EZ960® Sterling Silver Clay Update

Written by Alan Rein

Hello everyone,

We recently updated our EZ960 firing instructions and our Gemstone Firing Guide to accommodate those artists that are firing the metal clay for extended hold times. The original firing schedule for EZ960 has not changed:

1675F for 2 hours
1700F for 1 Hour
1725F for 15 minutes

However, we have added to this schedule:
1675F for 3 or 4 hours – recommended for bending post-firing.

We have found through experience, trial and error, and then testing with a pyrometer, that most kilns are firing properly and at the stated temperatures. There are some kilns, however, that can or do fire somewhat lower than what the digital display states. This can be due to several reasons (age and use of the kiln being one of them). Regardless, and because of lower firing temperatures, some artists have experienced, when bending post-firing, cracking and even breakage of their Sterling Silver pieces after firing at the recommended firing times and temperatures. By testing with a pyrometer, we have found that these problems are due to an under-firing kiln. That being the case, for those artists who wish to bend the metal post-firing, we recommend firing for 3 or 4 hours at the 1675F temperature. This longer firing time, as simple as it is, has proven to be an excellent insurance policy to ensure the clay is completely sintered, and then, can withstand the additional rigors of bending post-firing- this is especially true for underperforming kilns or for those that may have experienced cracking or breakage when bending.
Having said that, the next question was, logically, “what about co-firing cubic zirconia and lab created gemstones at this temperature (1675F) for the longer hold time of 4 hours?” Can they take the heat for an additional 2 hours? Well, we tested every color and type of cz and lab created gemstone in our inventory, and the answer is…. if the gemstone can tolerate 2 hours at 1675F (open shelf, no carbon), it can tolerate 4 hours at 1675F (open shelf, no carbon). One exception being the golden topaz – it turned slightly darker, but it did not burn, nor did it change in the quality of the hue.

We have updated our Gemstone Firing Guide to reflect this new data. Also see below photos of the gemstones, before and after their 1675F firing on an open shelf for 4 hours.

All of this is good news for those who wish to co-fire gemstones with EZ960 using the technique that Lis-el Crowley pioneered and uses to her advantage – forming and firing the clay flat, and then bending the metal around a mandrel post-firing to create adjustable rings and cuff bracelets.

 

Alan Rein, Owner

Cool Tools

1675 GEM FIRING CZ Firing Gemstones and LABs 1675 open shelf 4hr

March 24, 2017

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EZ960®: METALCLAYSTUDIO

Written by Rhonda Rein

We are always delighted to share pieces that have been created with EZ960 Sterling Silver Clay. The pieces pictured below were created by seven different students in Russia at the METALCLAYSTUDIO. The METALCLAYSTUDIO offers training on working with metal clay with both basic and advanced classes. Thank you to the folks at METALCLAYSTUDIO for sharing these photos with us!

For more information on the METALCLAYSTUDIO click here.

For more pictures of the work done by artists in this studio click here.

 

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February 24, 2017

Posted In: Creativity, Product Spotlight

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Artist Project Series: Kathy Van Kleek

Written by Rhonda Rein

unspecifiedAnother project is here for The Artist Project Series with EZ960®! We are thrilled to support Creative Fire with this process.

The fourth artist is Kathy Van Kleeck, a jewelry artist since 1994. She has created a unique ring using EZ960 Sterling Silver Clay while showing us her process step by step.
To view this process and to learn more about Kathy Van Kleek, click here                                                                                                               unspecified-1

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February 23, 2017

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Creating Reindeer Earrings

Written by Rhonda Rein

rhonda-earrings-7I wanted to create some cute Christmas earrings for ugly sweater parties and other festive activities that happen this time of year… so reindeer earrings it twas! I am new to metal clay so these were a little bit of a challenge, but with help of my Aunt I am very happy with how they turned out! Below is step by step instructions on my process.

Products used:

EZ960™ Sterling Silver Metal Clay

6″ x 9″ Work Surface

8mm x 10mm Garnet Oval Cubic Zirconia – Checkerboard

2mm Garnet Round Cubic Zirconia

Bezel Template – Oval 2 

Ultra Clay Pick

Scratch Foam Board

Rolling Frames & Cool Roller

Ball Stylus

Drill Set – 6 Piece

Needle File (circular end)

Sterling Silver Post – 6mm

The Wick Away

Paint Brush

Magic Carbon 

Firing Pan




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Step 1:

Form bezels using Bezel Template – Oval 2 and the Ultra Clay Pick

 

 















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Step 2 & 3:

Mold the ears and paste onto each side of the bezel and let dry.

Using the Ball Stylus, draw a pair of antlers on the Scratch Foam Board.

Roll the clay on the Scratch Foam Board and cut around the edges with the Ultra Clay Pick.

File and Sand around the antlers to your liking.

 

 

 

 

 









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Step 4:

Gently drill holes into the ears using the drill and the circular end of a needle file.

Paste in the 2mm stones and let dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









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Step 5:

Paste Sterling Silver Posts onto the back of the bezels. Let dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 











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Step 6:

After sanded and filed, place in carbon face down. Cover with carbon.

Fire at 1625°F for 2 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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Step 7:

Tumble for 3-4 hours. Polish as needed.

December 15, 2016

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Artist Project Series: Cindy Miller

Written by Rhonda Rein

cindy-miller-owl-pendant-cover-shot-2a-975x1300

We are happy to share the second featured artist for “The Artist Project Series” by Creative Fire. This series features 12 artist who are letting us observe into their studio while they create a piece of art using EZ960™ Sterling Silver Clay.

The second artist is Cindy Miller, a full-time studio artist from Alabama. She has created a vivid, beautiful owl pendant, while showing her process step by step.

To view this process and an interview with Cindy Miller by UK artist Julia Rai, click here.

December 14, 2016

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Artist Project Series: Gordon K. Uyehara

Written by Rhonda Rein

gordonring_1We are delighted to support and introduce “The Artist Project Series” by Creative Fire. This series will feature 12 artists over the next year or so. Each artist will let us observe into their studio while they create a piece of art using EZ960™ Sterling Silver Clay.

The first featured artist is Gordon Uyehara from Honolulu, Hawaii. Gordon has created a beautiful and intricate Pangolin ring, while showing his process step by step.

To view this process and an interview with Gordon Uyehara by UK artist Julia Rai, click here.

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October 13, 2016

Posted In: Creativity, Free Project Guides

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Announcing a Fabulous New Metal Clay

Written by Diane Rein

Artist Lisel Crowley has written a great review of our new EZ960(tm) sterling silver clay. Check it out below and here: Lisel Crowley News

Lisel Crowley

Over the past few months, (March, 2016 to June 2016), I have had the distinct pleasure of testing a fabulous new Sterling Silver clay. Created by Bill Struve and distributed by Cool Tools, this clay is an open shelf sterling silver clay with wonderful working properties and incredible post firing strength. It is called EZ960 and is 96 percent silver and 4 percent copper. I am very excited to share with you what I discovered using this product.

Working Properties
This clay is smooth and creamy out of the package. It rolls and textures perfectly. I use a lot of delicate coils in my work and it is great for rolling long, strong and flexible coils. It also has a long working time before drying and cracking, is very easy to reconstitute with a bit of water and remains slightly flexible even after drying. I have attached fine silver bezel cups and they adhere strongly and are fully bonded after firing. I also find it easy to join pieces with just water and the post firing bond is strong and durable.

Lisel Crowley

Bezel set cubic zirconia, combined with delicate coils and textured leaves

Lisel Crowley

Firing and Finishing
Bill Struve recommends firing this clay on an open shelf, no carbon necessary, to 1675 Farenheit for 2 hours for full sintering. I found that in my kiln, which is a paragon SC2, it sintered fully at 1650 for 2 hours. I ramped at full speed, and held for two hours and then crash cooled. The fired color is slightly grayer than fine silver clay, which is to be expected. I tested for sintering by dabbing the fired piece with water, which was not absorbed. I find that the clay shrinks between 10 and 11 percent when fired at 1650 for 2 hours.

I brushed the pieces with a stainless steel brush and tumbled for an hour. They came out of the tumbler with a beautiful shine. I then applied liver of sulfur patina and finished with a blue radial disk to achieve a satin finish. I love the final finish this clay provides.

Lisel Crowley

Rings are a great item for this new clay due to its excellent post fired strength. Each of these rings has a fine silver bezel cup attached.

Strength!!!!
This is what I am most excited about. The post fired strength of this clay is fantastic! I have long wanted to make cuffs out of metal clay, but did not feel fine silver would have the strength required. With EZ960, not only do the cuffs have the required strength, but I can form and fire them flat and bend them around a mandrel after firing. This allows me a lot of creative freedom when designing the cuff. I also created a variety of rings which I formed and fired flat and bent around a mandrel post firing. They were so easy to shape and finish and I am thrilled with the design possibilities. I have been wearing and testing both the cuffs and rings and find that they can handle a lot of use and abuse with no distortion or problems.

Lisel Crowley

These cuffs were formed and fired flat and then formed over a bracelet mandrel post firing.

Lisel Crowley

I have worn them to test their strength and they hold up beautifully.

Lisel Crowley

Here’s a close up of one of the rings I formed and fired flat and then shaped around a mandrel post firing.

Lisel Crowley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is another ring, without patina

Conclusion
This is proving to be  my new favorite clay. I love its working properties, the finish I can achieve and the strength it provides. I have long admired the genius of Bill Struve and the dedication of Cool tools to providing metal clay artists with the best tools and supplies to fuel their creative passion.

I have not been paid to write this review, nor was I paid to do the testing. I do believe in this product and feel it will provide you with endless creative possibillties. Enjoy. Here is a link to Cool Tools if you would like to order some clay for yourself.

Tutorials
I recently visited Cool Tools, where I filmed several project tutorials using EZ960. They will be released over the next few months. If you are on the Cool Tolls email list, you will receive a notification when they are available to view. I will also post a link on my facebook page and on my resources page on here on my website. I hope they will help you to expand your creative approach to metal clay in new ways. I always welcome feedback and questions. You can reach me at lisel33@sbcglobal.net.

June 16, 2016

Posted In: Creativity, New Products!, Product Spotlight

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Spend $25.00 and get FREE Scratch Foam

Written by Diane Rein

Spend $25.00 and get FREE Scratch Foam
Spend $25.00 or more and get free scratch foam! Perfect for making your own unique texture. Enter Code: “SCRATCH” in the coupon code box during checkout. Watch our video on how to use this versatile product. Offer ends June 6, 2016 at Midnight CDT.
Watch Video and Shop Here

June 3, 2016

Posted In: Free Video Projects, Promotions, Video Projects

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Product Feature Video: CoolSlip Anti-Stick Solution

Written by Diane Rein

Product Feature Video: CoolSlip Anti-Stick Solution
Check out the NEW CoolSlip product video HERE. Cool Tools CoolSlip is the first anti-stick product made just for metal clay and metal clay tools. Spray on textures and tools before use for crisp, stick-free impressions. Use as a spray or brush on.

May 31, 2016

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Throwback Thursday! Check out the “PMC 960” DIY video.

Written by Diane Rein

Check out the "PMC 960" DIY video.
Nothing beats the strength and shine of sterling silver, but sometimes, the firing schedules for PMC Sterling can be somewhat difficult. Combining PMC3 and PMC Sterling results in a new clay type that offers the best of both worlds. In this tool demo, learn how making PMC 960 is the perfect solution for strength and simple firing.
Shop for PMC Sterling here
Shop for PMC3 here
‪#‎CoolTools‬ ‪#‎JewelryDIY‬

May 19, 2016

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