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Author Topic: Settings made with metal clay?  (Read 1926 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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Enchantra

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2018, 10:00:01 PM »

This is what happens with me working full-time - I miss all these lovely postings where I actually have input to give that you could use.

If you want to learn how to set stones in metal clay, there is a really good book on Amazon.  I have a copy and I use it like a bible for setting stones in metal clay.

The Author is Lisa Barth
https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Stone-Techniques-Setting-Inspiration/dp/1463576471/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536036968&sr=8-2&keywords=metal+clay+books

There is also this book, which I have and it is more advanced, but still has good advice.

https://www.amazon.com/Setting-Stones-Metal-Jeanette-Landenwitch-ebook/dp/B018O4BY58/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1536037107&sr=8-6&keywords=metal+clay+books

I hope that helps.
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ileney

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2018, 06:42:41 AM »

You don't need an expensive kiln for any of the silver metal clay I am familiar with. A simple tabletop used hobby kiln works just fine for me. They are often available used on ebay for between $35 and $125. These are the kind originally used in the 60's for making groovy enameled stuff. It's basically a 3" to 7" (depending upon manufacturer) hot burner with a little aluminum cover with a handle that you can use or choose not to use. They generally heat up around 1600 degress, which is about what most silver clay cooks at. Some (but not all) of the copper and other clays require being covered and a two stage firing process and these kinds of kilns won't work for those types of clays, I don't think. I have used them for one stage simple fire copper and silver PMC or Art Clay brands of silver clay.
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ileney

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2018, 06:49:15 AM »

Question. Although I have made things with PMC Plus (my favorite type so far- would be curious what you find is best for bezel setting) and have also used Art Clay silver, I never tried to incorporate a bezel. When you say: "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," what do you mean? I am assuming you form the bezel to be the correct size for your stone. Do you then inset it a little into the soft clay back before it dries and hardens and "solder" it in place with a little wet clay or do you leave it on top and just put soft wet clay or syringe clay over the edge? I had assumed you would inset it a little, but I'm confused by what you wrote.
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Enchantra

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2018, 06:45:11 PM »

Question. Although I have made things with PMC Plus (my favorite type so far- would be curious what you find is best for bezel setting) and have also used Art Clay silver, I never tried to incorporate a bezel. When you say: "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," what do you mean? I am assuming you form the bezel to be the correct size for your stone. Do you then inset it a little into the soft clay back before it dries and hardens and "solder" it in place with a little wet clay or do you leave it on top and just put soft wet clay or syringe clay over the edge? I had assumed you would inset it a little, but I'm confused by what you wrote.

I believe I know what he is trying to say.
Metal clay shrinks as it dries, and again once it is fired.  The best rule of thumb if you are embedding a bezel in the clay itself before firing, is to make the bezel slightly larger than the stone.  To prevent massive warping of the bezel in the kiln, fill the bezel area with casting investment or plaster.  Allow it to dry thoroughly and then kiln fire.  The plaster/investment will easily pop out in warm water when you clean the piece after firing. 

Bezel wire itself when embedded in clay needs to be anchored in.  I use a thin rope of extruded clay around the outside of the bezel to anchor it to the base.  I then smooth this out with a paintbrush and water so it blends with the bezel wire and clay base.  I use oil paste to join the two bezel ends together.

If you are soldering on the bezel after firing, make sure that the area for the bezel is smooth before the piece is fired.  Then apply the bezel using normal soldering techniques.
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-Amanda
http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/EnchantedRegalia
http://www.pinterest.com/amandabielski/
https://www.facebook.com/enchantedregalia/

Coincidence is G-d's way of staying anonymous.  -Rabbi David Abrahams

Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else's life forever. - Comedian Margaret Cho.

A man wearing a helmet defending his country should make more money than a man with a helmet defending a football!!!  (From an email message I received - so true!)

ileney

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Re: Settings made with metal clay?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2018, 01:46:25 PM »

Thank you for this. That’s helpful. I have never used investment. Is it like plaster? I assume you can buy it at Rio Grande or Kingsley North.
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