Compatibility of Steel Clay with other Metal Clays

Over the past two weeks I’ve been testing whether steel clay can be fired with copper, bronze, and silver clay without reacting with them and causing undesirable effects. As you may remember, when silver and bronze are fired together, they don’t only interfere with each other’s sintering, but also tend to alloy and melt. Copper and silver also tend to alloy and melt if they spend a long time together under high temperature.

Well, the news is all good! No reaction. Here is a spinner bead that I made from steel, bronze, and copper clay.

You can find the instructions for making such a bead in the section called “Spinners”, in my second book: Silver and Bronze Clay: Movement and Mechanisms.

The steel part was fired first, and the copper and bronze were fired second, in a single firing.

Then I used the technique that I call “Hot Riveting,” described in my book: Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay, to make the following piece:













Then I tried silver inlay in steel. I followed the instructions for inlay of silver and copper from my third book: Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay. Again, no reaction. The silver part sintered perfectly.

Shrinkage

To test the shrinkage I made a mold from one of my old silver pieces and pressed steel clay into it.
01

The original piece was made out of high-shrinkage clay. The result shows that they have about the same shrinkage:
02

I am still working on the firing schedule for steel clay. By “working” I mean: trying to see at how low a temperature it can be fired. So far it seems that the overall firing time is about the same as my schedule for bronze and copper clay.


16 Responses to “Compatibility of Steel Clay with other Metal Clays”

  • Roz Eberhard-Swan Says:

    Have we told you how much we love you…. thanks Hadar for finding yet another item from our overflowing toy boxes of goodies to play with.

  • Maggie Bergman Says:

    I love the look of this clay Hadar! Love the combination with silver.

  • Otteline Tuitel Says:

    You’re the best!! I can only say I love it, I WANT IT, I can’t wait!

  • Lisa Kadison Says:

    Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!

    Hadar, the combo of the steel and silver slays is rockin’! Thanks for pushing the envelope and showing us the possibilities.

  • Barbara Fernald Says:

    So, it sounds like it has a much higher shrinkage rate than your bronze and copper clays. ?
    I love how this clay looks by itself, and when it’s mixed with silver. Very cool! Thank you for sharing so much information with your blog.

  • Patricia Says:

    Just wow, Hadar! I didn’t think I would be interested in steel clay, but I’m really drawn to what appears to be a “stony” texture.

    By the way, I passed your new book around at our last PMC Guild chapter meeting (Windy CIty) for people to look at, and a number of people hung on to it for 20 minutes or more!

  • Jane Says:

    I’m getting excited thinking about the possibilities!! I love the contrast between the steel and the silver. I wonder how heavy those earrings are though.

  • Colleen J. Stella Says:

    You are a true “Master” at anything you try! We love all your wonderful insight. I can’t wait till this new steel clay is available to us.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Thank you all, I am working as quick as I can. Wouldn’t like to release it without a reliable firing schedule. Barbara, the shrinkage is about the same as bronze and copper (I may have done the silver piece in low-shrinkage silver, it was long ago…). And Jane, the fired steel is surprisingly light compared to the same earring in just silver, for example.

  • Barbara Fernald Says:

    Thanks, Hadar. With all you have going on it sounds like you don’t need or get much sleep! The steel clay will be fun to try.

  • Debby Thompson Says:

    Beautiful! What do you think will happen to the steel finish over time? Would you spray a sealer to keep it like this, or let it “rust” and then seal for a different patina? Can’t wait to start playing with it, too. Thanks for updates.

  • Anita Leclercq Says:

    Is the black color in the mixed silver and steel piece the color the steel it is when it comes out of the kiln without sanding? Or have you done some finishing or adding a chemical? The silver and steel looks amazing. love it.

  • Susi Pedersen Says:

    Hadar
    Will the steel adhere to a magnet?

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Hi Susi,

    Absolutely. One of my previous postings shows how a steel clay pendant hangs from a magnetic clasp.

  • Brenda Alexander Says:

    I love the look of your steel clay pieces combined with other metal clays, I’m interested in your workshop places and dates.Please advise.
    Thanks so much,
    Brenda Alexander

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Brenda,

    Please have a look at my class schedule: http://artinsilver.com/classes.html. I teach both at my studio and in other venues around the country.

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