Metal clay soldering experiment

I’m in the process of making my first jump ring (chain mail/maille)
bracelet. While I know that a good quality jump ring work would have
all the rings soldered, I haven’t any soldering experience or
equipment. I also have no metal clay experience or materials, but I
read all the usual beading & jewelry making magazines and metal clay
is frequently discussed. So, here’s my thought:

What if you take, say, metal clay slip, and paint it on the end of
your silver jump ring before you close it? If, when done, you then
fired the whole piece in a kiln/hot pot? Assuming the rings don’t
stick together due to sloppy painting and drips, would you
effectively have a soldered work (probably weaker than real solder,
but better than no finishing treatment at all)?

If this would work, would it work with sterling and/or vermeil or
only fine silver wire?

In my imaginings, this idea would probably be way more expensive
than traditional soldering, but on the bright side avoid (1) torches
and (2) pickling because the work isn’t heated enought to develop
firescale issues.

Carol Wang

Hello Carol

Interesting Idea but I do have my doubts on the matter metal clay
shrinks a bit when fired so it might not keep your link closed
Normally when you incorporate sterling silver you “bury” it in a bit
and the crimp hold it tight. I don’t think they really fuse together
(for the sterling will have fire scale but I’m not sure on that)

Metal clay is some what brittle due to the little pore’s the binder
leaves behind after burning away.

You can always try it out on one ring and see what happens. It would
be interesting to know if it worked.

You can dilute the clay with water and make your own slip. Put it in
a syringe and make the whole ring from clay. The joint is as strong
as the whole ring is. Or roll the clay in to a thin snake wrap it
around something and make a cut down the rod. You will have made jump
rings all you need to do is wet the joint so it makes contact

With the clay you can use sterling silver or fine silver both are
oke to use. If you can use Vermeil? I don’t know.

There is a metal clay forum on Rings and Things

you can consult and ask your question there I’m sure “metal man” will
help you out good luck and let me know it your initial idea worked
after you try it out