Tips and Information about making jewelry

With this blog, I hope to share my knowledge, successes, trials and errors, student's work, tips, and information about making jewelry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Combining Sterling Silver Metal Clay with Fine Silver Metal Clay

Hi everyone. I am working on a project that involves making a ring out of two clay types, sterling silver and fine silver. I wanted to know how to combine them without having the problems of uneven shrinkage. Additionally, I wanted to fire them together.

Here is what I made. The shank is made of sterling silver metal clay (PMC Sterling Silver). I hand carved the feather design into it. The top is made from PMC3 metal clay.

To solve the problem of shrinkage I fired them both separately.  The top (PMC3) was  fired at 1110 F for 1 hour. I fired it at a lower temperature to protect the Garnets.
The ring shank is made from PMC Sterling Silver metal clay. I fired it using the two stage system recommended by Mitsubishi.

I used PMC3 syringe and oil slip to hold them together.  I had several questions about this configuarion.

  • Do I fire it using the two stage system or do I fire it using the PMC3 system. 
  • If I fired it using the PMC3 system, would it be a good join?
  • Will the sterling oxidize and not stick to the newly added clay holding them together. 
  • Or, if I fire using the two stage system, I must lower the temperature to 1110 F so as not to harm the stones.
Well my lazy side won out. I fired it on a kiln shelf at 1110 F with no carbon for 2 hours giving the new clay time to connect to the fired clay.


Monday, March 5, 2012

OPPS Watch out! Tips about Firing Sterling Silver Metal Clay with Stones!

I have an update about the last blog where I fired the sterling silver ring inside the fiber blanket.

What I have found is that the fiber blanket fumed brown soot on all my stones! Notice the brown in the fiber blanket around the ring.
It washes off the tops of the stone, but it is on the under-side of the stones too! This makes them look dull and hazy!
I fired the ring again, this time buried in the charcoal and only went up to 1400F. It did help burn off the soot but a lot of it is still there under the stones making them dull.

I will try putting it into an ultra sonic cleaner and then steam blasting them to see it that cleans it off the back of the stones.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Think about Shrinkage when Designing Sterling Silver Metal Clay Hollow Ring!

Hi everyone, I have continued to work with the new sterling silver metal clay trying to solve the problems I had from my last posting. Success!

I recreated the ring in my last post, but this time I made sure that the inside ring shank was not attached to the outside ring band. I also made both inside and outside ring bands the same thickness, 6 cards thick.

In my first attempt, I made the inside ring shank thinner, thinking that the sterling silver clay is stronger and it didn't need to be so thick. Which is true, but it also shrinks quite a bit!  So, while firing, the outside larger band pulled the thinner band apart creating a small tear in the inside ring shank.

Here is the new ring showing the two bands separate and the same thickness. I made them thicker so that I could carve into the clay and set stones later.

Another problem I had with the first ring was the carbon indenting the metal during firing. This time I encased the ring with fiber blanket during the second firing.

First I fired the clay on the shelf (per the instructions) and then wrapped the ring inside fiber blanket with a small amount of fiber blanket inside the ring shank.
 I made sure the carbon below the fiber blanket was 1/2" thick (per the instructions).

I then covered over the fiber blanket 1/2" with activated coconut carbon. The lid was placed tightly on the stainless steel container and fired at 1500 F for one hour. I fired it for an hour because the ring is so thick in mass.

The ring came out fine fully sintered with no dents from the carbon!