Monday, February 09, 2009

Setting Stones in Metal Clay

I haven't set a stone in metal clay since the first class I took, many years ago.

I pulled out my hoarded, sealed syringe of PMC3, only to find it a dried plug. That is a fitting end for hoarding!

So I drilled a hole through the leather hard clay, beveled the edge with a round file so that the stone would sit down to the girdle, then covered with a two card thick cutout. With a little water and a little pressure, that donut sealed down nicely. I cleaned the stone as well as I could, dried, then fired.

For whatever reason, I couldn't find the large stash of stones I purchased last summer, but I did find a bag of freebies from the PMC Conference that included a few unknown stones. Being that this was a light green stone, and some of the green stones don't hold color well in the kiln, I was hesitant to give it the full treatment. But I decided to throw caution to the wind. Two hours at 1650, cooled overnight, and it still looks fine, although there was a fine coat of silver on one edge of the stone. I think I have that cleaned off.

My other concern was having a loose enough fit that the clay could shrink without cracking the stone, and that seems to have worked out fine. After two hours in the tumbler, the piece from last post on PPPs and sidekicks look pretty and shiny. Waiting for rivets and patina now. I know it's hard to see the detail, but I thought I'd show the process. Finished piece coming soon.