|bronze clay metal clay||or small kilns at electrickilns.co.uk or larger kilns at paragonkilns.co.uk|
Bronze Clay is a clay-like material made of fine bronze powder and water-soluble organic binders. During firing, the binders vaporise, the powder sinters, and the soft clay turns into real solid bronze: ready to wear, give, or sell.
You can design and make your own unique anklets, beads, bracelets, brooches, charms, earrings, keepsakes, necklaces, ornaments, rings, and seasonal decorations.
You can add bronze clasps to clothes, overlays to gift cards, motifs to handbags, highlights to wood, ceramics, glass, and shells, and make complex pieces using cutters, moulds, shaping tools, stamps, and texture sheets.
|BRONZE CLAY: PHOTOS|
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Bronze Mask By Gordon Uyehara.
Bronze Pendant By Sabine Alienor.
Bronze-Copper Lobster Bangle By Gordon Uyehara.
Bronze Ring By Sabine Alienor.
Celtic Bronze Torc.
Bronze Bracelet By Celie Fago.
True bronze is a copper-tin alloy, although other metals can be added to produce bronzes with different characteristics. Since its discovery about 5500 years ago, we've used bronze to make bearings, bells, ceremonial symbols, clasps, coins, containers, decorations, electrical connectors, gears, jewellery, pins, statues, tools, and weapons.
Bronze Clay is a clay-like material, made of fine bronze powder and water-soluble organic binders. As it's fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water vapour, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid bronze: an alloy of 89% copper and 11% tin. Real metal, not something that just looks like metal.
BronzeClay is an attractive material and ideal for Celtic or Roman designs, primitive styles, bangles, bowls, figures, and torcs. And, as it costs at least 10 times less than SilverClay, it's better for larger pieces and trying out your ideas before you use up your silver.
There are three makes of bronze clay: Prometheus Bronze Clay made by Odak, Bronze Clay made by MetalMania, and BronzClay made by Metal Adventures.
Prometheus BronzeClay is fired in a similar way to Art Clay Silver and PMC: put your dry pieces in a kiln and programme the temperature and hold-time.
The others have to be embedded in activated charcoal granules in a stainless steel container, and covered with a lid. Firing in charcoal is described in the next section.
The firing temperature and time are important: metal clay has to sinter, not melt. There's a difference between sintering and melting: during sintering, the binder in the clay vapourises and the metal powder particles bond to produce solid metal whereas, during melting, the metal powder particles liquify and lose their original clay-shape.
They can be fired with many other materials, such as copper clay, cubic zirconias and most lab-created gemstones, glass beads and glass clay, ceramics and porcelain, and some natural stones, chemically treated to produce patinas, and used as a base for enamelling. Just do a few tests before you try out your best ideas.
I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.
However, since writing this page, it's become clear that Prometheus Bronze Clay has accounted for over 95% of our bronze clay sales, so we've now stopped selling the Metal Adventures and MetalMania versions: we have no stock of either.
There's also Creative Bronze, which is almost certainly Prometheus Bronze Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why ProBronze is £19.75 for 100gm with no delivery charge and Creative Bronze is £24.95 plus £4.95 shipping.
Comprehensive instructions are included with the product although, as with many materials, make time to experiment rather than accept general recommendations as definitive.
|VIDEO: FIRING BRONZE CLAY IN A KILN|
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|FIRING IN CHARCOAL|
During normal exposed firing, the surface of the clay oxidises to form metal oxide. To minimize this, the clay is embedded in activated charcoal granules in a stainless steel container, and covered with a lid. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural bronze colour, and charcoal made from coal produces a colourful range of patinas.
The Kitiki MiniKiln isn't large enough to hold a container. The Paragon SC2, Caldera, Xpress E9A, and Xpress E10A can all hold a one litre container. The Paragon Xpress E12A can hold a three litre container.
The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.
To learn more about kilns, use the main menu link below the menu bar near the top of the page, then choose from the new menu.
|THE STAINLESS STEEL CONTAINERS|
The container for the Kitiki MiniKin and SpeedFire Pro measures 75mm x 75mm x 50mm, and holds 0.28 litre of charcoal. The container for the Paragon SC-2, SC3, and Xpress E10A measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm, and holds one litre. The container for the Paragon E-12A, E14A, and J14A measures 162mm x 265mm x 152mm, and holds three litres.
A container of hot charcoal takes quite a long time to cool off, so a second container with charcoal allows you to prepare your next batch of work.
If you want to use both types of charcoal, two containers make cleaning and storing easier, especially as both types of charcoal look similar.
|BRONZE CLAY: NOTES|
I haven't worked with all the bronze clays. However, Prometheus Bronze clay can be made into a paste by adding a little water and mixing it thoroughly. You can use the paste to paint onto a mould; to add shape to existing unfired clay; or to stick two pieces of unfired clay together.
All metal clays shrink slightly during firing, so it's important to do some tests before starting on your best ideas. However, it does mean that details and textures become more focused.
All particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so it's very important to wear a HEPA mask when mixing powders, handling charcoal, sanding dried clays, and cleaning out your kiln. Ideally, use protective glasses.
Clays, charcoals, dust masks, electric kilns, hot gloves, magnetic polishers, protective glasses, rotary tumblers, shelf paper, and other tools and materials, are in the on-line shop: use the shop link below the menu bar near the top of the page.