Making 960


What is 960? 

It’s a sorta new metal clay that was not manufactured directly by a company. I believe it was Celie Fago who first experimented with mixing PMC3 (99.9% silver) and PMC Sterling (92.5% silver). Equal parts. Here is a link to her 2014 blog post.

Mathwise maybe, if you mix metal clays according to her experiment you come up with 96.2% silver. Regardless, Celie named the “new” clay 960.

The delightful benefits to 960 are that your creations are harder or stronger than the usual PMC3 or fine silver creations. And, unlike PMC Sterling, 960 requires a one-step fire process without activated charcoal. Fire 960 at 1500 degrees F for only one hour. I have experimented with torch firing 960 pieces for teaching, and so far pieces have come out okay. I wouldn’t know the strength of those pieces though.

Bottom line, I hardly make any fine silver pieces these days. I use 960. 

Commercially Prepared 960

As of mid 2016, Cool Tools manufactures its own brand of EZ960. Check it out!

If You Want to Make Your Own, Here’s how

This is how I make my 960. Each step is described in the photo caption.

960 clay X 2

Mix equal parts of PMC3 and PMC Sterling.

960 weight + amts

You can weigh out equal parts, or. . .

960 clay any amount

Mix two of the same size packages, such as 1 - 16-gram packages of PMC3 and 1 - 16-gram package of PMC Sterling.

960 50 grams

I mix 50 gram packages of each even though they are not the exact same clay weighs.
The PMC3 contains 55.5 grams of clay and the PMC Sterling contains 50 grams of clay.

960 Hands in glove

Wait! First you will want to put some non-stick solution on your hands, because you are about to get physical with the clay.
Gloves in a Bottle or Olive Oil works well.

960 mix 2

I have put together the two pieces and have begun to mix in my hands.

960 mix 3

At any stage in this entire process, the goal is to prevent air bubbles from getting into the clay.
For this reason, I start pressing at one edge of the clay and make my way to the other.

960 clay ready to roll

Here is my hand-mixed clay, ready for the next step. I’m going to roll the clay, repeatedly.

960 teflon report cover

I use two sheets of teflon. You can use report covers or any flat surface that has been treated with a non-stick material.

960 clay first roll

Rolling is hard; I mean, you have to press really hard. The more you work the clay, the softer and easier it gets.

960 clay marbled

Here is what the clay looks like after a first roll. You can see the blue-grey sterling and the more-tan fine silver have not mixed.

960 clay first roll

Roll and check. Repeatedly. You are looking for one homogenous color and texture, like . . . .

960 clay rolled mixed

This. This is homogenous, well-mixed 960 clay.

960 clay rolled air bubble

I’m always certain to point out what you don’t want, such as this air bubble.

960 clay wrap in wrap

After you are convinced your 960 is well mixed, then you store it.
To watch a video presentation on storing clay, go to I Love Silver’s Freebie Course of that name.
Otherwise, I will be creating a PMC Tidbits & Tricks next month on this topic.

960 putting in container

Since I use both PMC3 and 960, I am sure to label my containers.

Kiln Eclipse

To fire your pieces, you can fire at a minimum at 1500 degrees F for one hour or up to 1650 degrees F for two hours (stronger result).

For online courses in metal clay, go to I Love Silver, where you learn how to design and create your own silver creations.

© Kris A Kramer 2019