Storage of Mixed Clay,
and More about the Compatibility of Pearl Grey Steel

Storage of Mixed Clay

It turns out that mixed clay can be stored in the freezer. If you have mixed clay and cannot use it in the immediate future, just freeze it. It thaws quickly in the air (do not microwave!) and is as good as new.

This is particularly good news to people who do caning and mokume gane. If you have taken a class or a workshop with me on these techniques, you know that sometimes the canes we make are too long for what we want to do within the next few hours. So instead of getting stressed over using the rest of the cane, or turning it into mixed clay, just freeze the leftover cane! After warming a bit it will slice neatly and behave as fresh clay.

More about the Compatibility of Pearl Grey Steel

Pearl Grey Steel is compatible with White Bronze as well. I fired it in combination with White Bronze in one firing at the low temperature of 1170°F/630°C.

Here is a Skinner blend from dark gray to white. I took the photos on both white and black backgrounds so you can see that it is not a trick of the eye.

Before firing

Before firing

t-Skinner after white

And this is inlay of White Bronze in Pearl Grey Steel:

I am still in the process of finding out which ways of combining these two clays work best.

It seems that copper is the hardest clay to sinter. Pearl Grey Steel sintered at first firing using the White Bronze schedule. On the other hand, in the pieces below, in which copper in the main component, the copper did not sinter at first firing and I had to repeat the second phase of firing for the copper to completely sinter.

t-Copper-WB

That said, the leaves in the photo below – Skinner Blend with copper and White Bronze – sintered at first firing. There was no bronze in the leaves to begin with. The bronze color was created by a reaction between the copper and the White Bronze.

Finally, here is a charming piece created and photographed by Yolanda Nieuwboer from the Netherlands. It’s made from copper and Pearl Grey Steel.

Brfore firing

Brfore firing

After firing

After firing


4 Responses to “Storage of Mixed Clay,
and More about the Compatibility of Pearl Grey Steel”

  • Melody Pierson Says:

    Stored in the freezer? Finally a use for the kitchen!

    Melody

  • Sandy in Texas Says:

    Thank you so much! for this post!! What a simple and useful solutiion!

  • Pat Roach Says:

    Hi Hadar – Great news about freezing the canes.
    For the Pearl Grey and white bronze firing – was that one firing at 1170 F for 2 hours. Was the copper and white bronze a 2 step firing that was not fully sinstered or a one step at the lower temp – 1170 and a refire at 1515?

    Thanks

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Hi Pat,

    Everything that included white bronze was fired in 2-phase firing, and the final hold temperature was 1170. I think you have a front loader – so your temperature will be around 1250. It’s amazing that the steel sintered at this temperature. If you fire steel alone at this temperature, it won’t be very strong. Good luck, and let me know how it goes – Hadar

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