Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Make a cane from Metal Clay

Materials you will need:

Clay extruder and discs- this will cut the circles and also extrude your canes

Pick at least 2 clays clays you would like to use. I will be using copper, bronze and steel pearl gray metal clay ( Hadar Jacobson brand)

6, 3 and 1 card stacks

olive oil, roller, suran wrap, small razor to lift circles

Step one:

Preparing for the cane

1. Take your copper clay and roll it 6 cards thick. Using the clay extruder cut 6 circle discs and place them on your board with suran wrap on top to keep them from drying out.

2. Take the bronze clay (or white bronze or both) roll it 3 cards thick. Cut 6 circle discs and place each one on each of the copper discs. Cover with the suran wrap.

3. Lastly you will roll the pearl gray steel 1 card thick. Again, cut 6 discs and place those on top of the bronze clay discs. cover with suran wrap.

**The copper needs to be approximately two times the amount of the bronze (or white bronze) because it creates an alloy where it connects. If the copper is not dominant the bronze will take over. This may also make the detail in your piece not so crisp. 

Copper 6 cards thick
Bronze 3 cards thick
White Bronze 3 cards thick
Steel 1 card thick

Step two:

Making the cane

1. Pick the shape disc you will want your cane to be. 

If you can't find a shape you like, make your own. Take copper clay (less shrinkage) 4 to 6 cards thick and make your shape. Dry it, clean it and fire it and you are ready to go!

2. Stack all the little stacks on top of each other. Starting with copper, bronze and steel, copper bronze and steel and so on. 

3. Load the clay stack into the extruder starting with the steel and ending with the copper. 

4. Place the disc of your choice into place and screw the top on.

5. Start to extrude. I make my canes about 3 inches long. I find any bigger they start to get distorted.

6.  Set each one to the side and cover while you make more.

7. Save all your left overs. it makes a great mix for backings or even just to add swirls of color to a plain piece you are making.

8. Store what ever you are not using in a sealed contain that you stick in the freezer. It keeps indefinately. When you are ready to use it again just pull it out. By the time I start slicing pieces off it already is softening.

Next blog post will be about creating a piece with your cane slices and creating mokume-gane.

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