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Recovering silver from old resin filled sterling items

June 28, 2010

I have several old pieces of silver including several flatware knives that are beyond use for anything but scrap. These are resin filled and I would like to know the best method of removing the resin. there must be a simple method involving heat but I do not dare use an open flame. Would appreciate any guidance. Thank you for your attention.

Jon Scarborough
retired - Melrose, Massachusetts, USA

First of two simultaneous responses -- June 29, 2010

A vented high temp oven/furnace/muffle should work. Expect some carbon yuk on the silver unless you take it to melting temp.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Second of two simultaneous responses -- June 30, 2010

Try immersion in acetone or white spirit(2-3 days at least). Immersion in boiling water can be useful too. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

First of two simultaneous responses -- June 30, 2010

If the knives are truly filled with resin and not plaster, you can incinerate them. The stainless blade will then easily pull out and you can knock out most of the remains of the resin.

The cleanest way is to make a cut in the sterling foil and then use a pair of pliers to peel it off. Wear leather gloves because the foil is sharp. By peeling it, you end up with very clean sterling.

The sterling foil should run 92.5% silver or a little less.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

Second of two simultaneous responses -- June 30, 2010

A no brainer simple method is a few whacks with a hammer on all sides which will loosen the handles and break up the old resin or plaster inside the silver pieces. Dump out the broken resin or plaster and recover the silver. The resin is usally quite old and brittle and will break up fairly easily. The handles will often split during hammering allowing easier access to the filler material.

Good luck & Best regards,

Jim Sivertsen
Refining & Alloys - Alden, New York

July 12, 2010

Many thanks to you all, I am grateful for all the suggestions.

Jon Scarborough
- Melrose, Massachusetts

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