Shopping Guide

Basic Metal Clay Tools

Metal Clay Tools - The "Best" Basics

Please note that links in this guide point to websites that sell the tools or products in this guide. Please consider that these links are provided as a reference only and not meant as a recommendation to purchase. We are not affiliated with the sites referenced and cannot provide any assurance of the best pricing or service of the websites included.

We do however recommend Metal Clay Alchemist.

 

As a Canadian metal clay supplier, based on you location shipping may be a little higher BUT what you get as service and expert product knowledge can off-set the price difference ;-). Canadians get to save on the import duties!

 

Contact "carrie(at)metalclayalchemist(dot ca)", she's always willing to help you choose the right tool or product. Psst...ask if she has any "metal clay adventures" specials!  visit www.metalclayalchemist.ca

Note: If the product button indicates "LOCAL", this means that no online link has been provided as local shopping is recommended. Usually this is due to low cost items costing more due to shipping costs or special shipping requirements due to carrier restrictions. Prices on this page are approximated.

 

Rating:

Good - light occassional user, beginner, budget limitations. Usually an alternative to more expensive products.

Better - frequent user x1-2 times month, serious hobbyist, entry level tool.

Best - advanced user, artist / artisan, essential tool.

As products are constantly changing, please let us know if you discover expired or broken links...

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Beginner BUDGET Tools - The Alternatives can be found here

This tool guide overs most of the basic tools contained in our hand-forming metal clay tutorials

Teflon Work Surface

$20

Use to roll out clay slabs. Teflon-coated plastic gives a smooth stable work-surface perfect for working with metal clay. Four rubber feet on the bottom keep the surface stable and in place while you work. Replacement Teflon sheets are available as the surface degrades with usage.Rating: Best

Teflon Tuff Cards, non-stick, teflon work surface (small)

$7

Tuff Cards are thicker than a standard playing card, but the same handy size, Tuff Cards are super sturdy and won't dump your work as you move it to your metal clay dryer, dehydrator and even to the oven. Tuff Cards are smooth with no texture and can withstand heat of up to 500F. Set of 3 cards. Each is 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" .Rating: Better

Heavy Duty Plastic Sheet - Document Protector

$3

Using this plastic cut into 2" - 4" squares allows for better manipulation of your project. Working on the plastic allows you to turn your clay when cutting and forming the clay with little risk of breaking. It also facilitates the transfer of your work to the warmer.Youc can find the same principle sold in teflon, again this is a low cost solution that works so I have not tested the higher priced version. Rating: Best

PVC Roller

$ 11.50

An essential tool to work with any metal clay, this roller also has the ability to add spacers to each end. I find that although the concept of incorporating the spacers into the roller is a good one, in practice it is time consuming to fiddle with the bands when the hands are oiled. Maybe save on the extra cost of the spacers and invest in the spacers detailed down the list? Rated Better as newer Teflon rollers are available but not yet felt the need to test.Rating: Better

Clear Roller

$3.50

Great for rolling out art clay silver and/or polymer clay. 5.5" long.Rating: Better

Ultra Clay Pick - Needle Tool

$ 12

Another essential tool. Although there are many other tools for cutting metal clay, this tool reduces drag and tearing and also works as a carving tool (copper & bronze).An economy version is also available at approx. $3 for the light user.Rating: Best

Needle Tool

$3.50

An economy version of the needle tool, for cutting, piercing, carving metal clay for the light user. Rating: Better

Clay Hydrator

$11.00

Keep all of your metal clay moist and workable for months-on-end. Keep your clay in a Cool Tools Clay Hydrator during the design process to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If you’ve been working with some clay and your hands have dried it out, place it in the hydrator.Rating: Best

Color-Quick Thickness Guide Set

$16.00

Use these handy plastic slats in pairs to roll metal clay to varying thickness--no more hassling with playing cards.Rating: Best

Clay Thickness Rolling Frames (5 frames)

$31.00

The frames are nice because you don't have to move the clay around, you can just move your roller around. No fear of slipping off a slat set or a stack of cards. Does NOT include roller. Outside dimensions are 4" x 7" Rating: Best

Mixing Disc - Acrylic 2-1/2"

$2.25

I have found this useful (essential) for PMC fine silver clays. Being transparent allows you to see the thickness when rolling snakes.Rating: Best 

Cup Warmer

$10.00

Essential for working with most clays to reduce drying (waiting) time. You can find great deals in your local thrift stores - just make sure you check it is working before buying ;-) 

Small Spray Bottle

$2.00

This little spay bottle is used to increase the humidity level of metal clay allowing more flexibility in forming.You can find these (the finer the spray the better) in most 1$ / discount stores / pharmacy in the make-up / travel section.Rating: Best

High Grade Sponge - Make Up Applicator

$6

Used to clean and smooth slip, a good quality sponge will maintain a better level of humidity. No specialty tool is required as a good make up application sponge does a great job.Rating: Best

Artist Paint Brush - Extra Fine

$6 - 10

I strongly recommend that you do not compromise quality for price for this tool! The very finest tip, natural fibers hold water better AND you need to feel how it fits your hand. Check your local art supply store so you can touch it ;-) Rating: Best (talcon fiber, size #0)

Artists Paint Brush - 1/4"

$5 - 10

Not quite as demanding in quality, this brush is to remove sanded / carved clay while working. Again natural fibers work best as they tend to be smoother.Rating: Best

Soft Taper Point Chisel Shaper

$7

Very useful tool for forming, pushing and positioning metal clay. At the price with free shipping (US Only) a good deal but if you do not have free shipping, add this to a larger order to get the price benefit.Rating: Best

Clay Shaper, 5 piece set

$18

Clay Shaper Set (Size 0) - This set includes 5 different rubber tipped clay shaping tools. Rating: Best

Small Metal Working Needle File Kit

$10.00

Used for metal work, I also find these great carving tools. You may find them in your local hardware store but make sure the pricing is "on special". The link here points to eBay so the link may die, but use the title to search for the best deal.Rating: Better

Mini Needle Files (12 piece set)

$13.46

Set of 12 Carbon Steel Mini Files. Great for carving and filing your pieces before and after firing. These are 4 inches in length. So very nice and small for delicate work. Rating: Best

Precision Pin Vise - Drill Bit Holder

$10.00

This tool cannot be categorized as essential or important as there are alternatives that work just as well. It is listed here for its convenience. You will need the drill bit, but that usually takes "borrowing long term" from your partners tool kit.Rating: Best (because it is mine:-)

Flush Cutter

$4 to $100

So why the variation is price? The simple answer is the quality of the construction, but more so the quality of the steel. If you have the capacity to sharpen the blade (rotary tool attachment:-) then paying a low price works well (eBay listing @ 4.50$) or pay more if you intend to use them frequently and cannot sharpen them.

 

Rating: N/A

Blazer Butane Microtorch

$65.00

As micro torches go, the Blazer torch is quite expensive. However, it is a robust quality product and is cheaper (with heavier usage) than constantly replacing cheaper torches.Rating: Best

Max Flame - Butane Torch

$37.99

The Max Flame is great low cost torch for firing metal clay and can be used for soldering. This torch features a large flame nozzle which is desirable for metal clay. Features include adjustable flame quick refill design safety lock ergo design electronic ignition and a maximum temperature of 2450F. Rating: Best

Ball Burnisher

$10.00

Sold in a pack of x3 double ended burnishers, this is the "economy" set. Besides the level of comfort, more expensive versions have not shown to be of an advantage.Rating: Best

Ball Burnisher (great deal)

$6.95

The smallest ball burnisher in the picture used to compress layers of silver, creating a high shine. Each end has a small ball on each end. Rating: Best

Bezel Roller

$5

This tool is great for pressing your bezel wire against your cabochon stone which is set after firing. Rating: Best

Foredom Flexshaft

$80 - 100.00

Indispensable to any jewelry maker, this tool is essential to obtain high quality finishes. It is also versatile with hundreds of various attachments from grinding, sanding, cutting, hammering.....and more.

 

This is an important purchase, but be aware of the major differences in pricing from 250$ - 400$+. The link below shows pricing from around 60$ (free shipping) but can take 30 days + for delivery. Guess were I purchased mine ;-).

3M Radial Bristle Disc Master Kit

$75.00

Just a very small part of the available rotary tool attachments, this kit covers nearly all the sanding to polishing of fine silver. Also very usefulf for polishing copper, bronze and sterling....but can be expensive if not used on the correct surface as they wearout very quickly.Rating: Best 

Mounted Mini Fiber Wheel

$7 pack of 5

Available in abrasive to fine, they work great...but wear out pretty quickly. Great for satin finishes and for removing marks from copper and bronze (abrasive). Also good for fine silver but usually only the fine.Rating: Best

Small Stainless Steel Wire Brush

$2 - 3

So far, no added value to paying more for this all important tool. Shop locally in 1$ or discount stores, crafting departments are also a good place. A last resort would be the hardware store but expect to pay a little more.Rating: N/A

Paragon SC2 Kiln

$620.00

The most important investment in working with metal clay. So many criteria need consideration when purchasing a kiln, so why this model?1. Runs on your homes 110v electrical circuit.2. Controllable ramp and holding time programmable.3. Covers all types of metal clay due to its 2000 F maximum heat.4. Produced by a company that specializes in kilns.When shopping around, be aware of features and functions that you do not need (DO NOT CHOOSE THE BEAD DOOR OPTION IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO FIRE BASE METAL CLAY!) as they will increase the price but not your value.Rating: Best

Kiln Ceramic Shelf Kit

$25.00

This kit includes x2 shelves and 8 spacers. This allows you to position your piece in the center of the kiln. The shelf can also be used as a protective surface for soldering.Rating: Best

Ceramic Crucible

$15.95 per pack of 3

Primarily used for melting metal, using a crucible in combination with Alumina Hydrate provides support and air circulation when firing PMC One Fire or Fine Silver ONLY.Rating: Best

Stainless Steel Firing Pan

$25.00

Essential for firing Copper, Bronze or Sterling Silver. Keep in mind you will also need Activated Carbon (Coconut shell is most popular).At around 25$+, better deals are to be found locally in kitchen supply stores / departments. Also check Thrift stores, you may find them for 1$!The rating on this tool is lower because the lifespan (depending on usage) is quite low as they distort with the heat. They also make a mess inside your kiln as the steel flakes. Currently testing the no flake foil - so far looking like it will have the "Best" rating.Rating: Better 

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Metal Clay Adventures | Nanaimo | British Columbia | Canada
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Metal Clay Adventures - Jewelry Making Lessons by Award Winning Metal Clay Artist Rodi Frunze