Low Shrinkage Quick-fire Steel XT is now available on my online store.
Low Shrinkage Quick-fire Steel XT shrinks only 10%, like Quick-fire copper. This makes it easy to work with on its own, as well as in combination with other metals. While drying it behaves like copper, with hardly any need to flip it over to avoid warping. Working with multiple layers is easy, since the difference in shrinkage between dry and wet layers is minimal. This is also the case with pieces which require complex construction.
I have always recommended using copper or mixed (scrap) clay as a backing layer when working with more than one clay. This is because their shrinkage rate is lowest. If we use bronze as a backing layer, flat pieces will curve backwards because of the higher shrinkage of bronze. Now Low-shrinkage Steel XT can also be used as a backing layer, whether we use just one clay or more. This expands our possibilities, since copper is not necessarily out aesthetic choice when it comes to designing the major part of a piece.
For example: My choice of copper as a backing layer in the piece below was dictated by its lowest shrinkage.
Now that I have more freedom of choice, I can use steel instead, as in this locket:
The locket was made with Low Shrinkage Steel XT as the backing layer, with accents of copper and Bronze XT. It was fired at the high firing schedule of steel.
Both high- and low-shrinkage steel work well in mokume gane patterns.
On another note: My second book: Silver and Bronze Clay: Movement and Mechanisms is now out of print. Being busy with other projects, I have currently no plans for printing a second edition. If you would like a copy of the book, you may still be able to find it at my distributors.
And finally, here is a project for a belt ring. If you make it with low shrinkage Quick-fire Steel XT, account for 2 sizes shrinkage (rings don’t shrink like flat pieces).