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Has Anyone Done Home Silver Refining?

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Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 12/15/2020  7:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jskirwin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How much do you spend on propane per pour?
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 Posted 12/15/2020  7:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add silverstash119 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Jskirwin-

So far it's not cost effective, but a lot of that has been due to initial trial and error. I seem to have spent about $17 on propane so far for about maybe 3 pounds of copper melting, spread over three weekends. Now that I'm dialing it in I think this will get better. First couple weekends I had didn't have the gas flow high enough (mostly out of fear of the furnace capabilities), so I was just spending a long time skirting the melting point. This last weekend I had it cranked up and from start to being able to pour was about 45 minutes. After the initial warmup, I was able to pour, then add more to the crucible and have it quickly melt within about 10 minutes. So for cost effectiveness I'll need to spend a good chunk of the day melting, as I burn a lot of fuel just warming up.

Right now I'm more concerned with the fun of it and the hobby than being cost effective, but eventually I'd like that to change.
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 Posted 12/15/2020  10:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jskirwin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks. I was just curious. The cool factor makes it well worth it.
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 Posted 12/30/2020  01:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add silverstash119 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Have made some strides in being able to get more bars and better quality in shorter periods of time. My record so far was this morning - 5 bars in 1.5 hours. Also honing in how to get some of the finishes I want. I'm liking these pour lines. I rigged up a blowtorch to heat the ingot mold while I pour, so it cools a little more slowly and I get these circular ripples, otherwise the top layer cools too quickly and eventually sinks in like a deflated cake.

Have sold one on eBay for $8.50 plus shipping, hoping to eventually be getting more for these, but feeling out what the market thinks they're worth through auction. I have 10 more listed and each of them has a bid with still 5 days to go, so there's definitely some buzz out there.





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 Posted 12/30/2020  10:29 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cross-eyed to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice.About how much copper do you load it up with at one time?
How high do You have propane set at? What is Your lighting it up procedure?

When Mine came in the hose wouldn't screw onto the burner. I contacted them and they sent Me a new hose and burner, and a set of gloves. Which I thought was real nice of them.
Now I'm waiting for it to warm up outside so I can melt some wires I stripped.
With the copper bars I make, I'll probably just give 'em to My Nephew, who will soon be minting His own rounds.
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 Posted 12/30/2020  11:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add silverstash119 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My pressure regulator is just a knob that will go from 0-20 psi, so I can't tell exactly what pressure I'm using, but if I had to guess I probably have it around halfway at 10-15 psi. I'm going more now based on the sound of the furnace to know if it's cranked up enough.

I probably load up about 5 lbs of wire per pour. I fill it with wire scraps before putting it in the furnace, lite the furnace on a low flame, and put the crucible in there on low to let everything warm up for about 5 mins, then I'll put the lid down and crank it up. After that initial wire melts down I have some thicker 1" thick copper wires that I stick in there to add to the melt. I try not to get the crucible more than about 1/3 full, so it's not too heavy/awkward.

Using my IR thermometer, when the temperature is reading about 2100-2200F then it seems to be about ready.

I've also found that I can only run one propane tank about an hour before it starts to freeze and flow gets restricted, so I have 2 tanks so I can alternate. Not sure if that will still be an issue in the summer...
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 Posted 01/21/2021  8:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Dearborn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've watched my pool guy while treating my swimming pool. When he adds liquid chlorine, I notice that the bottle will frost up. He simply dips the tank into the pool water to warm it up and it starts flowing well again.

You could do something similar like having a tub of lukewarm water near the propane tank to dip it in when it starts to freeze up. It might hel pyuo have longer burns without cutting off the heat so often.
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 Posted 01/21/2021  8:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Dearborn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm interested in your hobby, as I will be trying the same thing, except that I'm going for gold extraction and refinement from computer components.
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 Posted 01/21/2021  8:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Anyone that wants to follow, just subscribe to this post and I'll post my experimentations here.



Sounds like a fun project. I'm up for watching your progress!
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz

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 Posted 05/02/2021  9:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add silverstash119 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thought this was worth sharing. Kind of meshing my love of history and precious metals together. Did my first attempt at sand casting copper today. I formed a model out of clay of an "oxhide" ingot, which is the shape of ingots from thousands of years ago when they were tied up on the backs of oxen and transported from region to region as an international metals trade. The originals of these were about 60 lbs, mine is about 1 1/2, so a reduced size replica. Built my clay model, and put foundry sand in a wooden frame with the clay model inside, and after removing the clay model did a sand casting in the space left behind. Probably pretty close to what they would have done thousands of years ago. I'm aging it with a blue/green patina using miracle grow and red wine vinegar. Hard to see but I added my makers mark of an O with a T through it (related to my eBay name). Just a fun project and my first intro to sand casting.


Edited by silverstash119
05/02/2021 9:13 pm
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 Posted 05/02/2021  9:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hey that is pretty cool @ss119. I like the patina you are giving it. What does the underside look like?
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz

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 Posted 05/02/2021  9:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add silverstash119 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@spence

Similar patina, just a little more lumpy. The other side is definitely the "presentation" side. Ordered some small stands off Amazon to see if I could give it a display stand...


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 Posted 06/24/2021  01:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cross-eyed to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think it looks good for the first time sand casting. I haven't tried that yet. I have been bouncing in between refining and melting some scrap.

While refining, the larger piece of gold, I used silver for the inquarting process. Inquarting is where you reduce the gold content down to about 25%. If the gold content is lower than 6K you wind up with a really fine dust that is a pain to work with. If the gold content is higher than 9K, the structure of the gold itself will prevent any acid from coming in contact with the base metals preventing removal.
So one of the biproducts of gold refining is silver nitrate. And copper is used to drop the silver back out of solution, called silver cement.Because it looks kinda like cement.




I'll filter this off and melt up the near pure silver in a melt dish.
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 Posted 06/24/2021  07:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jskirwin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I really enjoy this thread.

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 Posted 09/11/2021  7:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add HappyHippo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looks fun and I like the rippled bars. I buy those in silver on IG. Frankly though, I don't get why people are buying copper bars at a huge premium. At $5 a pound a 1 oz copper bar has only 32 cents of copper in it. They do look cool, so maybe that is why they buy them. Even the hand poured silver bars I buy are a dubious "investment".
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