At left, granulation; Cleaned and ready to use in the bowl, hammered and somewhat flat on the table.
Many silversmiths sell their scraps back to their suppliers, but I have a "no waste" process. Every little scrap I have, be it Sterling silver, copper, bronze, brass or gold, gets turned into granulation to be used in many of the different lines that I create.
Here, on the right, are a bunch of scraps set out on my firing board. There are bits that are cut off scraps, some are damaged pieces that I couldn't other wise use and some are pieces that I just don't like the shape of and want to do over.
Here, on the left, I am heating each, individual scrap. You can see the black balls on the left hand side of the soldering board that have already been melted into balls and all the bits on the right hand side that have not been melted.
That whole board of scraps (about 9" x 12"), yielded this little pile of granulation balls and a few fused hoops which are shown here on the right.
They are then placed in a small strainer and put down into my crock pot that is filled with "pickle". This acid will clean off all of the fire scale from the surface caused by the heat of the torch.
Unfortunately, they are still too dirty to use and will have to be cleaned and polished. At this point, the silver ones look white and pasty, the brass ones look gold and fuzzy and the bronze and copper ones look red and milky.
So, I put them in the tumbler and clean them some more. This usually takes about three hours. It cleans them and hardens them which is good for regular use, but makes them harder to smash for other uses (my "Wild Flowers" line and "Stepping Stones" lines both use smashed granulation).
Once they come out of the tumbler, then I have to separate them into their different metals for storage and later use. I spend about six hours each week making, cleaning, separating and storing granulation!