Dec 31 2009

Quick-fire Steel Clays

Hadar’s Clay Quick-fire Steel and Quick-fire Stainless Steel are now officially available for sale on my Online Store. This newest version of steel clay fires in one phase only, like Quick-fire Copper and Bronze.

On the right-hand pane of my blog you can see the revised files. You no longer need to refer to the manuals for traditional copper and bronze; there is a separate manual for each of the following:

  • Quick-fire copper and bronze
  • Quick-fire steels
  • “Traditional” (or slow-fire) copper and bronze
  • “Traditional” (or slow-fire) steels

There is also a one-page Quick Reference Table for Hadar’s Clay, which consolidates the firing schedules for all types of clay.

At the beginning of each manual you will see the last date it was updated. Since the manuals are updated regularly, please make sure you always have the latest version.


Dec 29 2009

Instruction Manuals for Hadar’s Clay in French

This posting is especially for French-speaking users of Hadar’s Clay. Thanks to Fleur Hana from France, all of the instruction manuals are now available in French, and will be updated regularly. You can access them by clicking on Hadar’s Clay™ en français (Instructions in French) in the right-hand pane of the blog. You can also access them by clicking on Français in the upper bar of the blog.

I’d also like to mention Sabine Alienor’s tutorial in French for a top-loader kiln. You can see it on her blog, by clicking here.

Merci beaucoup, Fleur and Sabine. I hope to meet you when I come to France this summer!


Dec 28 2009

Updates to Travel-teaching Schedule

A few workshops have been added to my travel-teaching schedule:

On July 6-11 (after the workshop in France), I’ll be teaching a week’s class in Averøy, Norway. The first part of the class focuses on textures and forms; the second part on mixed metal jewelry in metal clay. For full description please see the website:
http://www.mamut.net/glassforum/default.htm. The website is in Norwegian, but you can translate it into English (or other languages) on the fly using Google Translate, by clicking here.

And here is the contact information:
Phone: +47 71514100 E-mail: post@glassforum.no.

In August I will be teaching two 3-day workshops in Washington state:

August 20-22: PMC Guild of Seattle/Tacoma. Please contact Peg:
Peg@wildhairstudio.com.

August 23-25: Snohomish. Please contact Randi:
(360) 568-7709, Randi@ArtatTheRanch.com.

On January 23-29, 2011, I will be teaching a a 5-day workshop in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Please visit the website:
http://www.haciendamosaico.com/index.html
Please see the class description here:
http://www.haciendamosaico.com/ws_21.html.

Contact: Sam at info@haciendamosaico.com.

These workshops have been added to the file “Hadar’s Travel-teaching Schedule 2010” on the right pane of my blog.


Dec 13 2009

Torch-firing Hadar’s Clay™ – Quick-fire Copper

Torch-firing quick-fire copper is much like torch-firing low-shrinkage silver clay: the piece will not be as strong as it can be when kiln-fired, but for pieces that don’t undergo wear and tear, or components that are not a structural part of a piece, this may not be all that important.

It takes a little longer, about 6 minutes. I suggest turning on the radio and listening to two songs in a row (or just Hey, Jude) while you are torching. Here is a video clip demonstrating firing a copper piece, 6 cards thick, and an overlay of copper clay fired over steel clay:

Jenny James sent me an email, saying that she wasn’t able to sinter quick-fire copper with a torch, even after 20 minutes. She ended up firing it on the screen on her stove top for 30-40 minutes and succeeded.

If you try that, you can do it outside, using a burner that is used for camping. Place a screen or copper sheet over the burner and place the pieces in a circle, where the flame is.

I answered Jenny that what I think happened, is that her torch did not supply enough flame. Either the flame wasn’t big or hot enough, or the piece was too big for torch-firing. The flame has two roles in base-metal clay firing:

1. To supply heat;
2. To consume the oxygen around the piece in order to prevent oxidation. In fact, that’s what the carbon does by burning. Here is a photo of the carbon burning right after the kiln finished its cycle.

Obviously there was much more flame on the stove to protect the piece from oxygen.

So Jenny went on to her second experiment. Here is what she wrote:

“More heat and less oxygen when torch firing, I tried something new. I laid the piece ON TOP of a little dish of carbon. I then fired for 8 minutes with my small butane torch. It heated up WAY faster to a much brighter glow, and the piece was entirely engulfed in flame. It sintered BEAUTIFULLY in 8 minutes and was super strong! I will keep testing it for shorter periods of time tonight and see just how quick it can really be fired.” Later she wrote: “In 4 minutes the piece sintered perfectly and was super hard – unable to break it with pliers. All of the tests were done with 8 mm thick and 2 cm x 2 cm. By firing it on top of carbon it fires as easily as torch firing silver.”

I’d like to thank Jenny for her input. I would also like to thank Ron Taylor, who sent me a photo of a piece that he created at my workshop in San Diego. Ron came to class with a rendering of a piece that he wanted to make with a combination of copper and silver, and the piece came out exactly as he planned it, including its size!

Ron


Dec 8 2009

Update to the Firing Schedule of Quick-fire Copper and Quick-fire Bronze

I have updated the Instruction Manual for Quick-fire Copper and Bronze. Please download the new manual.

The update is in regard to the firing schedule of mixed pieces of copper and bronze, meaning pieces that are made out of both copper and bronze.

Here is the updated schedule:

Cover the box loosely with either a stainless steel sheet or fiber paper (shelf paper). Ramp at full speed to:

1520°F (825°C) in a top loader kiln;
1600° (870°C) in a front loader kiln.
Hold for 2:00 hours.

This hotter and shorter schedule seems to yield better results.

Also, for all firing schedules, it is not necessary to discard all the carbon. You can save most of it by removing the ash.


Dec 6 2009

NEW: Hadar’s Clay™ Quick-fire Bronze

Quick-fire Bronze is now available as well. What bothered me about the Quick-fire Copper is that it could not be fired in combination with bronze. With Quick-fire Bronze it is possible.

Firing bronze clay in open air yields poor results. I have found a firing schedule that works for both Quick-fire copper and Quick-fire bronze. It requires only one phase, takes 1:30 hours, and minimizes the amount of carbon required.

Please read the full Instruction Manual for Hadar’s Clay™ Quick-fire Copper and Quick-fire Bronze by clicking the link in the right-hand pane of my blog.

Here are some highlights:

Quick-fire Copper has three firing options: (a) in a hot kiln, (b) with a torch (small pieces only), and (c) a third option, which may appeal to people who do not want to deal with a hot kiln or ramp their kilns to high temperatures. This third method is used for Quick-fire Bronze as well. In fact, using this third method, copper and bronze can even be fired together, either in separate pieces or mixed in the same piece.

Firing is done in a stainless steel box or mixing bowl only half full of carbon (about 1½” total) . This way the carbon stays in the box and does not spread all over the kiln. The pieces are placed vertically almost all the way down to the bottom of the box and then covered with some more carbon. No lid is used.

Ramp at full speed to 1470°F (800°C) and hold for 1:30 hours. That’s it.

You can take the box out hot or leave it to cool down in the kiln. No need to pickle or even quench in water. Discard the carbon, since it’s almost all ash (no more vacuuming!).

I have fired pieces in the center of the box, and so far, every one of them sintered!

The Quick-fire Clay has a similar consistency to that of my traditional clay. Storage and shelf life are also the same as with traditional clay. There is no need to limit the amount mixed at one time, as is the case with steel clay. One exception, though: when mixing, use a lot less water!

The shrinkage rate for copper and bronze is the same, and is lower than that of my traditional clay. Pieces are very strong.

My traditional clay will continue to be available on my Online Store along with the Quick-fire clay. If you use the traditional clay, please remember to fire it according to the old instructions.


Dec 4 2009

NEW: Hadar’s Clay™ Quick-fire Copper

As I promised when I started this blog, I have been constantly working on improving the firing schedule, especially trying to shorten the firing time and minimize the use of carbon.

After a long series of experiments, I’ve finally been able to come up with copper clay that does not require carbon at all. This product, too, comes in the form of an easy-to-mix powder. Everything, including the consistency, is the same as the traditional Hadar’s Clay™ – Copper, except for the firing schedule. The new Hadar’s Clay™ Quick-fire Copper is fired half an hour on a kiln shelf or a fiber blanket. Small pieces can also be fired with a torch. To see all three firing options please download the firing schedule for Hadar’s Clay Quick-fire Copper by clicking the link in the right-hand pane of this blog.

This is how the copper looks after it has been dipped in water (no pickle necessary). The oxide layer comes off quickly and completely. The shiny parts on the the huge piece on the left are the result of hammering.

The clay powder is now available for sale on my Online Store. The package size and price are the same as for traditional Hadar’s Clay™ – Copper.

In the center piece in photo below, my Quick-fire Copper clay was torched-fired over fired steel clay.

For those who prefer the traditional Hadar’s Clay™ – Copper, it is still available on my Online Store.

I am continuing my quick-fire experiments with other metals as well. I will, of course, post my results as soon as I am sure of them.