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Thread: Silver clay disaster! Please help!

  1. #21
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    Sep 2013
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    an agate burnisher like this will do the trick http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery...rcode-999-AOA3, To work harden, use a raw hide hammer and a steel bench block and well, hammer Will also flatten the piece for you as quite often charms warp in the kiln. Some peeps swear tumbling work hardens pieces, but am not convinced, lots say it doesn't...

  2. #22
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    Mar 2013
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    Thank-you so much for this Melanie Yes I'd noticed that particularly square cufflinks warp which I don't think helped when it came to soldering the backs on! As you mentioned tumbling, can I ask is this something you'd recommend for polishing? I was taught to use the three grades of sanding sponges before and after firing but have read about other methods including tumbling although wasn't sure if this might affect things like fingerprints?

  3. #23
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    Just a thought.....the pieces you have had problems with, are they fresh clay from the lump or rehydrated in any way? Also, how much oil or slik are you using with the clay, have you changed this at all recently? If you imagine, you could get a pocket of grease inside a fold in the clay before firing....sort of like puff pastry if you get my drift!
    Just a couple of extra things to think about.....

    Sarah

  4. #24
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    Hi Sarah, yes they have been fresh clay not rehydrated. I'm not sure what you mean by oil or slik (I'm beginning to realize there's an awful lot I don't know about silver clay!) but I have been using quite a bit of badger balm on my fingertips if that could have the same effect? Possibly more than before because of the clay drying out quickly in the warm weather.

  5. #25
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    I still get the odd order for PMC (I use PMC3+) and from playing around with it in the past I've found soldering to be almost impossible. There is a reason they sell those embeddable findings for PMC which is that it solders erratically. I find it works best when it is just 'as is', either as beads or pendants.

  6. #26
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    I agree that charms and pendants are alot less trouble than soldered pieces! Am not familiar with embeddable findings though. Is this something that could be used for cufflinks do you know?

  7. #27
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    Ive never really done much with silver clay but Medusas post just reminded me I saw the embeddable findings here ages ago and they have cufflinks:
    http://www.metalclay.co.uk/cufflinks/

  8. #28
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    Mar 2013
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    Thank-you very much for that Enigma They look alot easier than soldering. The only downside is the cost although with the amount of cufflinks I've had to replace it would probably be worth it!

  9. #29
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    Is all silver clay (or silver in a plastercine type) porous. A friend of mine has just started to do it and she said PMC used to be porous but the modern stuff isnt now. To me that just sounds rubbish, but thats what she has been taught. Next month she is learning how to do bezels, cant imagine them successfully holding a stone for long. She is being taught by a proper teacher, not just picking it up herself.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patstone View Post
    Is all silver clay (or silver in a plastercine type) porous. A friend of mine has just started to do it and she said PMC used to be porous but the modern stuff isnt now. To me that just sounds rubbish, but thats what she has been taught. Next month she is learning how to do bezels, cant imagine them successfully holding a stone for long. She is being taught by a proper teacher, not just picking it up herself.
    Hi Patstone,

    If silver metal clay is fired at 1650 def F for 2 hours minimum and the fine silver object work hardened afterwards (as one would do after annealing any metal in order to strengthen it), then the resulting fine silver object is strong and sturdy.

    In her first book ‘Sculptural Metal Clay’ (sadly out of print), Kate McKinnon, who is a jewellery artist and scientist, explains that the process of firing metal clay is to get the small particles of metal to stick together and the closer the kiln can get to the fusing temperature of fine silver (approx 1750 F), the better the strength of the pieces will be. Firing at 1650 deg F for 2 hours brings the material as close to its fusing temperature and strengthens pieces structurally because the boundaries of the metal grains merge together - work hardening the resulting metal afterwards, further strengthens the metal. Underfiring silver metal clay for shorter periods of time and not work hardening the work afterwards can result in porous and fragile pieces prone to breakage.
    Kate's results have come after her own extensive tests of the material under laboratory conditions as well as consulting chemisty and metallurgy professors at Brown University in the U.S.

    I’ve fired my silver metal clay pieces (both Art Clay and PMC3) this way for years, making rings, earrings and clasps, having them successfully hallmarked and have seen no issues in terms of durabiltiy/strength.

    The clasp on the bracelet is fine silver and the following image shows the hallmark on the back.

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    With regards to bezel settings, check out Lisa Barth’s work here in metal clay:

    https://uk.pinterest.com/dreamfaire/...of-lisa-barth/

    If the fine silver bezel is formed, embedded into the wet clay and then fired when bone-dry, the bezel fuses to the support that it has been embedded creating a very strong bond.

    Hope some of this answer helps

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