Thursday, September 26, 2013

Favorite YouTube Channels

I’d thought I’d list a few of my favorite Glass fusing YouTube channels

Chewysmum – Wonderful tutorials.  Great information! Very soothing voice.  She makes me think “This is what Mr. Rogers wife must sound like”!

Here’s a sample:

GlassyEyedVideo – Some more great information.  I feel like I’m listening to my grandpa! The channel hasn’t been active recently.  I hope he makes some more.

Here’s a sample:

Then we also got videos from a couple of the big dogs on the block: Bullseye Glass Co and Delphi Glass.

Here’s a couple of samples:

Bullseye Glass

Delphi Glass

And then finally…dichroicglassman.  Now this guy is scary talented but he’s scary talented and also a salesman (a rare combination).  There’s some decent info in his videos yet at the same time they are helpfully unhelpful because  he’s trying to get you to buy his video tutorial series and gives you just enough info to tantalize (or piss you off).

Here’s a sample:


That’s all for now…

A sticky rant…

I’m being a curmudgeon tonight.  I’d heard all sorts of great things about E-6000 glue.  I’d heard that a bail glued on with this stuff is very difficult to get off.

So far I’m underwhelmed.

When I first tried gluing a bail on to a cabochon with it I waited almost 36 hours before trying it out.  I tugged on it a little bit and it seemed to hold pretty firmly.  Then I tried a dirty rotten trick; I tried twisting the bail off and it tore off fairly easily.  I had even roughed up both the cabochon and the bail and it still tore off without much effort.   OK, Granted what I was trying to do was functionally equivalent to buying a 20 dollar pocket calculator then dropping from 6 feet just to see what happens…but still I expected more given the claims I had heard.  Disappointed, I dug in and did more research and found that the glue I was using wasn’t “fresh” enough.  Numerous sites said that when you squeeze a dollop out you need to get the glue from the freshest part of the dollop.  In other words you can’t use the part of the glue that’s skinned over or has started to congeal.  If you do the bond will be DOA. The one thing I noticed while working with E-6000 is that it skins over almost immediately and when you starting poking around in it with a tooth pick to get the glue you introduce more air into the mix and end up with a third to a half of the dollop wasted because it’s congealed.  One gal on some forum had a technique where she held the tube of glue in one hand, got the cap off with one hand, quickly got some glue with a tooth pick, put the cap back on and then glued the bail on to the cabochon.  I don’t do her description justice but it sounded like she had the skill of a surgeon and the speed of Apollo Ohno.

Well I don’t.

I’m going to give two part Epoxy a shot.  I like the idea of being able to mix a small amount and have it be usable for half an hour or so.  I’m more likely to do neater work than having to rush to get the “freshest” part of the glue just for one or two cabochons and having to throw the rest of it away.  I’ll keep you posted on how things go. I’ll be doing another “twist” test.

A bigger plate…

Here’s the latest project…

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking; I’m too lazy to write tonight.


I weighed the center piece.  I wanted to make sure the volume of glass on the second layer matched the piece underneath.




Adding the borders.  They were 6mm tall and glued on with super glue.


The stuffin!


Sizing up how much I needed.




OK.  I really do question this decision to add the transparent Lilac.  I couldn’t fit in a couple of pieces of clear I had originally cut so I added the difference in weight using transparent Lilac glass. 


Here’s the fused blank.  Personally adding the Lilac makes the piece look like it has some kind of social disease (or something like that).  I don’t know…I get back to you with picks when I’ve slumped the darn thing


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flattening em out!

I had done a while bunch of cabs using a fiber blanket.  I was having problems with kiln wash sticking to the bottom of the cabs and I was tired of having to clean them off.  I remember reading  on a couple of blogs that “some people” like the texture the blankets lave on the backs of the cabochons.  Well after a few batches I decided that I’m not among “some people”.   Here’s what they looked like.


Pretty rough looking.  OK I picked two of the worst examples; not all of them were this rough.  I decided to try a fire polish to see if that would soften and flatten them out a bit.  Here’s the schedule I used.


400          1000           20
Full           1325          6
Full           960            45
100           800            0
200           700            0
400           250            0

Here are the results.


Not perfectly smooth but a big big improvement.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is it…?

Ok.  Picture time!
I just recently took a bunch of scraps and glued them together…Blog_Random1

fused them into bars…
chopped them into pieces then re-assembled…
and fused them together into random cabochons.
I picked out the ones I liked the to sell eventually.  The rest were ones that didn’t catch my eye or did not quite fuse completely.  I wasn’t quite sure about what I wanted to to with them but then I got and idea (which led to other ideas but I just take one at a time).  I had gotten this “Hipster” soap dish mold from Slumpy’s and thought that maybe I could somehow fuse these extra cabochons together to create a blank for the soap dish.  I would then have a Psychedelic Hipster soap dish…Ooooooo…cosmic!
Wow...I see unicorns.
Well this led to my next idea: maybe I could make something funky enough that I could submit it to our local artists' guild to be considered for display at one of their shows.  Hmmm…

So this is how I “glued” the cabochons together.

I first traced and out line of the mold an a plastic shopping bag.  I did this to make sure that I arranged the cabochons so that if I did decide to use the piece as a blank it would be big enough to cut down to the correct size for slumping.
I laid out the cabochons and filled the spaces in between with different colors of frit.

Now I needed to “glue” all this together using dilute elmers glue but before applying the glue with and eye dropper I used a trick from my model railroading days. I lightly misted the frit with a spray bottle filled with water and one drop of dishwashing detergent. What the detergent does is break up the surface tension so that the glue won’t bead up on top of the frit. the detergent makes the glue soak right in.
I let the whole monstrosity dry over night before peeling it off the bag.  I then turned it upside down to the the side that was attached to the bag finish drying. One it was dry I put it in the kiln and covered it with a layer of clear frit to seal it and give it more volume.  I then gave it a border of lavender frit.
Here’s the finished product (such as it is)

I got mixed feelings about this. Soap dish blank or art piece?

Hmmm…well…is it?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How much is enough…

…kiln wash?   I had been doing some research on came across a post that said they mixed the wash to the consistency of heavy cream.  I decided to ignore the directions on the bag of wash that came with the kiln (hey I’m a guy…what do you expect) and mixed up a brew that was twice as thick for my kiln shelf.  After the first firing the wash on some parts of the shelf cracked and peeled up.  On other parts it stayed intact for several firings which resulted in a smooth back for the few cabochons I created.  But alas realized that I had crossed the the kiln wash gods and decided nest time to follow the directions and mix to a 5:1 ratio.  The results were kind of a drag.
Yeah the cabs I created had a smooth back but all of them had kiln wash stuck on the backs of them and I had to clean the shelf off and re-coat.  Not being satisfied with that solution I started to use some thick kiln paper(2mm) I had gotten to see how that worked.  I one sense it worked great because I didn’t have to replace it with each firing.  The downside is that it embossed its own pattern on all the glass I fused. After a few firings I got frustrated again and started to so more research and found there’s really not a consistent answer.  A bunch of people said follow the directions and mix to a 5:1 ratio. Others mixed to a consistency of skim milk, light cream and one enterprising gentlemen mixed it to a consistency where he could use a drywall spatula to apply it.  Check it out.

Now that’s Kiln wash well applying!
By this time I was totally confused.  What’s a poor fuser to do?  Well this is what I decided to do and it seems to be working so far.
For slump molds I follow the directions and use wash mixed to a 5:1 ratio.  For the kiln shelves I use a thicker mix (light cream) and then bake it in my oven at 500 degrees for about 30 minutes.  That seems to provide a good smooth surface that lasts about 3-4 firings.  I addition I got a second shelf so I can have one prepped and ready for when the other shelf gets worn out.

A successful failure…

I had gotten a bunch of Iridescent glass off of eBay and I wanted to do a plate with it.  I came up with a pattern where different colors of Irid were separated by strips of read flat 2 mm stringer.  Two pools of red glass were included in the design. Here is the piece pre-firing.
I was pleased with the design but for some reason I kept hearing Han Solo say in the back of my mind “I have a bad feeling about this Luke”. 

It turns about after firing the piece my misgivings were correct.  Though I don’t consider it a total loss (the Iridescent looks way cool)  the stringer mesh I laid out didn’t turnout quite right.
The problem here is that as the Irid layer was fusing it moved slightly as the pieces settled causing the stringer to shift and in some areas distort. This should have been done with two fuses.  The first would fuse the Irid layer to create a blank with a flat stable surface and the second would fuse the stringer on to the piece.  I suspect the results would have been much better. 

First Fruits

OK.  After about 1 month with my kiln here’s a few pictures of my wares.  On another note you may be wondering why all my blog posts have been posted today (if you’ve been observant).  I’ve been dragging my feet about starting a blog for the past few weeks so I’m slamming out all my posts at once.  On to the Pics!
IMG_1507 IMG_1508 IMG_1509  IMG_1512 IMG_1511  IMG_1515


Yeah, that’s right. I said 32. Not my age though (bummer). I had a kiln on order (Fusion 16) and needed to find a spot to put up shop.  I wanted to setup my work area near a basement window but since a good part of my basement is dominated by a model railroad my options were limited.

There’s a window here here but I just didn’t have the heart to tear out something that I may re-visit in the future.

I finally settled on a spot nestled between some shelves underneath the stairwell and…you guessed it…the available space works out to be 32 square feet.

Here’s some pictures of what I did.
Blog_Space1 Blog_Space2 Blog_Spacee3Blog_Spacee4 Blog_Spacee5

The kiln area is (a 3 X 4 foot area) is sheathed with Durock with the area closest to the kiln covered with a double layer.  The alcove is partially closed off with floor mats to contain the heat and vented with two air vents: one at the top to pull the heat out and the other to pull cool air in and circulate it around the base of the kiln.  The setup works pretty good. 
Solomon was wrong; there is something new under the sun.  First there was square foot gardening, now there’s square foot fusing.
Have a nice day!

Welcome to my Lair

So why am I doing this? This is probably the fourth or fifth attempt at writing a blog over the past 10 years or so. All the rest have been smothered in a fog of “Gee I don’t know what to talk about now” or else I started to feel like I was back in school writing a report; every word needed to be weighed and agonized over. What a drag. Anyway…
This is my glass fusing blog. So how did I stumble upon this new and wonderful hobby? My wife can take the hit for that. About three months or so ago she was “smitten” with art (she minored in it in college) and started getting into making necklaces and painting. While she was perusing a local craft store she spotted the Fuseworks microwave kiln kit and was intrigued by it. She floated the idea of getting one and so I got one from Amazon.
I had dabbled in artsy fartsy stuff over the years and have been an avid Model Railroader for the past 15 years or so with a fairly popular (within the niche) YouTube Channel. For whatever reason (probably mid life BS) I was burning out on model railroading and had been trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. From the moment the first piece came out of the kiln I had an “Oh baby where have you been all my life” moment of epiphany and it’s been all downhill since. Within about 4 weeks I had a corner of my basement remodeled into a kiln room/glass studio and haven’t looked back since.
My ultimate goal is to build up a small cottage business selling fused wares with the goal that by the time I’m ready to retire I’ll have it built up enough that I can avoid being a door greeter at Wal-Mart for the final third of my existence. Of course, with any business start-up, we’ll see how that goes. But in the meantime welcome to my corner of the glass fusing universe.

[Update 09/26/2013] Well...this isn't going to be exclusively my blog.  Marica (my wife) will post from time to time with what she's doing with painting and beading.