DIY Metal (Silver) Clay: Keep Methyl Cellulose from turning rubbery

How can I keep hydrated methyl cellulose (methylcellulose) from setting into a rubbery semi-solid — instead preserving its earlier, softer, paste-like consistency?

Hi, I am trying to develop a home-made .999 silver clay by using methyl celllulose as binder (together with silver powder and distilled water). Early hours of working with this binder are great: The methylcellulose has a workable, soft, plastic, clay-like consistency. After some hours, however, the methyl cellulose “sets” into a rubber-like semi-solid, losing its helpful binder-like qualities: The methylcellulose becomes a rubbery brick of silver – not true metal “clay.” This semi-solid transformation occurs both when it is exposed to air AND when it is kept carefully/massively hydrated; so the issue here is definitely not evaporation. There is some kind of “setting” going on.

I would like to continue to use methyl cellulose as binder, but I need it to retain its early-stage, soft, paste-like, clay-like properties. Has anyone successfully used methylcellulose as a silver clay binder long-term, avoiding its “setting” into a rubbery semi-solid? Thanks.

Hi Kevin, Your post re metal clay has come just at the right time.
Im exploring this clay and have turned against it for the following, its too expensive here in the UK. Fine silver sheet is around £645 a kilo, and metal 999 clay is £1600.00!! So im also interested in making my own. can you please advise the supplier of the silver powder, and the cost? to you?
So I can get some and experiment with the binder.?
If you want to communicate off list im
Look forward to your reply. Im sure i can solve this issue for us both.

Hi Ted

Making the power adds to the cost of the material. The smaller the particles, the more expensive the powder.

Hi Karen, thanks for that thought, however im an industrial silversm not a bench jeweller, and fully aware of costs.
Perhaps you could answer the question I asked Kevin, an answer would be appreciated.