Firing Metal Clay with a Butane Torch
Firing Art Clay® Silver with a gas torch is a direct firing method. Please read these instructions carefully before firing.
Using a small butane gas torch is a basic method for small and simple pieces. You may fire Art Clay® Silver Regular series, Slow Dry or Art Clay® Silver 650 series (Low Fire) creations that are no larger than a silver dollar (1-1/2 inch) and weigh no more than 25 grams. Items that cannot be fired with a torch include projects made over Cork Clay, paper, or large quantities of organic material, and projects that include glass, ceramic or porcelain.
You can fire pure silver findings and small gemstones (5mm or under) with the torch. Small, applique-sized pieces of Paper Type can be torched, but whole sheets or large pieces must be kiln fired. A fired, finished piece can be added to and fired over and over again. Pure silver settings can be included, fired with a torch and the stone set after the piece is finished. Art Clay® Gold as a paste can be fired onto Art Clay® Silver in greenware or fired forms and then burnished with an agate burnisher.
Be sure to read the instructions included with the torch before you begin to fire. When you purchase a torch, it is empty. The fuel required is cigarette lighter butane. Larger containers of butane can be purchased at a camping store.
Place the completely dry piece on a fiberboard firing brick.
|| Switch on the gas torch and direct the flame at a 45 degree angle at a distance of about 2 inches. This distance will vary depending on the torch you are using and the size of the piece.
Rotate the flame around the piece to heat evenly. You will see a little smoke and flame as the non-toxic organic binder burns away. A white crystalline coating will appear. When the piece begins to glow peach on the inside, begin to time the firing. Continue to heat for the recommended length of time. You will have to alter the distance you are holding the torch to maintain the glow but not overheat the piece. The melting temperature of silver is 1760 degrees F. Melting is imminent if the piece begins to get shiny and bubble. If that happens, increase the distance between the piece and the torch immediately until the glow is just visible and continue firing until completed.
6g - 15g
16g - 25g
Place pieces containing fire-able gemstones face down on the fire brick.
Dim the light in the room if neccessary so the glow can be easily seen.
Draw outline of the unfired piece on a sheet of paper and compare the fired size. If you see about 10% shrinkage, the firing is considered to be complete. You can fire again if there is not enough shrinkage.
Do not use the torch near flammable materials.
Adjust the fuel and air control (if your torch has air control) to heat the silver to its fusing temperature.
Be careful to keep the torch at the appropriate distance from the firing piece.
Make sure to fire the entire piece evenly and for an amount of time sufficient to burn off the finder and fuse the silver.
Be careful not to overheat the silver. This can cause it to deform and possibly melt.
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