Chavants Oil-based clays or plasticines are made from various combinations of oils, waxes, and clay minerals. Because the oils do not evaporate like water, oil-based clays remain malleable even when left in dry environments for long periods. Articles made from oil-based clays cannot be fired.
Oil-based clays are also suitable for the creation of detailed sculptures from which molds can be made. Castings and reproductions can then be produced from much more durable materials. Cars and airplanes may be created using industrial design-grade modelling clay.
The finished clay model will have some sort of reproduction mold (rubber, plaster, fiberglass) taken from the clay's surface. Once the mold is made, a permanent material can be cast out of the mold or the lost wax process can begin to create a bronze. Completed projects that begin as clay models can range from Heroic size bronzes to full size automotive designs, from graphic props to moving monsters and from jewelry design to children's toys.
Various clay projects may require specific characteristics that are often difficult to define. Client's requirements will occasionally vary from project to project but most importantly a clay body will usually be chosen based on the personal preference of the worker. Questions or alternative characteristics that all sculptors will consider when selecting a clay body may include:
- Simply, what feels right
- what works in a certain climate
- what is best for making molds
- what sticks best to an armature material
- what clay doesn't smell
- what holds technical detail
- what works best for a loose style
- is the clay hard or soft enough?
Le Beau Touché and Le Beau Touché HM: can be heated to a semi molten state, to brush or trowel, at
approximately 185-210 oF, however it will not reach a viscosity suitable to pour.
NSP: can be brushed at 180 oF and poured at 185 oF. When cooled, the clay tends to feel harder than the original
but can be kneaded back to a firmness and consistency similar to the original clay. Repeated cycle of melting and
cooling will eventually cause irreversible hardening.
Y2 Klay: can be brushed at 180 oF. Flow improves with higher temperature and can be poured at around 195-210
oF; the higher the temperature, the better the flow. However, after the clay cools, the hardness is proportional to
the melt temperature. The increase in hardness is irreversible.
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