Detector: Garret Ace 300 Main Detector: XP Deus Most Recent Detector: Fisher F75 SE
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    Well done! Of course, this was a solid sterling spoon, I assume, but some of the silver plate spoons that I've found are solid copper underneath (some, I believe, are simply copper plated steel), and copper should respond to the same process, if I remember my high school shop hammered copper ash tray experience.

    I haven't restored the shape of any spoons, but I have cleaned a few with electrolysis, and some of those old Victorian spoons can be absolutely beautiful.
    RestoringYourFinds likes this.

  4. #4
    us
    Apr 2012
    Westchester, NY + FRANCE
    Minelab CTX 3030 XP Deus
    291
    175 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Buzz View Post
    Well done! Of course, this was a solid sterling spoon, I assume, but some of the silver plate spoons that I've found are solid copper underneath (some, I believe, are simply copper plated steel), and copper should respond to the same process, if I remember my high school shop hammered copper ash tray experience.

    I haven't restored the shape of any spoons, but I have cleaned a few with electrolysis, and some of those old Victorian spoons can be absolutely beautiful.
    Thanks Iron Buzz! Not fully sure about the process on copper but it worked pretty nicely on this solid silver spoon. I should post another spoon that I found that was only plated but with a nice design.

  5. #5
    us
    Oct 2009
    7,699
    5977 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    wow, you did a great job. I would have thought that quenching would harden silver like iron. I learned something new!

  6. #6
    us
    Apr 2012
    Westchester, NY + FRANCE
    Minelab CTX 3030 XP Deus
    291
    175 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason in Enid View Post
    wow, you did a great job. I would have thought that quenching would harden silver like iron. I learned something new!
    That's what I thought before too! Works just the opposite in fact.

  7. #7
    us
    Aug 2017
    Central Oregon.
    259
    199 times
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    RYFinds, the discoloration can be done away with by using "Firecoat"== Boric acid and alcohol, the 91 % rubbing stuff is fine or denatured, can even use everclear, you agitate the in the mixture, pull it out, set it afire, then the heat coats it with the anti-oxidant , also, one can use a small slow cooker for a "Pickle Pot" which IS the best place to quench as it cleans the firecoat and fluxes off fresh melted Gold and Silver, even Brass and copper . The Pickle solution is simply battery acid/Sulpheric from the auto supply mixed 50-50 with water. Hope that tid bit help some of you Gent's. Dig On Brothers.
    RestoringYourFinds likes this.

  8. #8
    us
    Apr 2012
    Westchester, NY + FRANCE
    Minelab CTX 3030 XP Deus
    291
    175 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thanks a million for the knowledge. I'll definitely give those a try in the future!

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldfinger450 View Post
    RYFinds, the discoloration can be done away with by using "Firecoat"== Boric acid and alcohol, the 91 % rubbing stuff is fine or denatured, can even use everclear, you agitate the in the mixture, pull it out, set it afire, then the heat coats it with the anti-oxidant , also, one can use a small slow cooker for a "Pickle Pot" which IS the best place to quench as it cleans the firecoat and fluxes off fresh melted Gold and Silver, even Brass and copper . The Pickle solution is simply battery acid/Sulpheric from the auto supply mixed 50-50 with water. Hope that tid bit help some of you Gent's. Dig On Brothers.

 

 

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