Steel Clay is Available

[Edit: The information in this posting is obsolete. A Map of Hadar’s Clay™ Products can be found here. These clays can be viewed and purchased here, on our Online Store. Stainless Steel Clay is no longer manufactured or supported.]


Here are some photos of jewelry made with steel clay.

Steel clay is now available from my Online Store. You can find the Instruction Manual for steel clay in the right-hand pane of my blog, just under the Instruction Manual for copper and bronze clay.

Some things to keep in mind when working with steel clay:

Mixing

The process of mixing the clay is the same as for Hadar’s Clay™, copper and bronze (watch this video).

Rusting

Copper and bronze react with oxygen and moisture to create a copper oxide layer, which protects them from further oxidation. Steel reacts with oxygen and moisture to create an iron oxide layer, but this reaction will go on until the steel eventually disintegrates. In other words, steel rusts and will keep rusting away unless it is protected as described in the Instruction Manual.

Rusting can happen when the clay is still wet. It is therefore recommended to mix only the amount that you intend to use in a day or two. If you have leftover clay, coat it with olive oil, wrap it in plastic food wrap, and store it in a closed box in the refrigerator. It is a good idea to mix the oil into the clay.

Rusting can also happen when pieces are dry and waiting to be fired.

Rusted Clay

As you can see in the photo, the dry steel clay looks as if it were mixed with copper. Depending on the amount of rust, a rusted piece may sinter, but will have pits at the spots where the rust developed. If you are not about to fire right away, coat dry pieces with olive oil and wrap them in plastic food wrap.

Blue Steel

A blue patina can be achieved by either heating the fired piece and dipping it in cold water, or by applying liquid patina. Please see the Instruction Manual for instructions and sources. Bluing the steel provides some protection from rust.

However, for better protection from rust the piece needs to be oiled and waxed as well. Please see details in the Instruction Manual.

Each jar of steel clay powder comes with a moisture absorber inside the jar.

Firing

The firing process for steel clay is the same as for Hadar’s Clay, copper and bronze, except for the hold temperature in phase II and the type of lid that should be used. The sintering temperature of steel clay has a wide range. The minimum temperature is 1700°F (926°C) in a top-loading brick kiln, and 1780°F (971°C) in a front-loading fiber kiln. It can be brought up to 2000°F (1093°C) or more. If there is no sintering in your kiln at the minimum temperature, raise the hold temperature in the second phase by 50°F (about 25°C) at a time, until sintering is achieved.

Instead of a stainless steel lid use a piece of fiber paper (shelf paper, available in rolls from glass fusing supplies), ⅛” thick. Fiber paper allows gasses and contaminants to escape, which is crucial to the sintering process. It can be used several times.

Stainless Steel Clay

Stainless steel clay does not sinter at less than 2200°F (1204°C). Most of us don’t have kilns that will reach that temperature. However, stainless steel clay will be supplied by special request. Please email me if you wish to order.

Before you do, please keep in mind:

1. Your kiln needs to be able to reach more than 2200°F (1204°C).

2. The price of stainless steel clay is twice as that of copper, bronze, and steel clay.

3. Even stainless steel is not 100% immune to corrosion.

4. Most important: contact of stainless steel and carbon at high temperatures is very likely to compromise the steel’s ability to resist corrosion.

Firing with carbon at a high temperature may cause the carbon to spill onto the kiln floor. As suggested in the Instruction Manual, you can protect your kiln by lining the floor with shelf paper.

Steel clay powder takes up more volume than copper and bronze and needs to be packed in bigger jars. Therefore, the shipping options specified on my store may change.

There is still a lot to be discovered about steel clay and its possibilities. This is a new chapter for us all. As usual, I am here to help and make suggestions, and will be delighted to see photos of your artwork in steel clay.


4 Responses to “Steel Clay is Available”

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  • Cerimon Says:

    You should throw a digg button on here to make it easy for people to digg you

  • brent Says:

    How strong is the stainless steel and steel clay? I want to make a tool to stamp copper pennies. There would be a lot of force used -but if I had to make another tool from the steel clay it would not be a big deal.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Brent, I don’t know, I have never used steel clay as a tool except for a texturing sheetto press clay into.

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