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Thread: Microwave kiln and silver clay

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Microwave kiln and silver clay

    Hi, I'm used to using silver clay with a blow torch but want to use a microwave kiln to push my level of clay designs and incorporate sea glass into it. Would anyone be able to tell me the details of timing in the kiln and process. There's actually nothing online about it, only an example of a leaf.
    Would it be the same as the instructions for a torch?
    Thanks in advance!!!
    On a separate note, I could really do with knowing what gemstones can withstand the heat from a microwave too.

  2. #2
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    The use of microwave kilns for clay is a relatively new idea, so there won't be very much information out there, as witnessed by the threads on Ganoksin here: https://www.google.com/search?client...or+silver+clay.

    Different substances are affected differently by microwaving, so I would only try inexpensive artificial stones to begin with. The time and power used will be subject to experiment

    My main reservation is that you are warned not to put metal objects in your microwave, so I would be reluctant to try it in an expensive domestic one.

    I predict that the end of the firing will be heralded by a fireworks display. Dennis.

  3. #3
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    I don’t know anything about this but would imagine as Dennis said that it must be a special microwave surely.
    There are many clay groups on FB with specific expertise on the subject that we may not know about. It might be worth joining some of those as well

  4. #4
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    I’m now scared of microwaves……. I once reheated my hot chocolate in a mug in a microwave……. All very normal apart from this time the mug I was using had a silvery metallic looking glaze on the handle…… after a minute or so I reached in to retrieve my hot chocolate …. Shock and horror…… there was a sizzle and my fingers briefly stuck to the handle.
    I hadn’t noticed the colour of the handle before grabbing it…. It had turn from silver to a yellow, blue and purple tone…. and we all know how hot that is…… so be careful….x Nick

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_L...rf9BHtKU4lFUhQ
    Last edited by nicks creative stuff; 03-08-2021 at 04:16 PM.

  5. #5
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    On a search posts for microwave kilns seem to have been coming up since 2010 so not as new as we thought. Not knowing anything about this other than a dabble with silver clay and a torch years ago I found this but I’ve no idea if it’s helpful or not
    https://amcaw.org/learning-center/me...and-equipment/

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ57 View Post
    On a search posts for microwave kilns seem to have been coming up since 2010 so not as new as we thought.[/url]
    Older than that even; I remember mentions of them over 20 years ago. Silicon carbide is particularly effective at absorbing microwaves, so they can get extremely hot (as in, copper melting) but they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    I'd probably prefer to dedicate an inexpensive microwave to the process, TBH; I've not had time to play in that area.

  7. #7
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    Lots of so-called…

    Professional Microwave Kiln for Glass Fusing …. On Amazon

    didn’t know that was also possible with a microwave… x

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_L...confirmation=1
    Last edited by nicks creative stuff; 03-08-2021 at 08:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ps_bond View Post
    Older than that even; I remember mentions of them over 20 years ago. Silicon carbide is particularly effective at absorbing microwaves, so they can get extremely hot (as in, copper melting) but they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    I'd probably prefer to dedicate an inexpensive microwave to the process, TBH; I've not had time to play in that area.
    I gave it a try with a torch but only as a form of casting embellishments. It was interesting but was quite expensive back then and I think I have a couple of solid unopened packets in the drawer! I’d rather construct and have so much scrap that maybe I should try some small casting

  9. #9
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    There's a bit of discussion in the metal clay groups on Facebook about firing metal clay in microwave kilns. I think that similarly to using microwave kilns for glass fusing there's a bit of (potentially) expensive trial and error necessary as you figure out where any hotspots might be in your kiln. I think it's somewhat less predictable than other kinds of kilns because the heat can't be monitored in the same way. But, there are people out there who have successfully done it.

    As for gemstones, well I think it's same rules apply as for ordinary kiln firing of gemstones in metal clay. As in there are very few. There's a lot of information online about the gemstones that can be fired in metal clay, and again you've got to factor in not knowing exactly how hot it is inside the little microwave kiln.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the help everyone! I decided not to go ahead with it for all the reasons above.
    I'd like to use gemstones in clay though, cooksongold has a table that says you can fire some with a torch but only for 2 minutes. I wonder how that works when the clay itself needs maybe 5?!

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