One of the basic techniques you learn as a silversmith is how to anneal metal. Annealing is the process of heating your metal to soften it after it has been work- hardened with steel tools. It is necessary to anneal metal through the different stages of making so you are not working with a piece of metal that is too hard. This could result in the metal cracking or if you have a solder joint in your piece this could split.
Most people think that you just need to heat your silver and then quench it in water to anneal it, but there are a number of things you need to do to correctly anneal your metal. Using a piece of silver wire I will show how to correctly anneal metal and the difference in the malleability before and after annealing.
In this video you can see the benefit of having your metal correctly annealed. Not only does the metal ‘behave’ itself but it also makes hammering the metal much easier on you and your ears!