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Welcome to FASTfire BRONZclay™
FASTfire BRONZclay is easily sculpted, molded, carved and formed, and becomes solid bronze when red. Your imagination and just a few simple tools will allow you to create solid bronze pieces—from jewelry to sculpture and everything in between!
Working with FASTfire BRONZclay™
FASTfire BRONZclay 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.
- Avoid using tools that absorb water.
- Wrap any pieces that you are not currently working with in plastic and place to the side.
- When not in use, keep the clay tightly wrapped in plastic and place the wrapped piece in a sealed plastic bag for added protection.
Slip will quickly become one of your favorite tools for working with FASTfire BRONZclay 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 as a coffee mug warmer or the top of a kiln (be careful to keep pieces away from the kiln’s vents); 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 FASTfire BRONZclay is red, it’s much more difficult to finish, so take advantage of this pre-red stage to do as much of your finishing work as possible.
TIP: We recommend that you fire a test piece (at least 1.5" x .5" x 4 cards thick) at 1525°F/830°C (the recommended temperature). If the test piece blisters, lower the temperature to 1500°F/816°C. If the test piece breaks when you try to bend it, raise the temperature to 1550°F/843°C.To reduce oxidation, piece(s) must be surrounded by coconut shell–based activated carbon during firing.
- Spread 1" of activated carbon granules on the bottom of a stainless steel ring container. Note: Most kilns are cooler in the front, near the door, so the front of your ring container will be cooler than the other sides. Compensate for this possibility by placing the pieces closer to the sides and back of the fi ring container. If you have a top-loading kiln, there’s no need to adjust.
- Place the piece on top of the layer; if firing two or more pieces, leave at least 1/2" between pieces, more if the pieces are large.
- Pour more activated carbon granules on top of the pieces until the container is full, making sure there is a 1/2" layer of granules on top of each piece. If you are firing many pieces in layers, make sure there is at least 1/2" of space between the vertical layers as well.
- Put a slotted stainless steel lid on the firing container (or offset your solid lid to create a gap) and set it in the kiln on stilts to allow good heat circulation.
- Ramp at full speed to 1525°F, and hold for 2 hours.
Please Note: After firing, a residue will be left on the red pieces. This residue is easy to remove with running water and must be washed off prior to finishing.
Once red, the FASTfire BRONZclay piece is solid metal. As with other metals, it can be sawn, drilled, sanded, patinaed or soldered using traditional jewelry tools and materials. Keep in mind that many finishing techniques will be easier to perform at the dried, pre-red stage. Repairs can be made by adding fresh clay and re-firing.
The binder in FASTfire BRONZclay is non-toxic, and no toxic fumes will be present during firing. Though rare, it is possible for some individuals to experience a sensitivity to FASTfire BRONZclay. We recommend wearing a dust mask while working with activated carbon.
"I just have to say that this new quick fire bronze is fabulous! No ramping,
less kiln time and much stronger pieces. Love it!" - Lisa Blackwell
"The consistency of the new FASTfire BRONZclay is fabulous - almost velvety! It requires very little conditioning. I just knead in a light mist of distilled water and it's perfect." - Margaret Schindel
"The clean working aspect of this smooth clay yields detailed, clean impressions that will make your work in BronzClay a fun and exciting adventure!" - Louise Shadonix
"I love this clay! The consistency fresh from the package feels similar to a marshmallow. It’s amazing how long you can work with it before it needs to be rehydrated, and when it does, I just spritz the clay lightly with water, mix it in, and the clay is ready to use right away." - Judi Weers
"The FASTfire BRONZclay is soft and pliable but it feels powdery. It is easier to join pieces together than compared to regular BRONZclay and it shrinks a lot less. It is less prone to cracking." - Gordon Uyehara
"I absolutely love it! It has a consistency that's easy to work with, it leaves hands and tools very clean, it fires wonderfully well in a short amount of time (great for teaching!), it readily absorbs water for quick reconstitution of clay and paste, and best of all for me, constructing hollow forms is a breeze, because making reliable joins is quick and simple." - Donna Penoyer
©2010 The Bell Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. RGISBN FASTfire BRONZclay Insert.indd 07/10AL
Last updated on Tue, July 27, 2010 by Metal Clay Guru