Soldering Clay

Nancy LT Hamilton, 7/5/17

(Kate) Wolf Tools: Wolf Clay

  Have you ever tried soldering clay?  It’s a material that holds pieces in place while soldering as well as supporting your work or protecting it from the heat.  Kate Wolf makes a soldering clay:  Wolf Clay.  Her clay is sold by Ronda Coryell.

According to the product description, it does not swell, burn or deform.

This type of refractory clay is especially great for holding Argentium Silver which has a tendency to sag.  But, it can be used to hold other metals as well. It can also protect parts that you are worried about melting. It can hold things, like two wires, together during the soldering process.

The clay can be reused after firing. According to the video, Ronda, crumbles the clay up and just places the clay back in the jar – after it has cooled.

There is contradicting information about its ability to be rehydrated:  The jar states that it can be while Ronda’s page, where the product is sold, states: “Currently, Wolf Clay cannot be reconstituted by adding water.”  I’m testing this product so, I’ll post any updates.

The clay doesn’t need to dry before use.

Don’t use this clay with Platinum!

  Kate Wolf’s Soldering Clay, out of the jar.

Videos

Here are some videos of the clay in-use:  Ronda Coryell’s YouTube video, Silvera Jewelry School’s YouTube video.

Make your own

Note:  This is an experimental recipe and I have not tested it.

You can also make your own!  Here’s a recipe that comes from Kathy!  Note:  Kathy states that this might need to be tweaked for soldering as she used it in conjunction with porcelain and silver clay in a kiln.

This is an experimental recipe!  When I figure out the right amounts/minerals, I will post it here.  I thought you might like to experiment yourselves and would love to hear of your results on Facebook.

According to Kathy, you’ll need to make or buy a ball mill (or something similar) to grind the minerals.  Here’s an Instructable’s link for making one from a drill.  A router speed controller switch might work to have it tumble slowly and not have to wedge it in the on position. NOTE:  I have not tried this – it’s just an idea so, I don’t know if it will work.

 (pie weights)  You can also use a rock tumbler (single barrel about $45.00 US) with steel balls, marbles, or ceramic pie weights as a ball mill.

Here are some ideas for using a tumbler at Potters.org. You can purchase a dual barrel rock tumbler from Harbor Freight for about $60.00 or you may already own one??? Magnetic tumblers won’t work.

The Recipe

Here’s the recipe from Kathy:

  • 2 part silica (alumina would be OK I think)
  • 2 parts perlite (NLTH note: I ordered finely ground)
  • 2 parts high grade ball milled fireclay. (See NLTH note below).
  • Add some bentonite for suspension
  • Add water until it’s a good consistency.
  • Keep in mind this is a potters rough solution to ordering clay that would cost me close to 70$.
  • Note:  Links are mine – NLTH!

Notes

Kathy sent me two good links for materials in small quantities.  If you have a pottery supply near you, check them out for these products.

Neither store carries the perlite.

  Bentonite is also called Fullers Earth.

The consistency should be a bit like PlayDough.

Silica powder is more expensive than the aluminum oxide.

  Perlite fine

After finding that you can get the materials as fine powders, I wonder if a ball mill is necessary.  I’m going to order the materials and see what happens! I’ll update with my results.  This page is probably premature but, I got so excited to experiment that I couldn’t help myself!  Sorry.