Sunday, December 29, 2013

OK…I get it now

Up until now I’ve been content to use Armor Etch to handle devitrification.  Quite frankly my attitude has been “Sandblaster?  Don’t need no stinkin sandblaster!”.

Well I guess junior here has met his match…


I must have poured a quarter of the bottle on this thing.


Blogger Labels: devitrification,Armor Etch,Etch,Sandblaster

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pot Melt Loco Crazy

I’m finding that pot melts addicting.  Here’s some picks of what I’ve recently been doing.











And there was much rejoicing…

Blogger Labels: plate,slump,glass art,Pot Melt,Melt

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An experiment in depth

I got an idea for a piece I want to do but wanted to do a proof of concept/prototype first and experiment with depth.  

Here are my doodling's so far.

I started out with a piece of Bullseye 2mm translucent and covered it with frit and confetti.  The confetti is covered with clear frit.  I then contour fused it.


Here is the result.  I flipped it over so that the frit I had fused is now on the bottom.


No I had thought I had taken more pictures of some of the subsequent layers I added but I guessed I spaced it.  I added two more layers using clear frit, confetti and some mica powder just to see how it would look doing a contour fuse for each additional layer.

The results are, well, experimental.


I could have done without the mica inclusions plus I sprinkled a little bit of translucent orange just to see how that would look.  I could have done without that as well.  The illusion of depth worked looks pretty decent with the sun and the mountains/hills.  It’s kind of hard to tell from the picture though.


I’ve got a couple of more layers to add.  It’s been really helpful to create a mini picture to figure out what will work best.  Final results will be posted (when I get around to finishing this).

Blogger Labels: depth,piece,prototype,Bullseye,pictures,layer,inclusions,mountains,hills,frit,confetti,mica

Resurrecting a failed pot melt

All right.  Maybe this is wishful thinking. It was the last melt I did in My Slumpy’s 8 inch mini melt bowl before it cracked. The melt suffered from using the same bowl to melt too many colors. 
Behold the melt of doom.
It’s been sitting around for the past few weeks looking at me, mocking me, laughing scornfully (I really need to talk to the doctor about my meds… Winking smile).  I haven’t had the heart to either throw it out or to try chopping it up to see if I could make some use of it in another melt.
I’ve been giving it a second look lately.  Some parts of it look semi-sort of-possibly-decent so just maybe, maybe I could doctor it up so that it could look slightly better than half assedly decent. Maybe it could be transformed form a “piece of work” to a “piece of work of art”.
Here are my thoughts…
Hmm…I dunno. A full fuse will reveal my folly. Anyway this is going to have to wait until after the holidays.   I’m busy making presents (and yes I know I’m waaaaay behind schedule).
Blogger Labels: fail,pot melt,Slumpy,bowl

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Port melt borders

I was smitten, yeah smitten, with inspiration and remorse…
I’ve been happily experimenting with pot melts for the past few weeks or so coming out with some pretty cool stuff.  The problem was I had no clue what sort of border to add to them.  I realize you don’t have to add a border to a melt; putting them in a display can be good enough.  But I wanted to make blanks that were big enough to make decent sized decorative bowls and the belts I had weren't quite big enough  I wanted them to be 10 inches in diameter.  I scoured the interwebs to see what other people were doing.  Some took their melts and did a full fuse on to circular piece of white (or clear) glass, others incorporated the border by lining the bottom of their ring forms with glass and then melting on top of it and others sandwiched the melt between two pieces of glass to add a border and to cap it.
I wasn’t quite satisfied with any of those solutions.  Not that they’re bad ideas I just thought a plain white or clear border just seemed a bit bland.  Well the answer was in the bin at my feet.  I have over 50 pounds of scrap glass I got from Ebay from a glass blowing shop in TX. There’s tons of different colors and patterns in there and it would give a nice mosaic border. 
Here’s my first attempt. I centered the melt and then added the scrap around it.  I actually had to do this one twice because I didn’t have enough scrap in there and ended up with a border with a really ragged edge.  It took more scap than I thought.
Here is the piece after grinding and a fire polish.  Not too shabby.
Here’s a close up of the border.
An now for another melt.  this next one was small so I had more fill in.  I incorporated a failed bowl slump that suffered a painful thermal shock death. At the time I had thought it would be sage to sneak a quick peek when the kiln was at about 300 degrees.  Twas a bad idea.
Here it is.
Here it is after a grind and fire polish.
This next one is currently in the cooking in the kiln.
Blogger Labels: border,glass,Ebay,mosaic,bowl,kiln

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A few more melts plus a spiral…Sort of

Here are some more melts that have come out of the kiln.  Some of them came out better than others.

I made a five hole saucer and decided to try using more pastel colors.


Here’s the first attempt.  There was a bit too much clear and not enough lavender and light blue.


I tried again with more color and less clear glass.  The results are much better


Here’s another melt with the 4 hole saucer also with more color added.



I got a bit crazy with this next melt.  I made a spiral design with 10 holes in the saucer.



It didn’t come out quite like I had hoped.    It’s cool in way but not without problems.  First you can’t really see any spiral pattern.  I’m thinking I should have used more colors and this particular might have worked better it it wasn’t constrained by a ring.  Second, I had some rather large pieces of scrap glass that I decided to smash up a bit in a frit maker.  Unfortunately the melt ended up with a lot of bubbles.   I’m hoping taking this beast to a full fuse (lets say 1500 degrees for 45 minutes) should flatten the piece out and also get rid of the bubbles.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Back in the saddle…Again

I tried.  I really tried to keep away from it.  When I got into glass fusing I swore up and down that I would not do Youtube videos.  I have another Youtube Channel called Thebige61’s Model Railroad Video Blog with over 450 videos of me rambling and working on my layout.  I kinda got burnt out doing that and was able to resist for a time the siren call of a glass fusing video blog.

Well that didn’t last long. 

The format is the same as my model railroad channel.  There’s no scripts;  I just work on projects and ramble. For that reason I wouldn’t call what I’m doing “tutorials”  but people seem to get something out of them.

So there!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Full Week…

It’s been interesting.  A mix of good (and bad).  My mom suffered a TIA (It could have been worse), we hosted two Syrian nuns at our house (They’re peace activists working the lecture circuit), my brother-in-law was in town (he took us out to eat two nights in a row) and my dog ended up at the vets with severe pain (it turned out to be compressed disks in the spine).  She’s doing fine; heavily medicated with visions of the Cheshire Beagle.


Anyway…back to fusing!

I’ve been using a Slumpy’s 8 inch mini melt and have been abusing it as part of my learning process.  I’ve done about as many things wrong as I have done right but now I think the bowl is toast after about a half dozen melts.


Yup.  It’s cracked and ready to assume room temperature permanently.  The mini melt system is a great way to get into pot melts but it is kind of a one trick pony; there’s only one bowl made for it and it has only one hole.  I spent some time to consider my options on what to do next. 

If I went with ready a ready made pot melt system I’d potentially end up paying through the nose to get multiple bowls. Technically you should the same (or similar) colors for each bowl that you use otherwise your melts will end up muddy to black (like my last two did before the Mini melt bowl gave up its’ ghost). In addition I have a small kiln (Paragon Fusion 16 with a 6.5 inch max height) so my options on ready made melt systems are a bit more limited.  Delphi Glass looks like they have a pretty nice melt system that will fit into a shallow a kiln but then again I’m running into the cost of multiple bowls.

Now terra cotta pots would be a bit cheaper but the issue there is that I would have to chop off at least half of the pot in order to get it to fit into my kiln. I’d be paying extra and then throwing a good part of it away.

I needed a good compromise and I think I’ve found it.

I decided to try using 8 inch terra cotta saucers in conjunction with my still functional Slumpys 8 inch casting ring. 




Here is the result after a full fuse to get rid of the pig tails and thin the melt out.  It ended up being 8.5 inches in diameter after a full fuse.


Not to shabby. This is the 2nd melt I’ve done in this saucer and it seems to be holding up well so far.

Here is my next act.


Now these saucers only set me back 2.50 at Home Depot.  A regular flower pot would set me back 6 – 10 dollars because I would have to get a slightly bigger one and then cut the top two thirds of it off to get it to fit into my Kiln.  Ready made pots would set me back 12 – 20 bucks a piece.  If I can get these to last a half a dozen firings or more then these saucers are great deal.

But what’s the catch?

  • The first melt will suck up about 16 ounces of extra glass that will coat the bottom of saucer. With subsequent melts it’s all gravy.
  • You’re kind of limited on the total volume of glass you can safely put in there without the glass spilling over the sides of the saucer.  I’ve calculated you can safely put in enough glass for a 10 inch melt (maybe 11 inch if you push it)

But those are compromises I’m willing to accept for now.


Blogger Labels: Saucer,Mini Melt,Slumpys,Terra Cotta,Fusion,Glass

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Pot Melt Postmortem

OK.  The title’s a bit over dramatic but this has been good learning experience.  In my last pot melt post I mentioned that I was going to add a white border to the melt to make a blank for a plate. 

Well here’s how things went down.

I used a 10 inch stainless steel ring to contain the border.



I used Uroboros COE 96 opal white coarse frit.


Here’s the melt with the frit poured in.  I used a pot melt calculator to figure out how much frit I would need.  If you look closely you can seed the edges of the melt are a bit ragged.  I did some grinding but I made the assumption that the full fuse would, well, kind of fix everything.


Well, not really.

The white filled in where there were nicks along the edges.  In addition the melt is slightly off center.  I was able to fix some of that through grinding but the melt still isn’t quite where it ought to be.  I figure I should have taken the melt to a full fuse in order to smooth out the edges of the melt.  The reason why I didn’t do a full fuse is that there was no pig tail to remove so I figured that was a step I could skip. I think if I had taken the melt to full fuse the edge would be a smoother.  I think also I’ll use fine frit to make the border.  Another way I’ve heard of doing a border is to set the melt on a 3mm circle of white and doing a full fuse.  That’s something I’ll have to try for a future melt.


Another downer is that it looks like a piece of kiln led fell off during the fuse and into the glass.  I’m kind of kicking myself now but I’m thinking I could have taken and awl or a finishing nail, dug the fragment out, fill the void with frit and fused it again.


Here’s the slumping mold I used.


And here’s the final result.




So my goals for the next plate I make are:

  • Clean up the ragged boundary between the melt and the border
  • Spend more time making sure the melt is centered
  • Spend some time inspecting the kiln lid for loose fragments of fire brick.

I looking forward to doing the next plate.  I did a full fuse on a melt I did earlier to get rid of the pig tail and (of course) the edges of the melt are much smoother.  


On another note it seems to me that COE 96 glass plays a lot nicer (at least in pot melts) than COE 90.  For example this melt was close to 8mm thick and did not seem to have any problems spreading out to 6mm after a 20 minute fuse.  My first pot melt was done using COE 90 and I could never get it to spread out to 6mm. It’s possible that I didn’t have the kiln hot enough.


Blogger Labels: Pot Melt,Uroboros,fire brick,frit