The faster way to fire! FASTfire BRONZEclay™ drastically cuts your
firing time—making it ideal for production work, the classroom,
or for those times when you just want to bring your creations to life
a bit quicker. With FASTfire, you can fire your pieces in 2 hours.
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.
Making Slip 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 fired, it’s much more difficult to finish, so take advantage of this pre-fired stage to do as much of your finishing work as possible.
IMPORTANT: Because the internal temperature of each kiln varies, we recommend that you fire a test piece measuring approximately 1-1/2" x 1/2" x 4 cards thick (3cm x 1cm x 1mm) at the recommended firing schedule:
Ramp at 1525°F (829°C) per hour. Hold at 1525°F (829°C) for one hour (total firing time is less than
Please Note: These are the actual internal temperatures, not the temperature readings displayed on the front of the kiln.
If the test piece shows a few small blisters, reduce the ramp and hold temperatures to 1500°F (816°C). If extensive, large blisters appear, reduce the ramp and hold temperatures to 1475°F (807°C).
If the surface of the test piece is smooth, try bending it 90°; if the outside of the bend shows large cracks or breaks, increase the ramp and hold temperatures to 1575°F (862°C). If little/no cracking is observed, continue to bend the piece into a “U” at 180°. If the bend shows a large crack or the piece breaks, increase the ramp and hold temperatures to 1550°F (843°C).
If the piece is smooth, and the 180° bend produced no cracks, then no firing adjustments are required.
If your first test piece required an adjustment to the firing schedule, make sure to fire a second test piece and perform the same tests described above to determine if additional adjustments are necessary. If blistering again occurs, decrease the ramp and hold temperatures another 50°; if cracking re-occurs during the bend test, increase the temperatures another 25°–50°. If the second test piece required adjustments, test fire a third piece.
IMPORTANT: We recommend that you first fire a test piece (see "Test Firing" above). To reduce oxidation, piece(s) must be surrounded by coconut shell–based activated carbon (Rio #703-205) during firing.
- Spread 1" of activated carbon granules on
the bottom of a stainless steel firing container
Note: Most kilns are cooler in the front, near the door, so the front of your firing container will be cooler than the other sides. Compensate for this possibility by placing the pieces closer to the sides and back of the firing 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 1525°F (829°C) per hour. Hold at 1525°F (829°C) for one hour (total firing time is less than
2 hours). Please Note: These are the actual internal temperatures, not the temperature readings displayed on the front of the kiln. After firing, a residue will be left on the fired pieces. This residue is easy to remove with running water and must be washed off prior to finishing.
Once fired, 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-fired 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. Please see an MSDS for FASTfire BRONZclay.