Firing small enamels with a torch

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Mike S

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Aug 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM8/30/00
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My old kiln has been relegated to wax burnouts for castings -- I
have been firing all my jewelry size enamels with a torch.
It seems to give more control over just how completely
the glass fuses to the metal base. I fire from below a soldering
tripod, with a can placed over the piece resting on the screen. The
can has a view window cut out and acts as a tiny furnace. (Got the
trick from an old Untracht book on enameling.)

Does anyone else have experience with torch firing small enamels?
Tricks, tips, warnings?

Cheers,
Mike S.
Site: http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/
(Look under New Work page for pics of enamels.)

Mike Firth

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Aug 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM8/30/00
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While there is some overlap, the enamels being glass and torch glass
workers being here, what I think you need to hit is a jewelry group or
other copper enameling activity. Our base material (glass) would not
survive the method you describe.

--

Mike Firth
Hot Glass Bits newsletter and furnace glass information web site
http://users.ticnet.com/mikefirth/start.htm
ongoing suggestions about welding and sheetmetal for glassworkers

Bert Weiss

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Aug 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM8/30/00
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Mike

You are off base here.

I have taken a class in metal enameling and it is a process of melting glass
frit onto a metal base. The frit has to be compatible with the base metal.
Thompson makes many lines of enamel frit, some of which fit glass, others
fit the various metals. The difference between firing on a glass base and a
metal base is the time you must spend annealing the base glass. A metal
enamel firing can be done in 15 minutes, allowing the artist to apply many
layers to a piece in a relatively short time. The glass layer is relatively
thin. I don't see why a torch wouldn't be able to accomplish this task.
It is not that far off of bead making or glass enameling.

Bert

Bert Weiss Art Glass
http://www.customartglass.com
Furniture Sculpture Lighting Tableware
Architectural Commissions

Michele Blank

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Aug 30, 2000, 11:42:06 PM8/30/00
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This sounds like a whole new opportunity for experimentation to me. I was
doing copper enameling in the 70 s and have often wished I kept that
antique(even then ) kiln. This may be a way to play with a new/old toy.
michele

Mike S

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Aug 31, 2000, 9:58:12 AM8/31/00
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Both Von Neumann (The Design and Creation of Jewelry) and Oppi
Untracht (A book on enameling circa 1950, exact title escapes me)
recommend torch firing of jewelry size objects. The Untracht book
recommends placing a tin can over the object as it is fired from
below. (The can has a view window cut out.) This creates a small
furnace. Torch firing works fine without the furnace, though, and
you can see better.

The Untracht book even has an example of a huge enamel -- too
large to get into a kiln, that was fired from below by a large
blowtorch.

The Untracht book being 50 years old, and the VonNeumann 20 in its
newest edition, I was hoping that newer information on this might be
avialablle somewhere.

Thanks to all for your replies.

Cheers
Mike S.
http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/

Glenn Woolum

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Aug 31, 2000, 6:08:08 PM8/31/00
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I have to agree with Bert. I'm definitely interested in the glass enamels
being applied to metal. I think it has relevance to our group. Mike S. might
find more help on a jewelry forum, true, but overlap isn't a bad thing. I
like to keep an open mind, and I like to keep learning more.

--

Regards,
Glenn Woolum

"Bert Weiss" <be...@customartglass.com> wrote in message
news:B5D33CC6.7EE1%be...@customartglass.com...

Mike Firth

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Sep 1, 2000, 10:34:42 PM9/1/00
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Ok, lets start with a blank of glass strong enough to withstand the further
activities of mounting, wearing, etc. 1/8th inch thick? Bring it to heat
(along with others) in the annealling kiln to holding temp. (anybody willing to
carefully bring it to temp with a torch? Why? when an annealler has to be
sitting there waiting?)
Transfer it to a screen (or ceramic) support and work to keep it in the range
between where the base glass sags and the enamel melts (which doesn't happen
with the copper, because it melts at over 1800F, far above the enamel temps.)
When done, pick it off with a spatula and put it back in the annealer.
Possible? Sure. A lot harder because of the limited range the glasses? Yup.

--

Mike Firth
Hot Glass Bits newsletter and furnace glass information web site
http://users.ticnet.com/mikefirth/start.htm
ongoing suggestions about welding and sheetmetal for glassworkers

Mike Firth

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Sep 1, 2000, 10:38:48 PM9/1/00
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I am unclear, are these books talking about copper (or silver) enameling with
a torch, or are they referring to enameling on glass? I would think the
former. I grew up with copper enamelling going on in the house, my mother did
it.

--

Mike Firth
Hot Glass Bits newsletter and furnace glass information web site
http://users.ticnet.com/mikefirth/start.htm
ongoing suggestions about welding and sheet metal for glassworkers

Mike S

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Sep 2, 2000, 9:11:49 AM9/2/00
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On Fri, 01 Sep 2000 21:38:48 -0500, Mike Firth <mike...@ticnet.com>
wrote:

> I am unclear, are these books talking about copper (or silver) enameling with
>a torch, or are they referring to enameling on glass? I would think the
>former.

Right, we're talking about glass brazed to copper, fine silver,
depletioned sterling, or fine gold. The metal seems to quickly
distribute the heat across the entire object. I would imagine, as
Mike Firth warns, that trying this on a glass backing would result in
a melted mess, but all these metals have a higher melting point than
even lead free enamels. A warning, though: use only hard or IT silver
solder on the piece before enameling. Softer solders could collapse.

Cheers,
Mike S.
http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/

Mike S

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Sep 2, 2000, 9:34:13 AM9/2/00
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On Fri, 1 Sep 2000 13:47:47 -0400, "Hale Sweeny"
<ha...@mindspring.com> wrote:


>
>Get a Thompson catalog if you are interested; their e-mail address is
>in...@ThompsonEnamel.com. It is chock full of info on enameling. Tell them
>Hale Sweeny sent you (I get nothing out of it, I just know and like the
>people who take their orders). And if I can help anyone with enameling,
>just write!

Thanks for that information. I have been getting mine from TSI.

I've posted a verrrrrry rough drawing at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/furnace.bmp

That should show how to cut the windows. A larger can
can be substituted for the tripod, as shown.
Either way works. The window is cut from the bottom,
as shown. Arrange
a light to shine into the window so you can see
what's happening with the firing, since the torch
creates some glare.

I use the smallest can that will fit over the piece.

A big soft flame seems to work best. Air acetylene
is a good choice. Compressed air-LP would probably
also work well. I've actually had some success with
even an O/A torch, though. With any torch, as the
enamel gets toward red heat, begin to heat in short
bursts, followed by withdrawing the torch for a few
moments. This will prevent overheating, especially
with hotter torches.

If the flame directly touches the front, you get
discolorations rather like lustres, so unless you
want these on purpose, don't move the flame over
the front of the piece. (This dosn't matter, naturally,
on the counter-enamel on the back (bottom) of the piece.)
Bright yellows seem to be particularly susceptible to this.
As long as the flame is kept below the piece, I've noticed
no discolorations on the front.

Hope this helps,
Mike S.
http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/

Bert Weiss

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Sep 2, 2000, 9:39:32 AM9/2/00
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Mike

Enameled glass is used for windows and tableware etc. Enameled metal is
used for jewelry and ashtrays etc. Nobody has suggested that a large window
be torched worked. The frit used for both activities looks and is applied
identically. The difference is in the expansion of the melted frit.

Torches are used in lampworking glass, torches are used in enameling metal.
Kilns can be used for both also.

Loosen up Mike there are people on this group who are interested in the
ability to expand their use of tools they regularly work with. Many of the
tools and materials I use are adapted from other disciplines. Glass on
metal is still glass.

Mike S

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Sep 2, 2000, 10:43:37 AM9/2/00
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>
>I've posted a verrrrrry rough drawing at:
>http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/furnace.bmp
>
Correction!
Not .bmp but .jpg
http://home.earthlink.net/~stevens4000/furnace.jpg


That .bmp image won't display on most brousers.

Sorry for the confusion.

Mike Firth

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Sep 2, 2000, 11:10:05 PM9/2/00
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Sure, Bert, I'll loosen up, just after people get clear enough about what they are
saying,
as it talking about large pieces heating with torches many years ago.
And as you say, "Enameled glass is used for windows and tableware etc. Enameled
metal is
used for jewelry and ashtrays etc." The catch being that virtually always, when
enamel is used on windows and tableware, it is treated like paint and the glass is
carefully heated to "set" (melt) the enamel and then is annealled. The "paint" on
a glass Coke bottle is enamel and will survive fusing temps. It is not put on with
a torch. Most of the effects of copper enameling are achieved/duplicated with
glass by using a kiln and the techniques of fusing and sagging.
And just to prove that I am aware of choices, I have watched people use a torch
to "draw" on blown glass with a stringer of color, the blown glass on the punty
being returned to the glory hole every minute or two. I have seen people "pick"
frit onto the surface of pieces and work it with a torch and glory hole to get just
the texture they want.
But no matter how you say it, enamel on copper (or silver) is so far from the
glass experience that people who are interested will do far better to go get advice
from people who have done 5,000 copper pieces than people who haven't.

--

Mike Firth
Hot Glass Bits newsletter and furnace glass information web site
http://users.ticnet.com/mikefirth/start.htm

49...@my-deja.com

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Sep 12, 2000, 10:56:34 AM9/12/00
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In article <39b1108...@news.earthlink.net>,

I wonder if it would be possible to build a little kiln
with refractory material on top of a ring stand, or
just a tiny kiln that could be fired with a hand torch
for these small enamels? What would the best
design be?

49lot

>


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