Art Clay Silver: cone 011, hold for ten
1) Select the cone number above for the
silver clay you are firing. Place that cone on the kiln shelf. Select a
cone for the Kiln Sitter that will make the witness cone on the shelf bend
to maturity. (For instance, you may need a cone 09 in the Kiln Sitter to
make the cone 010 on the shelf bend to maturity.)
2) Fire the kiln. Slow the kiln during
the last hour to approximately 108 degrees F. per hour.
3) When the Kiln Sitter trips, raise the
weight and press in the plunger. Gently lower the weight. The Kiln Sitter
is now firing on manual and will no longer shut off the kiln, so use
caution to prevent over-firing. Turn the kiln switch to Medium and
continue to fire for 10 minutes. Then turn off the switch and allow the
kiln to cool to room temperature.
Fire a test piece for your first firing.
You may need to experiment with the switch positions to maintain the
correct temperature during the 10-minute hold. It would also be easier to
hold the correct temperature if you used a pyrometer, which shows the
temperature inside the kiln.
One of the most desirable finishes for
the Art Clay Silver is a perfect mirror finish. But getting that mirror
finish is not exactly easy, especially by hand! And what exactly is a
mirror finish anyway?
A mirror finish is a shiny surface that
has been polished, or scratched, to a high shine such that you can almost
literally see you reflection – like a mirror. The surface you are
polishing doesn’t have to be completely flush (all at the same level) but
it is easier to work on a fairly smooth texture. However, a textured or
patterned surface can have a mirror finish on the high spots too.
In order to get a mirror finish, you use
higher and higher grit sandpapers that each take away the rougher
scratches and make smaller scratches until finally the scratches are so
small you can barely see them. Think of a brand-new shiny chrome bumper.
First, start with a fired silver piece
and a piece of low grit wet/dry sandpaper like 400. Work in one direction
only, going from side to side or top to bottom. Keep going until the
entire surface to be polished is uniformly scratched. You should not see
any unscratched low areas. If your surface is not all level, then you’ll
need to use a corner and your finger and work the sandpaper into the low
spot so it gets scratched too.
Next, move up to a higher grit sandpaper
like 600. This time, work in the opposite direction and in that direction
only. (HINT: By working in opposite directions every time, it is easier to
see if you’ve removed all of the previous grit’s marks.) Keep going until
you can no longer see any of the previous scratches going the other way.
Don’t forget to clean your piece and
surrounding area each time you change to a new grit of paper. If you are
working wet (in a bowl of water or in the sink) you should change the
water each time. This will prevent the frustration of contamination and
having a piece of larger grit making a huge scratch in a nicely polished
surface! If that happens, you have to start back at the beginning. Also,
if you are working without water, it is not a bad idea to wear a dust mask
to prevent inhaling silver and dust particles. Safety first!
Keep polishing like before in opposite
directions with 1200 grit, then 2000 grit. Be patient, you’re almost
there. There are special polishing papers that go up to 8000 grit and they
work really well. You can also use metal polish to get a great mirror
shine. We recommend Wenol polish. All you do is apply a small amount to a
dry cloth, rub it on and then buff it off with a clean cloth.
Remember, with a mirror finish you
should not be able to see any scratches. There’s no substitute for a good
mirror finish and if you do it right, you will be thrilled with the
One CZ lost all of its facets and became
a rounded piece of glass. This was a real failure, and I had no solution
for fixing it.
In my studio, I test all stones
personally before they are worked into projects. If a stone fires
correctly the first time, it will fire the same way (at the same
temperature) in each subsequent firing.
As for you diamond, the answer is no.
However, you can place a setting into your piece and set your diamond in
after the firing.