I was soldering a setting onto Spiculum #1... and had just about gotten it on when BAM!!!! a piece flew off, and either that or my reflexive jerk extinguished the torch. Yikes!
I know not to heat up a hollow piece unless there's an opening for the hot gasses to escape from. I did have one, though! However, it was toward the middle, and my best guess is that at the ends the metal had collapsed and/or soldered together, so the gasses right at the tip were stuck. And BOOM!
Fortunately, no one and nothing was hurt. I am very glad that I did not have the dog in the studio then, for instance! And even though I was not wearing safety goggles- and this is why one really always should- it didn't hit my eye or my face or anything. And while I have not been able to find the fragment, I've been checking the studio every 10 min. for over an hour now, and there appear to be no smoldering fires. Whew! I'm glad I went with the industrial carpet- from the initial smell, I think that's what it hit, and the carpet is pretty fireproof.
I'm also lucky that the piece came off the back, so I can repair it. After enlarging the hole!
Anyway, I shut the torch down after that because of the adrenaline rush. I did get some good work done before it happened, though, like a start on soldering a Russian filigree pendant.
I also fired a tiny test of the replacement Schauer 7137 enamel, and it turned out lovely. Whew! I took it up to 1400F; the notes Patty at Rio Grande gave me said the best temps were between 1400-1600F. I'll have to try it a bit lower and see what the bottom is- most of the ones I use for plique and cloisonne start at 1350, but 1400 is not out of bounds for those techniques. I'm very pleased with the support Rio offered, all in all. They were pretty slow about responding initially, and I had to bug them a couple of times, but they came through very well in the end.
Now to check the studio for fire again! I'm going to only do it every half hour for a couple of hours now, though. (And yes, I do have 2 kinds of fire alarms in there- there's the standard smoke detector, and another that detects scarily-rising temperatures.)