PMC+ versus FYI silver metal clays…

Metal Clay - PMC+ and FYI

There is no doubt about it…silver metal clay is expensive. When the silver market escalated several years ago, the price of metal clay skyrocketed. In the past few months, the silver market has dropped in price, but the price of silver metal clay has barely declined. Fortunately, I still have several packets of PMC3, PMC+, and Art Silver Clay that I bought before the price went through the roof. I recently purchased some FYI (For Your Inspiration) silver metal clay because it is touted as being the lowest priced of all silver metal clays currently available.

Metal Clay PMC+ versus FYI

Out of curiosity, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of the FYI, which has a shrinkage rate of approximately 20% and PMC+, which has a shrinkage rate of approximately 9%. Both clays were fired on the same shelf in a kiln for 2 hours at 1650 degrees. The fired Flower Disks are shown after firing prior to being tumbled, hand-finished, and patinaed. The PMC+ Flower Disk is shown at the left and the FYI Flower Disk is shown at the right. Prior to firing, both Flower Disks measured 17mm. After firing the PMC+ Flower Disk measures 13mm. The FYI Flower Disk has shrunk to 10.5mm. Given the high shrinkage factor compared to the PMC+, one would have to use more of the FYI clay to arrive at a finished piece that is the same size as one made with PMC+. Because of this, I don’t know that one really is saving a lot of money by using FYI. It is a good replacement for the discontinued Original PMC and for those who want to make smaller pieces with crisp imprint.  And like Original PMC, it cannot be torch-fired.  FYI does have wonderful texture and workability. My supply of PMC+ was definitely a bit drier, but having not worked with silver metal clay for the past few years, my packet was far from fresh so I can’t make a fair comparison in that arena. Both clays are great and I will continue to use each type depending on the end result I wish to achieve for a particular piece(s) of jewelry. Because I mainly work with sheet and wire silver, I save my metal clay for creating highly textured components and embellishments. Ultimately, it would be great if all silver metal clay prices were based on the market, falling and rising daily just as sheet and wire silver prices do!

~ by BarbaraBriggsDesigns on July 24, 2015.

15 Responses to “PMC+ versus FYI silver metal clays…”

  1. Great post Barbara. I totally agree with your summation. Not only should the prices fluctuate with the market but the metal clays should be sold per the post firing weight. Not the weight that includes the additional water and binder. Thanks for this.

  2. Thank you for that comparison. I have been sitting on the fence over the FYI clay and this has helped me decide.

  3. Thank you, very clear and informative.

    • I’ve had a lot of responses to this post…I think many are in a quandry as to which clay(s) to purchase as there seem to be more brands appearing on the market every few months. With the price of silver metal clay as exorbitant as it is, it’s a big decision for some.

  4. I have been comparing the FYI clay to Art Clay Silver and had the same impression. I was considering doing a test by weight, too, to see if it was my imagination. Thanks for posting the pictures. I always forget to take the pictures.

  5. Thanks for your review, Barbara. I’m sorry you didn’t mention the longer working time and greater flexibility that FYI Silver has while creating. Yes, you may have to use more ‘raw’ clay to achieve the same sized fired piece, but after a quick calculation, even if you had to use 25% more, which would never be the actual case, it still comes at better priced than PMC or Art Clay. So yes, folks are actually saving money using FYI Silver.

    When you add-in the additional 25% discount program I am offering for any Artist/Pro or Teacher, it makes things even more attractive to the end-user customer, and is filling up classes that had been mostly empty for years.

    I’d be interested in how you performed your strength tests, if you’d like to message me. Lastly, for anyone who has wondered, FYI has been successfully mixed with PMC to create the 960 clay that some artists like to create with. I’ve never had a strength issue myself, I work-harden all my pieces with a rawhide mallet and anvil, but it’s nice to know the choice is always there.

    • FYI does have wonderful texture and workability, which I should have mentioned in the review. FYI clay is very smooth and velvety. My supply of PMC+ was definitely a bit drier, but having not worked with silver metal clay for the past few years, my packet was far from fresh so I can’t make a fair comparison in that arena. Both clays are great and I will continue to use each type depending on the end result I wish to achieve for a particular piece(s) of jewelry.

  6. Great post! I’ve been wanting to try using clay but haven’t dove into it yet. Just found your blog and love it! ~Julie

  7. I am interested in knowing how to go about using FYI to make 960? What I would really like to be able to do is use FYI and automized copper powder with whatever is the preferred binder, as mentioned in a couple of postss
    Has anyone done that?

    • Wish I could help you,Eleanor, but I’ve never tried making 960 metal clay. You might ask Celie Fago…she works with 960 a lot!

      • Thanks, Barbara. It seems like it could be done and would be a help to those who want to spend less. I am new to this and maybe somebody else will take it on. All the best!

  8. I have been using FYI clay for over a year, combining it with Hadar’s Quick Fire copper powder for added strength, in the creation of leaf jewellery pieces. I do this because I prefer the “sterling” strength attributes although I’m sure used alone and work hardened, the fine silver would make very lovely pieces as experienced by Val. With the addition of distilled water, I turn the clay into slip/paste and “paint” numerous coats onto a textured leaf, fire in a kiln at 1000 F for 30 minutes for burn-off and a second firing at 1500 F for 30-60 minutes. My pieces have always come out beautiful. As the final size of the piece is not an issue, shrinkage does not play a factor. On top of a great product, Val has always been a pleasure to deal with and I quickly receive my shipment. I have recommended her FYI clay to others in my silversmithing club. I am not an expert by any means but have been very happy with the pieces I have been able to create. It is perfect for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: