Working with WHITE COPPRclay™
WHITE COPPRclay™ is just that: a clay. Like clay, it’s highly workable but it also dries quickly. You’ll notice the clay stiffening and cracking when it begins to dry. Some tips to keep in mind:
Rub a dab of olive oil on your hands before you begin working with the clay.
While working the clay, refresh it periodically with a small amount of water using a spray bottle or brush.
Wrap pieces that you are not currently working on in plastic and place to the side.
Avoid using tools that absorb water.
When not in use, keep the clay tightly wrapped in plastic and place the wrapped piece in a sealed plastic bag for added protection. Store opened packages of WHITE COPPRclay in a refrigerator to slow down drying.
Slip will quickly become one of your favorite tools for working with WHITE COPPRclay™, and it’s easy to make. Simply mix tiny pieces of clay (filings, small dried or wet pieces, etc.) with water (we recommend distilled water
for a longer shelf-life) until you reach a yogurt consistency. Keep your slip stored in a sealed container.
Drying the Clay
Once you’ve finished your piece, you will need to dry the clay before firing it. Gently place the piece on a warming surface such a sa coffee mug warmer; an inexpensive vegetable dehydrator works well, too. Once dry, you’ll notice the clay is leather hard, making it very easy to add finishing touches such as filing, drilling, sanding and carving. Once WHITE COPPRclay™ is fired, it’s much more difficult to finish, so take advantage of this pre-firedstage to do as much of your detailed finishing work as possible.
Firing WHITE COPPRclay™ is a two-phase process that uses low heat to vaporize the binder, then high heat to sinter the alloy.
Place dried piece(s) on a stainless steel mesh rack inside the kiln.
Fire with a ramp of 500°F/hour (270°C/hour) to 600°F (320°C), and hold for 10 minutes.
To allow proper sintering, the piece(s) must be surrounded by activated carbon during the second firing phase.
Spread a layer (1/4" minimum) of activated carbon on the bottom of a stainless steel firing container
Place the piece(s) on top of the layer (piece can be cool or still warm); if firing two or more pieces, leave at least 1/2" between pieces, more if the pieces are large.
Pour another 1/2" layer of activated carbon granules on top of the piece(s). If you are firing many pieces in layers, make sure there is at least 1/2" of space between the vertical layers as well. Note: For best results, do not fire more than 100 grams of clay at once; overloading may cause poor sintering.
Put the stainless steel lid on the firing container and place it in the kiln on stilts to allow good heat circulation.
Note: Most kilns are cooler in the front near the door. Compensate for this by placing the pieces closer to the sides and back of the firing container. If you have a top-loading kiln, there’s no need to adjust.
Fire at full ramp to 1850°F (1010°C) and hold for two hours.
WHITE COPPRclay can be combined with COPPRclay™
to produce interesting mixed-metal patterns and designs! Fire according to the same schedule outlined above.
Once fired, the WHITE COPPRclay™ piece is a solid piece of metal. As with other metals, it can be sawn, drilled, sanded, patinated or soldered using traditional jewelry tools and materials. Keep in mind that many finishing techniques will be easier to perform at the dried, pre-fired stage.
The binder in WHITE COPPRclay™ is non-toxic, and no toxic fumes will be present during firing. Though rare, it is possible for some individuals to experience some sensitivity to WHITE COPPRclay since it contains nickel. We recommend wearing a dustmask while working with the activated carbon.