There are basically 4 ways to join separate elements.
1. Water. Two dry components can be bonded together using water and a little movement. Put a dot of water each element where they will touch and let the water soak in. Repeat on just one side and ‘squidge’ or press the two pieces together, moving them back and forth until they stick naturally.
2. Slip. There is a higher water content in slip than in any other metal clay product. When the water evaporates very little metal content is left, which means that the repair shrinks and usually needs to be repeated, often multiple times. Slip is a good repair material for tiny dimples or voids in a design.
1. Syringe. Syringe clay has less water than slip and the contents under pressure can be forced into deep crevices. The softer consistency may also be better for reinforcing delicate items.
2. Clay. Whether slightly watered down into a thick paste, or left in it’s original lump consistency, clay has more metal in it per gram than either slip or syringe and is the best material to use whenever it is possible. Clay can be spackled into place with a small rubber tipped tool, or used to join one element to another with the addition of a little water.
When joining separate elements like a bail and pendant, or ring and decorative topper – a ‘butt’ joint isn’t as stable as it needs to be. After the join is dry, use mounds of syringe or paste-y lump clay to create a crescent shaped ‘meniscus’ at the base. Think of an architectural bracket or corbel that strengthens a join between a shelf, ceiling, or roof, and the wall.