How can I fire my Metal Clay piece
Firing your Metal Clay work can be done in three different ways. Not all three are applicable to all of your work.
Firing with a torch :
An economical method to fire you work at home is the torch firing. You will need a small butane torch like the one we use in our kitchen for crème brulee, and a firing block.
According to the manufacturer you can safely torch fire pieces that are not larger than a 2 Euro coin and weight no more than 25 g. The estimated firing times given again by the manufacturer are:
CLAY WEIGHT FIRING TIME
Up to 5g 1 -1.5 minute
6 - 15 g 1.5 - 2 minutes
16 - 25 g 2 - 4 minutes
When I am firing with torch I double the suggested firing times ( e.g. for 5 gr 3 minutes ).
Dim the lights in the room. Put your piece on the firing block and with the tip of the blue flame of your torch start applying heat on your piece. Do it in circular motions about 10 cm away from the piece. At the beginning, your piece will catch fire (the reason is that the binder in it, is burning). You have to keep heating it and when the binder burns out completely, the fire will stop. Sometimes, when the piece is flat, its edges tend to wrap in which case, we continue heating it, knowing that in the end, it will return at its original shape. After a few seconds, our piece will have an orange salmonish glow, visible only in a dark room. This is the indication that it is firing properly at the correct temperature. From this point, we must count 3 to 5 minutes depending on the weight of the piece. If you see that your piece is getting red instead of maintaining an orange salmon color, or if the color becomes more glossy, or if you have small sparks of silver, it means that is over heated and there is a huge risk of melting. You can solve this issue very easily. Just increase the distance between the torch and your piece until the color becomes again salmon orange. After the firing, lift the piece with your tweezers and place it in a bowl of water; this procedure is called quenching. Tip: quenching is forbidden for pieces that have any kind of stones. The change in the temperature will destroy the stones. Torch firing is a good method if you can not afford a kiln.
Firing on the gas hob:
This is the simplest way to fire your silver clay at home. You will need a small piece of steel mesh to support your piece on the gas ring.
Place the mesh on the gas ring and turn on the gas, check and find the hottest spot on the mesh and then switch off the gas. With a tweezers carefully place the piece on the mesh on the spot you found as the hottest. Cover the piece with another piece of mesh for safety reasons, turn on the gas and leave it for 5 minutes.
This method applies to small pieces up to 10 g with flat shape.
Personally, because I cannot have any control on the temperature, I don't like this method and I do not recommend it to you either.
Kiln Firing :
The most accurate method to fire your work is firing in a kiln. There are a lot of brands and kiln sizes in the market. Choose the one that fits your needs.
Firing in the kiln is more safe as the tempreture is controled.
I like to fire my work at the highest possible tempreture according to my materials with long holding time.
Kiln firing is perfect for all metal clays, all scale of work or shapes based on a core materials.
Consult the table below for indicative times for firing silver. Longer firing under controlled temperature in the kiln will make the item stronger. When firing bulky large pieces, be generous with firing times.
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