When you’re working with tiny amounts of precious metals, using an expensive crucible to melt silver can be cost-prohibitive. Thankfully, an alternative way to melt silver without a crucible is fairly straightforward and only requires a few household items. Instead of using a crucible, you can use a potato to melt silver without a crucible for fairly cheap and easy costs. While this trick may seem like it’s more suitable for grade school chemistry experiments than professional silversmithing, it actually works quite well in the right circumstances. Read on to learn more about how to melt silver without a crucible and what materials you need to make it work!
How To Melt Silver Without A Crucible?
- First, you need to slice a potato into two halves. You can use any type of potato, but the best potatoes for melting silver without a crucible have very thin skin and are more watery than dry. The most ideal potatoes are also fairly small so that they can fit into your crucible.
- Next, you’ll need an aluminum pie plate or a shallow pan that is big enough to hold your potato half with some room to spare. The pan will act as the crucible in this setup and the aluminum will help conduct heat evenly throughout the pie plate. If you don’t have an aluminum pan on hand, you can use any other metallic container that is large enough to fit your potato half with some room to spare. Just make sure that it is not made from copper or iron as these metals will react with the silver to form unwanted compounds during heating!
- Next, you’ll want to place your potato half into the aluminum pie plate, and cut side down. The cut side of the potato will act as the silver-melting surface in this setup and it needs to be in direct contact with the aluminum to ensure even heating.
- Next, you’ll need to plug your butane torch into an electric outlet and press the trigger to ignite it. Once the torch is lit, you’ll want to hold it about an inch away from your potato and slowly move it back and forth over the surface of your potato until all of the silver has melted. You may have to adjust your distance from the potato depending on how hot you want your silver to be when you begin adding other materials.
- After all of your silver has melted, you can turn off your butane torch and remove your skillet from its heat source. Next, add a few drops of boric acid (or sodium borate) into your molten silver solution and stir everything together with a wooden stick or
Why Use A Crucible To Melt Silver?
- Crucibles are extremely high quality and durable. You can use a crucible over and over again for years, making it an excellent investment for your business or studio.
- Crucibles are extremely easy to clean since you can toss them in the dishwasher when you’re finished working with them.
- Crucibles can be used to melt a wide variety of metals, including silver, gold, and copper at a time!
- Crucibles are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. You can pick up a crucible at your local arts and crafts store or online for as little as a few dollars.
Steps To Melt Silver With A Potato
Use the potato to melt silver.
The first step is to use the potato to melt silver. You can do this by placing a small piece of silver into a bowl, then placing the potato in it. Next, place the bowl on top of an electric heating element (such as a curling iron or hair dryer) and let it sit for around five minutes. Once you have waited for five minutes, remove the bowl and let it cool off for several minutes.
Use a magnet to separate the silver from the potato.
Now that you have melted your silver with the potato, you will need to separate them so that you can take out your molten metal without damaging it. To do this, simply use a magnet to pull one side of your piece of silver away from the other side and allow it to cool off at room temperature (or in a bowl of water if you prefer).
Heat up your silversmithing crucible and melt the rest of your silver.
Once you have removed your silver, you can now heat up your crucible and melt the rest of your silver. You should place the crucible over a heating element on top of a surface to keep it warm (such as a hot plate or electric stove). Once the crucible has reached its desired temperature, place another piece of silver into it to melt and allow it to cool off again. Repeat this process until it is all melted.
Heat up the potato again and let it cool off for several minutes.
After you have finished melting your silver, you can then let your potato cool off for several minutes before using it once more to melt more silver. Place a small piece of silver into the bowl and then place the bowl on top of an electric heating element (such as a curling iron or hair dryer) and let sit there for around five minutes again before taking it out once more. Repeat this process until allowing it to cool off again.
Steps To Melt Silver With A Potato
- Cut a potato in half and scoop out the inside.
- Place the potato halves into a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes. The insides of the potato will turn white because it’s been cooked from the inside out. This is very important: do not allow any water to get into this pot while it’s sitting on heat! If you do, you can create a serious mess that may result in either severe burns or even an explosion! Instead, leave your potatoes sitting in a cool place until you’re ready to use them.
- Put your silver piece into one of the potato halves, then place both pieces in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes (or until the silver melts).
- Use tongs to remove one of the pieces from your oven and submerge it back into your hot water bath (these are called “lifts”). Keep the hot water bath going until the silver completely melts.
- Remove the silver from the potato and place it into a glass bowl. Be sure that you don’t let any water get into your glass bowl when you’re doing this step! This is very important: do not allow any water to get into this bowl while it’s sitting on heat! If you do, you can create a serious mess that may result in either severe burns or even an explosion! Instead, leave your silver piece in a cool place until you’re ready to use it.
If you’re working with very small amounts of silver, a crucible can be cost-prohibitive and tricky to use. Thankfully, a potato makes a perfect substitute for a crucible, allowing you to melt silver without a crucible entirely. If you’re working with small amounts of silver, we recommend using a potato to melt silver without a crucible, as this will be easier and cheaper than using a proper crucible.