I have been collecting sandings, scraps, old paste, hard nodules that were dropped, and recovered silver from the bottom of the water bowls etc, from every brand of Fine Silver clay over the last 12 years. I have tried to reconstitute it in the past by grinding it to a fine powder, sifting the cat hairs and other stuff out of it and adding a bit of water. It did not hold together as there was very little binder left in the mix.
Here is the coffee grinder I got at the thrift store and the jar of about 5 ounces of powder I ground and sifted
There was a conversation about this on the Metal Clay Europe Facebook Page and someone mentioned methylcellulose works a bit, but I never heard how well. I was looking around on Amazon.com one day, and found this bottle of Psyllium husks for my old kitty to help with her constipation.
I ordered it and when it came in I mixed it in water to see how potent it was before I fed the cat any. 1tsp adsorbed a lot of water and it was a smooth gel. That had me thinking about the silver powder I had stored.
So I experimented and this is what I found:
(this is US measurements)
One slightly heaping teaspoon of old fine silver powder
1/16th tsp of Psyllium powder
about 35 drops of water +/-
Mix on a piece of plastic with a small flat knife until well mixed and it is starting to hold together. You should be able to either roll it into a ball and mix well in your hand or put into a plastic report sheet and roll and fold till well mixed. Wrap and put into a container overnight and the next day it should be ready to use.
If your clay is totally unknown as to what types of fine silver went into it, then I would fire it at
1650F for at least an hour.
I will be firing this piece in my next hot load of silver and will be enameling on it. Stay tuned for the final product. I am so excited to be able to use all this reclaimed silver I have been collecting!
Please leave a comment as to your success with this. Thanks
9/28/2015 09:35:55 am
Great experimental work! Please let us know how it works in firing.
9/28/2015 08:07:12 pm
9/28/2015 03:48:08 pm
Marilyn, this is very exciting! Looking forward to hearing more as you continue your experiments. :)
9/28/2015 08:09:01 pm
Thanks Margaret! I have been agonizing over how to use up 5 ounces of ratty silver powder that wouldn't reconstitute into decent clay
9/28/2015 05:14:52 pm
Hot damn!! This is awesome, Marilyn!!
9/28/2015 08:09:35 pm
9/28/2015 06:05:24 pm
9/28/2015 06:47:20 pm
Marilyn, How cool is that? I think i have a bottle of those capsules too!
9/28/2015 08:10:36 pm
9/28/2015 09:41:06 pm
Awesome. Thanks for the very cool share.
9/29/2015 06:49:51 am
You are so welcome Lorrene!
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I am anArt Clay Senior instructor who loves working with all aspects of Metal Clay.