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Author Topic: Settings made with metal clay?  (Read 80 times)

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John Robinson

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Settings made with metal clay?
« on: November 06, 2017, 11:56:15 AM »

I have a bunch of stones that need settings. I do not know if I have the ability or the finances to learn to be a silversmith quickly or whether I can afford all of the equipment to set up a silver casting operation.
So I was wondering if PMC could be a viable option?
 Is there an easy way to allow for shrinkage etc.?
Has anyone else done this?
I can see many advantages to using PMC to make settings, but is it actually practical?
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irockhound

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 12:48:36 PM »

The great thing about silver clay is that you can add or subtract from it easily.  If you were to make a backing you can always solder a bezel to it after of course that would require at least the soldering aspect of silversmithing.  I made a piece with the clay and embelished with the syringe clay and then added a bezel to the top and using clay to "solder the bezel together by using paste like I would solder.  Because the bezel wire doesn't shrink the bezel will slide over the top of the piece as the shrinkage occurs and you can set your stone.  This was the 4th piece I ever made in silver clay.
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gemfeller

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 01:04:04 PM »

irockhound, what kind of oven is required for working with PMC?  I assume a regular burn-out oven will do the job but I've never played with the stuff.  It seems awfully expensive compared to silver sheet and casting grain but that may be offset by the savings in other equipment needed for smithing and casting.

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irockhound

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 09:57:49 PM »

I used the local silver clay instructor's oven.  They only charge $7.00 for a full load and they do the work for you.  They used one of the programmable ovens from Paragon that allow you to ramp temp etc for the harder burns like hollow form using cork clay centers and also the pieces pre-loaded with the gemstones that survive the temps and can be set prior to burning.  I am a huge fan of the clay, being able to do complex shapes without casting or fabrication and even being able to etc, engrave the surface before firing.  I regret that I haven't done more and probably would with my own kiln.  This was the 5th piece I did and I made a cork center for it and then used syringe to form the webbing for the top of the indian bowl.  I then used a scribe to scratch the indian motif into the sides before firing.  I also made a silver feather that I placed into a piece of cork to cap this that is normally with this piece but I have mis-placed the feather.  Clay is really one of the easiest, albeit a bit more expensive ways to be creative without the limitations that happen with casting or fabrication.  I think the entry level paragon kiln used to be around 600 to 650.
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edgarscale

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 03:08:53 PM »

that's a really nice pendant john.
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50% rockhound and 50% wire wrap
       ='s one great pendant

gemfeller

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 04:14:06 PM »

Neat work Steve.  I did a little checking on-line and according to one site the maximum temp required for firing is 1650 degrees F.  My burn-out oven theoretically will reach 2000 and I have a Therminder that should maintain a fairly even temp -- it tends to cycle a little, so that could be a problem depending on how critical the exact temps are.

Since we live in the same general area I'm wondering where you found the class you attended?  I might be interested in taking it.


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