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Frequently Asked Questions  
                   

Q. What is Silver Metal Clay?

A. Metal Clay is a pure metal powder combined with non toxic organic binder and water. When kiln or torch fired, the binder burns away, leaving pure, 99.9% fine silver. Metal Clay combines well with a variety of media, glass, ceramics, stones and polymer clay. Raw Metal Clay can be rolled, sculpted and shaped easily with fingers and other simple tools. When it is dry it can be sanded, filed, engraved, drilled and pre polished. Once it has been fired it is pure silver and can be treated like any other pure silver. Metal Clay shrinkage rates vary. It is a good idea to check the shrinkage rate of the product before beginning a project, so the shrinkage rate can be taken into account. Metal Clay comes in a variety of products.

Q. How do I mark my silver metal clay work?

A. All metal clay is fine silver after firing and can be marked accordingly. The preferred designation is .999 which means 99.9% pure. This is the same designation as pure gold. When we write about the precious metals, we use the terms, Au 999 for gold and Ag 999 for silver. To stamp a metal clay piece after firing, a metal stamp is needed and that can be expensive. However if you stamp or carve the numbers, before firing, you can use a plastic stamp or scriber.

Q. Why can't I make my own syringe type silver metal clay?

A. To make your own syringe type version of metal clay you need to thin the clay with a lot of water. The mixture will exit the nozzle but the line will sag because the material is so diluted. The results will be worthless and disapponiting. Metal clay scientists reformulated a metal clay version suitable for the syringe and it is pre-loaded and ready to use.

Q. How is Silver and Gold Metal Clay manufactured?

A. Metal Clay is a recycled product manufactured by Mitsubishi Material Corp and Aida Chemical Industries in Japan. These companies recycle and reclaim a variety of different metals. The silver and gold comes from many different recycled sources including film stock and negatives.

Q. What are the basic steps when working with Silver Metal Clay?

A. Shape the raw clay. Dry it completely. Finish and smooth the piece with sandpaper and files. Fire, sand and polish. The piece is now pure silver or gold and can be soldered, drilled, enamelled and so on.

Q. How can I get started with Silver Metal Clay?

A. You can start a project yourself with a starter kit or with the help of any of the great books or DVD/CD's with step by step instructions. Alternatively you can take an Introductory Class where you will be shown the correct basic techniques for working with and firing Metal Clay. Metal Clay offers classes from Introductory to Advanced. See the workshops page and register your interest in a Metal Clay or Polymer Clay workshop.

Q. I would like a Basic List of Tools and Supplies needed to start working with Metal Clay. I have a few tools that I think may be suitable to use but I am not sure. There are so many tools, books and clays to choose from and I don't know enough to make a decision. Is there a list available that will help me decide with what I need?

A. Yes there is. We have compiled a list which makes it easy to work out what you need and what you may already have that can be used with Metal Clay.
Please visit the Information Sheet Page and look for the Information Sheet titled "Basic Metal Clay Tools and Supplies - Starting Out with Metal Clay"

Q. Are there workshops available in all States?

A. Most states now offer metal clay and polymer clay workshops. If you are interested in doing a workshop click on this link Workshop Enquiries - Please leave your contact details and the State where you live and we will endeavour to put you in contact with an instructor/s in your area.

Q. Are there any certification programs that include the use of the modern clays, including metal clay?

A. There is a new and very exciting new certification that is now available. It is called the Contemporary Clay Instructor Program Certification. For further details click here.

Q. Are there any Retreats or events on this year where I can learn more about the different Metal Clays and the other Contemporary Clays and crafts?

A.
Yes there is a very exciting retreat coming up in Ocober 2011. Please visit the website to see all of the wonderful projects on offer and meet the talented instructors who will be teaching.
 http://contemporarycraftretreat.com.au

Q. I have heard a lot about  Hadar Jacobson's Books and her Powdered Metal Clay - are they available and where can I purchase them in Australia?

A. Hadar Jacobson has developed a range of powdered metal clays. We are bringing in her new Quick Fire copper clay, Quick Fire bronze clay, Quick Fire white bronze clay, Quick Fire rose bronze clay and her NEW Pearl GreyT Steel XT Clays. We have all of Hadar's amazing Books in stock already. Please just click on the links below to find Hadar's Books and Hadar's Clay:
Hadars Quick Fire Clay
Hadars Books Please scroll down the Books page to find her 4 Books.

Q. I have purchased Hadar's Quick Fire Clay and need more Information about which of her clays I can mix and also Firing Instructions. Do you have an Instruction Manual that I can print out for Hadar's Quick Fire Clay?

A. Yes. Please follow this link to the Information Sheet Page. You will be able to print out the Instruction Manual for Hadars Clay.


Q. What is the difference between fine and sterling silver?

A. Fine silver is pure silver (0.999 or 99.9% pure) Sterling silver is 92.5% silver, to which copper primarily and other alloys are added for strength. Metal Clay is much slower to tarnish than sterling silver.

Q. Can I combine PMC and Art Clay Silver together in a design?

A. As long as you use appropriate firing times and temperatures and take into account the
differences in shrinkage, you can use products from both brands in a design. Just as you
can use different types of clay from the same brand in a design. After all once the residual
moisture and binders have burned away in the firing process, both silver clays result in a product that is 99.9% fine silver.
Even if you do prefer one brand over the other, you may want to take advantage of the unique
products offered by the other manufacturer.For example many metal clay artists who use PMC predominately - swear by Art Clay Oil Paste for joining fired fine silver pieces or adding fine silver finding to already fired metal clay.
For strength and variations in shrinkage rates, it is not recommended that paste/slip or
clay types be mixed or kneaded together to form a piece.

Q. I would like to enamel my Metal Clay. Do you have any information on Enameling Metal Clay?

A. We do have an information sheet on enameling Metal Clay. It is an introduction to the art of enamelling on Metal Clay. Please Click on Information Sheets.

Q. Can I solder findings onto my piece after I have fired it?

A. Yes, no problems at all. Burnish the area to be soldered carefully with a metal burnisher before soldering.

Q. Can you add more to a piece of metal clay once it is fired?

A. Yes.When adding fresh PMC to bond with metal that is already hard, you must extend the firing time to at least double the normal schedule. This extended firing allows the silver particles to penetrate into one another. Extend the time but do not ramp up the temperature. With Art Clay Sliver you can add more clay and refire it. Ensure the metal is clean before adding additional materials. To repair cracks in fired pieces or attach two already fired pieces together, use Art Clay Oil Paste (for both PMC and Art Clay Silver) for a much stronger bond.

Q. Is Prometheus Bronze and Copper Clay available in Australia?

A. Yes it is but we no longer sell it in our Metal Clay online shop. It is available through eBay.

Q. What is the best material to support round or curved pieces while firing?

A. Vermiculite - it is a tan-cloured lightweight material used in potting mix. It is available from some nursery suppliers, garden shops or hardware stores. This material is mica, a naturally occuring mineral. It can be used indefinitely. At the first firing you may see a little smoke coming from the vermiculite - it could be bits of grass or other organic matter accidently included in the mix.

Q. Are there any information sheets available on Metal Clay?

A. Yes there are! Click on Information sheets

Q. Is there any Information available on working with BRONZclay and the NEW FASTFire BRONZclay?

A. Yes there is! There are improvements in various techniques being discovered regularly - we try to keep information current. Please download and print off all of the latest available BRONZclay and FASTFire BRONZclay information - Click on information sheets

Q. Is it true that the NEW Art Clay Copper fires in 30 minutes and does not need to be fired in Activated Carbon?

A. Yes it is! Art Clay Copper is very quick firing and can be placed on a kiln shelf and fired in the same way as Silver Metal Clay

Q. Can Art Clay Copper be fired with a Butane Torch?

A. Yes it can! Early testing has shown amazing results when firing Art Clay Copper using a butane torch. We have a new information sheet that can be printed out

Q. Is there a User Guide that can be printed out for Art Clay Copper?

A. Yes there is! Please click on the following link to the Information Sheets

Q. What can I make with Makin's Clay?

A. There are any number of things that can be made using Makins Air Dry Clay. Visit the Makin's Gallery to see some of the amazing and creative work being done with Makin's products or alternatively
Click on:
Makin's Jewellery Projects
or Kids Projects
or Gift and Home Decor
or Spring Projects
or Easter Projects
or Christmas Projects
or Halloween Projects
or Party Favourite Projects
for ideas and inspiration.

Q. Are there any tips and techniques for using Makin's Clay?

A. Yes there are! Click on Tips and Techniques.

Q. Are there any instructions to help me put the Super Slicer with Comfort Handles together?

A. Yes there are! Click on Information Sheets

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