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.


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

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

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.

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