Reply to Annealing Of Silver

Hi Crew,

Sorry about the delay in replying; the clutch went out on my poor Fiero last Friday (actually, not the clutch - I thought the throw-out arm had broken, but it turned out to be just the - now unavailable - slave cylinder bracket. From $$$$ to $$). So I've been sidetracked. I'll just reply to the comments en-masse.

We do this on a regular basis. There is also a Yahoo group devoted to > doing this "sca_moneyer". > > Annealing: > You want to heat it up to where it is just red, and then let it cool. > We usually get about 3 passes before you have to anneal, some times > 2. > > Punching > We used to use the stirrup punches, but they are not great. What > works better and are commonly available, are shim punches. I also > recently noticed one (quality unknown) at harbor freight "46628-3VGA". > ~ $12.00. > > Our group has had custom punches that are essentially the same thing, > (in a single size) made. > > A 2" diameter is HUGE for hand striking, 1" is pretty big but doable. > It depends of course upon how big a hammer you can manage. Some people > in our group prefer a 4 lb hammer swung two handed, I use an 8lb > sledge that I have cut town to about 1 foot. > > Striking a lot of coins also works best as a 3 man operation. A > placer, a die holder and a striker. > > Where are you located? > > jk >

Thanks for the link to the moneyers' group. That's exactly my intent.

I mis-typed the size; I was thinking of 1" dia. I've measured some of the real coins I have, and the sizes for the common denominations are closer to 3/4". A Venetian Gazetta (~1550) is 18 mm dia & 4.25 mm thick; an English penny (~1250) is 17.5 mm dia & 8.75 mm thick. With the metal being relatively thin, I hope the punching of the blanks will be somewhat easy (hah!). The HF punch & die only goes up to 5/8".

I've seen contemporary engravings of a one-man operation - cross-legged on the ground. I guess I'll find out.

I'm in the "mountains" of South Carolina, right next-door to the moonshiners.

Most slip rolls won't be stiff enough to roll down silver ingots. > Maybe a big industrial model might work. Jewelers use a rolling mill > that is considerably stiffer in construction than a typical small slip > roll. What is the thickness of your bars? I have a medium-sized > Durston rolling mill, and the max it can handle is about 6 mm thick. > It has a 4-1 reduction gear, and still requires a LOT of elbow grease > to roll wide ingots. It has 130 mm wide by 60mm diameter rolls, in a > heavy steel plate frame. Compare that construction to a typical slip > roll, and you can see the difference. > > The arch punch will only work on very thin metal -- coin blanks are > too thick, IMO. > > Regards, > > Bob >

I have an Akro Mills roller, only 6'' wide that I picked up at a school district auction. I've rolled some nickels down to about 5 mm, so I hope that it will handle the silver, as well. The nickels did require some real effort, though. Maybe I will have to start with some gentle hammer reduction, using my BAH. I don't know the thickness of the bars offhand. They are the typical 1 troy oz. commemorative bars that I bought at a coin show; some ugly, slightly tarnished zodiac designs for which I paid only 50 cents above market value.

Why do you want to use fine silver? It will wear very fast. Also when > annealing you need to protect it against fire staining/scaling. 99.9 > will not fire stain like sterling silver (95% silver 5% copper) but > will some. You can prevent by using a 50% mixture of alcohol > (denatured hardware stuff) and boric acid (roach kill). Apply the > mixture with brush, lite up and let alcohol burn off. Then using > ox/acty torch with large bushy flame and little on the acty heat to > dull red. Quench after about a minute so the silver does not tear or > crack when you pick it up. Use a pickle to clean the silver before you roll. >

Fine silver was the standard metal for coining in the Middle Ages. Any alloying was considered as nothing more than a debasement of the money (although that was real popular, too).

Thanks for the formula.

Can I ask you to post some pix when you have struck some coins? > (Of the dies, too - or better still, the whole process?) > > This sounds like a lot of fun. > > Jeff >

Sure, I intend to document this process. I probably won't get started until this summer.

Fun is the only reason I'm doing it!

There seems to be some disagreement on the particulars of annealing the silver. I guess I'll experiment with that.

Another question (I haven't had a chance to check the Yahoo group yet): What should I use for the dies? I had thought of some hardenable tool steel, but it would have to be somewhat forgiving about temperature; I am somewhat color blind (doesn't pose too much of a problem, though).

Again, thanks to everyone who replied. I can be contacted directly at jgandalfatmindspringdotcom (the displayed return addy is anti-spam phony).


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It is. You can also use "arch punches or just cut them with shears, or make a special purpose punch like we do.

A god size for pennies.

Striking works better standing.


They work, but are not real fun. THe coins you are talking about are a LOT thinner than modern coins. ~20ga

We roll down ingots that we cast, but they start at ~1/8", and any where from 1" to 1.5" wide. IT does help to taper the leading edge.

A deal

Cold roll steel rod works just fine. THe group of people I do this with usually use that. Personally I tend to use Drill rod, because it has a more consistent diameter and IMHO does not rust as fast.

YOu do not need to harden your die, unless you are going to do a LOT (thousands) and even then it may be easier to just make a new die or touch up your old one.


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Atlantia (barely). Are you nearby? I just discovered that Meridies has a moneyers guild. Hmmm...

Thanks again for your input. Spring can't come soon enough for me, even in the (so-called) Sunny South.


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I was going to direct you to them. I know Atlantia has lots of SCA moneyers (or it did a few years ago), but I don't know who. I sent you an email with the notes I hand out for the class I teach at Pensic. Hopefully I got your munged email correctly.


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