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PMC Questions

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  • PMC Questions

    I'm a dabbler crafter - some woodwork, some carving, turning, etc etc. Now I'm thinking of making some jewellery and have come across PMC - sounds great to me but just a couple of questions to start with.
    - Can the scraps of PMC be ground up or mixed with water or some other liquid to make slip?
    - What about hallmarking? I understood that all silver items over 6 or 7 grammes sold as silver have to be hallmarked. I have looked at the Assay office website and see that it costs a fair bit to set up a hallmark.
    -Soldering - I have one of those butane cooks blowlamps for making creme brulee - I'm sure I can use it to fire PMC, or I can use the gas stove - but can I use the blowlamp for soldering silver?

    Thanks for your help - I'm really looking forward to trying the stuff.

  • #2
    Hello Woody

    I have been reading up on PMC it looks like interesting stuff and easy to use.

    Am not sure about some of your questions but I have read that you can use a torch or a gas cooker to fire it.

    I was recommended a book that is very good for beginners I will post it when I get home cant rem the author off hand.

    Am sure someone who knows much more about PMC will be along soon to answer some of your questions.



    • #3
      Hi Woody
      I do PMC stuff - you can some on the links in my signature if you want. I am doing my second level certificate this Sunday/Monday/Tuesday in Amersham with the PMC Studio, and then I will be able to teach it which I am really looking forward to (so if you are in the Leeds area........)

      To answer your questions:

      Yes, the little bits left over can be used to make slip. Just put them in a small container with a lid, add a little water, and mix. Only use this for slip though, not as paste for doing seedpods etc as you need good unlumpy paste for that.

      If you are selling, then strictly speaking anything over 7.7g of silver must be hallmarked or you mustn't describe it as silver. However, by attending a workshop at the PMC Studio, you can qualify as a part time student through them, and get registered for hallmarking at half price. Costs around £60 instead of £120. PMC is classed as 'fine silver' and is 99% pure, where sterling is only 92.5% I think.

      Personally I would be cautious about using a creme brulee torch for firing PMC. You have to be able to hold the torch at a specific temperature for 2 minutes after it reaches a certain stage, and I am not sure one of those torches could do that (happy to be corrected if I am wrong on that). I bought myself a small Paragon SC2 kiln, as I also play with small bits of fused and dichroic glass, so do all my stuff in there. Again, the PMC Studio have proper torches that are guaranteed to work OK providing you follow the guidelines. there are other methods of firing that I have seen - weird and wonderful looking contraptions - but have never seen them for real, only in adverts, so can't offer any opinion on those.

      Hope that answers your questions - happy to talk about it for hours, so feel free to ask more.....


      • #4
        Hi Julz, Hi Mary
        Many thanks for the prompt replies.
        Looks like I'll need to take a course if only to get a cheap hallmark set up - I do want to sell items eventually. I want to make items of dark exotic wood and/or vegetable ivory (tagua nut) combined with silver.
        I am in favour of doing courses generally, but there is so much cost involved with starting a new hobby like this one that it is a bit daunting.
        I can presumably use my gas hob to fire items rather than the torch. No way I can afford a kiln at present. And why are they so expensive? Over £500 for a small kiln which doesn't do a lot really!

        I might have a load more questions once I actually get round to buying some PMC and trying it out. Got a couple of books coming first to read up on it. Just waiting on delivery.


        • #5
          Hi Woody,

          Pm me...I know of a cheap kiln going..rather large but....

          I have fired mine in the past though with a good torch....just make sure you keep the glow going for at least 2 mins 3-4 on thicker items.

          Good luck with it and have fun

          Contemporary glass fusion designs - sculptures - wall panels - functional items - outdoor sculptures. We also run Silver & Glass workshops here in Cheshire - kiln space also offered.


          • #6
            Hello Woody
            I got my book and have read it cover to cover. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about PMC.

            It is called working with precious metal clay by Tim McCreight. Very easy to understand instructions and descriptions.