Can I put a piece of metal clay on a finished silver pendant, have it dry and torch onto the piece?
I think you will need to fire the clay pieces first and then solder them onto your backing.
Nope, you can’t fire a finished silver pendant to the temperatures that metal clays require. Solder joints will melt and come apart and the solder will flow into the metal clay while it sinters. Sterling and fine silver (and copper, for that matter) from milled sheet, will degrade at those temperatures and during the duration required to sinter metal clay. You can, however, make your pendant and your metal clay piece separately and join them using cold connections (rivets, screws, etc.). Have you used metal clay of any kind? If you’re interested in using it, and haven’t yet taken the plunge, may I suggest that you investigate taking a beginning class near where you live. You can check with AMCAW (Assoc. of Metal Clay Artist Worldwide) about classes. You can also ask about this on Facebook, both your question, and where you might find classes. There are many m.c. groups on Facebook with lots of people willing to share information. Some groups are public and some you have to be approved by the administrators of the groups (generally an easy process).
You can, of course, solder sintered metal to milled metal. The soldering process is similar to soldering just milled metal, with the caveat that the surface of the sintered metal must be well-burnished. Hope you continue to explore the ways to use metal clay.
I fire fine silver metal clay pieces on milled fine silver
A lot. I use metal clay paste to attach or syringe and fire. With the shrinkage, you may have to repair it a bit and re fire, or I fuse the two together. No solder necessary.
Hi kamani74, I’m assuming that you are firing at extreme lowest temps? Can you confirm? I ask because milled metal, whether sterling or fine silver will absolutely have its molecular structure weakened by firing at high temps and/or firing for long duration. Would you share your process here, please. Thanks.
Hi Linda, I only fire pure 999 fine silver with the 999 pure metal clay, which after it is sintered, is fine silver. I have used heavy fine silver wire (8 gauge) in bangles as a framework with 960 on the outside. I fire 999 milled heavy wire as ring shanks with a silver metal clay topper quite a few times. I have used milled Fine silver with either 999 metal clay or 960 metal clay and fired them all, as hot as 1550f. I would fire higher, but I am concerned with shrinkage and distortion of the clay, so I don’t fire hotter or longer than 45 minutes. There has never been one hint of any problem with changes in molecular structure of the fine silver. But as far as firing sterling, I really never fire 925 at all as it becomes unstable and brittle around 1400f. In the past I played around with sterling bezels, but had too much failure, so soldering is better.
Hey there, Since I do not fire milled sheet joined to metal clay, I decided to check with a group on Facebook, Metal Clay Now. The answers, from those metal clay artisans who have experience doing just that, were thorough and detailed. If you’re not already a member of that FB group, join up and scroll down for my post (Linda Kaye-Moses) for their answers.
Hi, I don’t know if you are still interested in having more information sent your way on this subject, but thought I would reach out anyway. There is a great book by jewelry artist Kate McKinnon called “Structural Metal Clay” that talks quite a bit about the subject you’ve raised… using both fine silver and metal clay to create a finished piece. I think you will find enough to satisfy any concerns you have about putting the two metals together. Ms. McKinnon also has some very astute observations about aspects of ‘soldering’ that will make you think twice about using it needlessly, as with fine silver and metal clay. This is assuming the silver pendant you mention is made of fine silver as the discussion headliner states and is not sterling, which is a whole other topic!
If you are still working in both fine silver and metal clay, this book will give you excellent ideas on using fine silver as part of your metal clay design process… adding fine silver to your pieces while the metal clay is still wet allows you to then fire the entire piece as a whole. Just be sure you work harden the piece sufficiently after firing. Using a heavier gauge of fine silver to imbed into your metal clay also ensures the piece will be strong enough to last.