Saturday, April 5, 2014

White COPPRclay!!!

I LOVE it!  I don't have a ton of experience with it yet but the little experience I've had was excellent.  The clay right out of the bag has a bronze clay color (don't let it deceive you, the final fired product is deceivingly silver).  It has a good consistency, not as crumbly as the bronze right out of the bag, but not as soft and pliable as silver.  It didn't seem to dry out very fast either, but I only made flat keychains with imprints, so I didn't work with it long enough to have a reliable opinion.

So the reason I bought this clay in the first place was in hopes that it'll be a better medium to make sturdy silver colored keychains without breaking from the slightest tap against another hard surface like Hadar's White Bronze Clay (terrible excuse for a metal...I never had a good experience firing it, it's a waste of money, in my opinion).

In the clay form, White COPPRclay is just fine.  I didn't really care how it handled the clay form though, I was more interested in how it'd turn out after being fired.  I found a couple of sites instructing to fire it in two phases (ramp to 500 to 600 degrees and hold for 10 minutes...the only thing I changed here was having it hold for 15 minutes because my keychains were thick and I worried the binder wouldn't burn probably would have been fine at 10 minutes).

The second phase instructs you to ramp full to 1850 and hold for 2 hours.  And it specifies that temperature regardless of the size of the piece.  This gave me a glimmer of hope that it would turn out okay.  The other thing that made me confident was the fact that this metal is supposed to be able to bend after it's fired.  White Bronze specifically instructs the fired piece not to be hammered or bent (um, because the tiniest impact with this 'metal' breaks it into several pieces).  I found another article describing alternate firing times here.  So I went with a higher temperature (I'm jaded from all the problems with the White Bronze not sintering).  I set the kiln to full ramp to 1925 degrees for 2 hours, but I turned off the kiln at 1 hr 15 min because it started to smell like it was on fire.  Aside from the terrible fear that either a.) my  house was doomed to burn to the ground, or b.) my kiln was ruined, I waited several hours (about 8, to be honest) for the kiln to cool to room temperature (which is actually instructed with White COPPRclay, but I also was afraid I'd open the kiln to find a flaming melted steel box).  When it was all cooled off, I pulled out the three keychains I had fired...all three looked lovely.  A beautiful silver color straight out of the carbon.  And after carefully tapping the keychain I made for my husband on the dryer, I heard the sweet sound of the jingle of metal against metal.  I got brave and dropped it on the floor (basically cement with linoleum over it).  Not only did it stay intact, it actually bounced, like when you drop a coin and have to chase it across the room.  Success!! On the FIRST try!!!

So, I'm hooked.  Bring on the sales!  I guess to have sales, I'll need to make more samples to post.  And I'll need to actually renew items in my shop.  Currently, nothing is for sale.  Everything in good time.  I'm glad I wrote my previous helped me overcome some of the anxieties I had in the process of making these keychains.

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