Q: What kind of water should be used to mix with the powder?
A: You can use any kind of water – tap, distilled, whatever is available.
Q: What kind of charcoal should be used to fire bronze?
A: We recommend steam activated coconut shell charcoal, and not charcoal prewashed in acid. There are many kinds of coconut shell charcoal available, and it is recommended to use the best. A good kind of charcoal has a high absorption coefficient – up to 1300m2/1g. Low quality charcoals don’t get better than 400m2/1g, we don’t recommend them. Activated charcoal vendors have certificates with their product’s parameters. The perfect charcoal for Goldie products will have 800-1300m2/1g absorption parameters.
Q: I poured too much water and the clay is too runny, what should I do?
A: Roll the clay on plastic foil and dry it up a bit, using a hairdryer for example. Then gather up the clay and knead it like dough. Repeat until the texture and dampness of the clay is appropriate.
Q: The clay is too dry, it crumbles and breaks while being formed.
A: You need to add water, spray the clay with water, and knead again, until the texture and dampness of the clay is appropriate.
Q: I have problems with forming the clay, it crumbles.
A: The powder was not mixed properly, there’s not enough binder in the part being used. In this case, all of the powder should be used, add the rest of the powder to the part mixed with water and knead like dough. Repeat several times till the clay has the appropriate texture and the air bubbles are gone.
Q: I mixed all of the clay with water, but a large piece was left after I finished work. What should i do to use the clay in the future?
A: You need to put the clay into an airtight plastic bag, or an airtight container, add a few drops of water and close tightly. A piece of metal clay secured in this way can last for a month.
Q: A piece of Goldie Snow Bronze™ clay turned yellowish while being stored, is it normal?
A: Yes, this metal clay, or more precisely, the binder enters a chemical reaction due to the high tin content. It’s absolutely normal and nothing to worry about. After taking the clay out from the bag or container, the clay should be kneaded like dough. If it’s to dry, add several drops of water and knead again. Clay is ready to use after this preparation.
Q: After the complete firing, the large flat surfaces are slightly wavy, what can I do?
A: All metals, except for Goldie Snow Bronze™ can be straightened by hitting lightly with a hammer. The waves can be caused by:
1. Drying process that went too quickly.
2. The charcoal layer that wasn’t even. The layer should be flattened with a large flat object, so the surface is even.
3. Gradient, or the difference between the temperature of the element near the kiln door and the sensor might have been too big. This often happens in small kilns, for example, while firing Goldie Snow Bronze™ the temperature near the sensor is 740°C/1364°F and the temperature near the kiln door is 690°C/ 1274°F, which means a 50°C/122°F difference. Assuming that the container is 10cm long, the gradient of temperature difference is 5C/41F per 1cm. In case of an element of 4cm radius, the temperature difference is 20C/68F. If the elements are wavy after firing, or fired in a non centric way, it means that they should be placed vertically, then the temperature gradient will be 0°C/0°F.
Q: The table of parameters does not include RAMP, but I can set it in my kiln. How should I set it to fire Goldie clays?
A: Always set the RAMP parameter to the full.
Q: How do I press a pattern from a rubber or plastic stamp on Goldie clays?
A: Cover the stamp with a bit of water, so the whole surface is moist. There’s no need to use oil for this purpose.
Q: Can I mix the clays together using the Mokume Gane technique?
A: Yes, but you have to remember to adjust the firing temperature to the clay that requires the lowest temperature, for example, if using the Goldie Snow Bronze™ and Goldie Copper™ clays, you should set the kiln to 740°C/1370°F and increase the firing time by 50%.
Q: How do I fix cracks?
A: You need to prepare a paste in the following way: put a tiny bit of clay, or several grams of powder into a container, add water and mix with a paintbrush until the paste has a pudding texture – then the paste is ready. Clean all patina of the cracked surface, apply a thin layer of the paste and leave to dry. Then, glue the cracked elements together or fill in the cracks with clay. Leave to dry, then fire in two stages.
Q: Can I leave the cover of the steel container of while firing?
A: Yes, but the charcoal consumption will be a bit higher. It is recommended to leave the steel container open in small kilns. Small kilns have low heat capacity, so this is the appropriate procedure, it helps the heat reach fired elements faster.
Q: The element did not get fully fired, black powder remained inside.
A: The following problems could have occurred :
1. The binder did not get fully burned in the first stage. You should increase the time of the binder
burning by 10 minutes. The appropriate color of the whole surface after the first firing should be
2. The real kiln temperature is too low, it should be increased by 10°C/50°F in the second stage, or the time of the firing should be increased by 30-50%.
Q: Bubbles appear on the elements.
A: The temperature is too high in the second stage, metal started to melt instead of sintering.
Q: Can I use a ceramic container instead of a steel one?
A: No. Ceramic objects are heat isolators. The thermal resistance of the container could cause the temperature to be too low, not high enough for the metal to sinter properly.
Q: Can I use cork while working with Goldie?
A: No, the cork doesn’t burn completely and leaves charcoal behind and that could disturb the firing process. We recommend using paper mass which turns into ash.
Q: Can I use ready bronze elements such as frames, ear wires, zirconia settings?
A: Yes, elements like that can be attached to wet clay and sintered.
Q: Can I use zirconias and other stones?
A: Yes, but not all stones and zirconias will be appropriate. You need to remember that Goldie is fired in a higher temperature than silver, so it’s best to use synthetic zirconias, artificial rubies and corundum stones.
Q. I have heard about ‚firing in a cage’. Why would I do this and how do I do it?
A. Putting a piece into a small box made from 100-mesh stainless steel mesh keeps it out of contact with the carbon and helps to prevent pitting. A cage also stops carbon from getting into open spaces such as filigree where it can interfere with the shrinkage. On hollow pieces a cage helps to prevent distortion caused by the weight of the carbon on top.
An alternative method for the first stage of firing is to do it on a stainless steel mesh, especially if the piece is thick or has a core which must be burnt out. Using a cage means that there is less chance of breakage or damage to the piece when the cage is transferred to the firing container.
Fold a piece of 100-mesh stainless steel mesh to make a box just slightly larger than the piece. Use a second piece of 100-mesh stainless steel mesh to make a lid for the box. Put the piece into the box and put the lid on then stand the box on the bed of carbon for the first stage of firing. For the second stage, cover with more carbon so that there is at least 1cm of carbon above the top of the cage and fire the second stage as usual.