How to Fire Precious Metal Clay With a Butane Torch

October 15th, 2010 by wys


Precious metal clayallows you, the untrained amateur jewelry maker, to construct your own handcrafted beads, charms, and pendants from honest to goodness real precious metals like pure silver and real gold.

Here’s how you work with this innovative material. You shape your pieces or parts from the metal clay, let dry, then use a firing method to burn away the binder. Fine metal particles are suspended in an organic binder that can be burnt away leaving the metal fused into the form you shape it.

You can use umpteen different methods to shape, texture, and mold the clay into attractive and delicate forms, but these are beyond the scope of this article!

Recommended Ways To Fire Your Metal Clay

You’ll find there are 3 different ways to fire metal clay. These are using a butane mcro torch, a kiln, or something called a “Hot Pot” (or similar gas/metal screen setup). In this post, let’s talk about using the torch.

Using A Hand Torch For Firing Precious Metal Clay

Smaller pieces (less than 25 g) can be hand torch fired. For best results, make sure your piece is pretty even in thickness and relatively simple. More complex and intricate pieces are inclined to fare better in a kiln.

Here’s how to torch fire. Don’t forget touse a a fire proof and heat retardant like a soldering pad or a fire brick with a piece of aluminum sheet underneath. You’ll want a well ventilated area. Using your butane torch (I use a Blazer torch), aim your flame on the dry precious metal clay piece. At first you’ll see a small amount of smoke as the organic binder burns off. Then you need to get the piece glowing a nice pinky orange colour (you can see it quite clearly as long as you aren’t working in too bright a light) Move the torch away slightly and then back if the glow fades. Just don’t go really close with the torch once you have got up to temperature or you will melt the detail on your work.

A Precious Clay Torching Video:
Videos always help explain this torch technique:

Looking for precious metal clay retailers? Resource girl to the rescue! Take a look at my precious metal clay pages and posts at http://shop.how-to-make-jewelry.com/metal-clay-supplies/ to find metal clay supplies and links for various suppliers and stockists worldwide.

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