Re: Help wanted: how to soften hard oil clay?
I use Chavant Proffesional Plasticine, NSP and have used La Beau Touche (But it is too sticky for my taste).
Here is what I have been doing lately (Depending on how old the clay is).
First, I take my 10 lb block (or 2 lbs if that is what I find) and place it under heat lamps. I regulate the heat by changing the distance of the lamps.
The lamps will warm up the surface, and I use a knife or spatula to cut the warm sections away. I still need to knead the clay a few times to get it pliable, but it is much easier when it is a little warm.
I will place a piece of wood on the floor (Plywood) and throw the clay a few times on the floor. This really works well. If the clay is old and stiff (Which I have many times) I will add a little petroleum jelly (or baby oil) and fold it a few times before throwing it.
If the clay is too hard to handle I will warm it up a bit, add (or not) petroleum jelly (a tiny amount) and then use a 3 lb sledge hammer to get rid of some of my pent up aggression on the clay... Works very well.
I also place clay in the microwave, but I am not too careful and tend to overheat the stuff. Then it smells, but it gets very soft (I still have to use the sledge hammer to mix it up).
The heat lamp has worked very well, because it warms up new layers as I use the ones I removed and keeps some clay ready for me all the time.
Hope this helps.