As I'm sure most of you know, I've had a huge amount of trouble firing both bronze and copper clays. Occasionally, I'll be blessed with the odd completely successful firing. More often than not, I usually run into some sort of problem. These problems have included overfiring (blistering), underfiring (not sintered), and occasionally even a combination of the two in the same pan. Could be my kiln, could be me - however, regardless of where the fault lay, I just couldn't get it to work consistently. This I found hugely frustrating, as I absolutely love the look of copper and bronze.
I've been sitting on a couple packs of Fast Fire Bronze for a while now. My summer has been much busier than I thought, and I only just got a chance to open a package on the weekend. My first observation was that it felt considerably drier, and sandy - which is completely different from the original bronze. I'm not entirely sure I like the workability - but I thought I could certainly get used to it if it fires correctly. Earlier today, I popped that first batch into the kiln. It's been ready for hours, but I've been avoiding looking into the kiln. Eventually, I just had to know if it was a success, or yet another complete failure.
So - Tada! It worked, and I'm beyond thrilled. I've done a thorough sinter test which includes purposely breaking a piece, sawing, filing, and just generally banging the (*&% out of it to make sure it's nice and solid. This batch is certainly solid and completely sintered.
I fired this batch in the small stainless pan with lid on stilts in the kiln. Ramped fast to 1525, and held for 2 hours. It was at room temperature when I finally removed the pan from the kiln. I'm encouraged enough to make something a little more elaborate out of the rest of the package. For this batch, I was really just making little spacers and earrings. I didn't want to invest too much time into my designs if I was going to end up with a pile of dust. ;-)