Q & A
What is the working time of Copper Clay?
Copper Clay has a longer working time than any other type of Metal Clay product currently on the market. Even if left to dry it is easily re-hydrated by adding a little water. Clay that has been completely dried can be turned back into Clay as opposed to paste.
What is the shrinkage of Copper Clay?
Copper Clay shrinks between 6% and 8%. The firing method does not appear to affect the shrinkage rate.
How long should I leave the Creative Metals to dry before firing?
We recommend leaving the Creative Metals for 48-72 hours to air dry depending on the air temperature. To speed up the process you may want to consider using a hair drier, dehydrator or a food warming hotplate. Check your pieces by placing them on a mirror. When you remove the piece moisture would be visible as a residue on the mirror.
Can I re-fire the Clay?
Copper Clay can be re-fired at any time and as many times as you wish.
How do I know if the Clay has been fired completely?
Both Creative Metal Clays if not fully fired have a clay like appearance to them. You will notice what appears to be a powdery look to the surface of the metal. If fired correctly it should feel and look as you would expect metal to feel and look.
Can I use these metal's with glass?
Unfortunately, as the the Copper and Bronze are fired at high temperatures the glass would melt. So no you cannot use glass with the Copper or Bronze clays.
Can I mix PMC into the Copper Clay?
Technically you can as the shrinkage rates are similar. However, the metal particles retain the heat differently making it easy for the silver to melt. As a result we recommend creating designs whereby the components are of different metals.
Can I mix Creative Copper and Creative Bronze Clays?
No. (Please read the next quuestion for further reasoning)
Why? What is Bronze Clay?
There is no point in mixing copper and bronze even if you could. This is because Bronze is actually made up from approximately 90% copper and 10% tin. It is a material that was originally invented to overcome weaknesses in the two materials for use in hand tools etc. Copper was to soft and tin was too brittle. Mixing the two in this approximate ratio gave a stronger and more versatile hand tool. So mixing copper with bronze clay wouldn't make any sense.
How do I remove the fire-scale?
You can keep the fire-scale as it can give an instant aged effect that can be polished up with a brass brush and in a tumbler. It will look similar to using platinol on Fine Silver.
Alternatively, if you would like to remove the fire-scale we recommend using a product called Picklean which is a revolutionary safety pickle. It can be mixed in small amounts using water from the kettle and is bio-degradable, non-toxic and food safe.
Simly mix 200ml of hot water in a heat proof container, then add one table spoon of Picklean granules and stir until granules have dissolved. Then Insert the Cooper piece and leave for at least 10 minutes. Remove from the solution and brush using a brass brush.
Achieving a high shine finish
We have tested the effects of replacing tumbler soap with Picklean. The results have been fantastic! This has nearly erradicated all issue's to do with stubborn fire-scale. It also achieves quite a high shine finish. Examples can be viewed in the gallery gallery. Results can be seen on the bottom two rows of the gallery.
Please be aware that you must use stainless steel shot if you are going to use Picklean in your barrel. Place half a tablespoon of Picklean in the barrel and cover the surface of the shot with hot water.
Your shot will come up a pinky colour so washing the shot and barrel thoroughly between uses is recommended.
Tumble twice, cleaning the shot and barrel between uses and then replace the Picklean solution and warm water for a final tumble. Tumble for half an hour at a time.