Introducing Pearl Grey Steel XT

Pearl Grey XT is the new generation of Pearl Grey Steel. It can be use in the same way as the previous generation (in combination with other metals), but when used on its own it is stronger and more resistant than the previous generation, and the surface is smoother and easier to sand. Like other base metal clay powders, it is not flexible and cannot be hammered to change its shape. It fires in two phases. For best strength it should be fired in the second phase at 1700°F/925°C in a brick kiln, and 1780°F/970°C in a muffle kiln, but good results are also achieved at 1650°F/900°C (brick kiln), and 1730°F/943°C (muffle kiln).

The instruction manual for Hadar’s Clay™ has been updated to include Pearl Grey Steel XT. There is no need to print it all again – you can simply reprint page 25 (and, if you like, the front cover, Table of Contents, and p. 24 to accommodate minor text changes), and replace those pages in your printed copy.

As far as testing goes, samples that have been properly sintered have been hammered with a steel hammer, tossed from a height of about three stories onto concrete ground, tumbled, and drilled, and they are still intact. Just saying, and please don’t understand me wrong: I absolutely do not recommend this as a way to test the strength and durability of metal clay art creations.

(the bird is White Bronze).

As you may have noticed, the volume of 100 grams of Pearl Grey Steel is about twice that of 100 grams of copper or bronze. That means both that 100 grams of Pearl Grey Steel goes a long way and, more importantly, that it makes very light-weight earrings.

I could not resist trying to make some rings. I have been wearing them for a week without taking them off, even when sleeping and washing my hands. The rings are not even sealed with wax, and still, they are not showing any sign of deformation or rust, and my skin has not been discolored. The shrinkage rate is still to be tested, but for now it seems to be about 2 sizes.

The potential of Pearl Grey Steel XT is still to be discovered. Besides rings, I can think of chains and bracelets, and especially jewelry for men.

Pearl Grey Steel XT seems to be the best metal to be combined with Rose Bronze. It shows a nice contrast, and the shrinkage, when it is fired usnig the Rose Bronze schedule, is about the same. As a result, after firing, the steel and Rose Bronze are almost as flush as before firing and very little sanding is required. Also, a very small amount of Baldwin’s Patina will quickly darken the steel to create a better contrast.

Speaking of Rose Bronze, here is a pleasant surprise: since I made the pieces shown in my last posting, the textured part of them tarnished, and it tarnishes into a purple color:

If you like it, just seal it with working fixative spray.

Glass artist Janice Peacock experimented with enameling on Pearl Grey Steel:

Pearl Grey Steel XT is available in 50-gram and 25-gram jars.

The earlier generation of Pearl Grey Steel is available in both 100-gram and 50-gram jars. All of the projects in my book Patterns of Color in Metal Clay can be made (and have been) with both the earlier and new generation.

The rest of the clay powders – copper, bronze, White Bronze, and Rose Bronze – are now available in both 100-gram and 50-gram jars.

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