Thursday, October 31, 2013

Well, there it is…

…stuffed and mounted.


I started this beastie almost a month ago for the Lincoln Artists Guild November show.  After the final fire polish it languished for a couple of weeks in my glass rack: I couldn’t decide how to mount the stupid thing.  I finally caved under pressure (the entry deadline was coming up) and tack fused it to a piece of 3mm black. I was fortunate to find a website that sold 10 X 10 frames.  The frame’s a wee bit on the thin side but it will do.

There it is…now if I could just get rid of the fingerprints.

Blogger Labels: Tack Fuse,Frame,Show,Artists Guild,glass

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Glue: My final thoughts at least for now

The last time I talked about glue I mentioned I was going to explore two part epoxy.  Well I’ve been to the mountain so to speak.

I’ve tried this.


Bzzzt! was able to pop the bails right off with very little force.

I tried this based on a review in an article I read.


Same old same old here; the bails popped right off.

So I finally relented and tried E-6000 again.  This time I applied it the way other websites and forum posts recommended.

  • I used only fresh glue.  I avoided glue that had skinned over or started to become gelatinous (which means discarding at least a quarter to one third of the glue I dispensed) .
  • I let the glued pieces set undisturbed for at least 48 (if not 72) hours.
  • I made sure that the bail and the cabochon where “Roughed up” (which is pretty much standard procedure for any type of metal to glass bond)

If indulge E-6000 with all this fussiness (good grief I’m anthropomorphizing a glue) then I get a bond that is much stronger and two part epoxy.  It’s still not “impossible” to tear the bail off but I definitely need to use more force.

This pisses me off.  I wanted the epoxy to work because it allows me a longer working life so there is little to no waste.  It also (due to surface tension and it’s more fluid state) creates neater slope if it oozes from underneath the bail.  Finally I don’t have to let the glued pieces sit for three days. Grrrrr.  I’ll still experiment with the epoxy.  Perhaps I didn’t have the correct proportions or didn’t mix it well enough.

Oh well.

Blogger Labels: Glue,bail,glass,epoxy

2nd Pot Melt: Ok, we’re getting there.

As I mentioned in a previous post I got some scrap blown glass off of e-bay for Pot melts.  My ignorance about scrap blown glass reared it’s head pretty quickly.


Even though it looks like there’s a fair amount of color in here the colored part of the blown glass is only about  1/32nd of an inch thick (or slightly less than a millimeter).  The ratio is about 1/4 to 3/8ths of an inch clear to 1/32nd of and inch color. So for those of you who may be thinking about buying scrap blown glass you are essentially buying a box for of clear glass. Now there were some solid colored translucent pieces (green and blue) that I can use and there were also a bunch of these kinds of goodies.


I’m going to cut and grind these down to saner sizes and fuse them.  These could look real nice as pendants.

Now on to the pot.  Again it was a learning experience with different problems.  I used a Slumpy’s 8 inch mini melt this time and used a pot melt calculator to determine how much glass to use to get an 8 inch diameter 1/4 inch thick disk.  It lied or else may scale is really off.  The calculator told me I need 20oz of glass to get an 8 inch disk.  It only came out to be a bit over 7 1/4 inches.  So here’s the good and the bad.

The Bad 

  • Not enough glass
  • I put the the translucent blue chunk of glass smack dab in the middle of the pot and it pretty much overwhelmed the melt…well maybe not that bad but more than I wanted to.
  • I mixed in glass that had a thin layer of yellow and orange.  The addition was practically of no consequence because of the clear to color ratio.
  • I tried and inclusion: Mica Powder.  It didn’t behave like I though it would.  It just flowed down the hole in clumps without blending. Oops. I think it would have worked better if I had a layer or glass at the bottom of the melt and then sifted the mica powder on to it (I think).

The Good

  • My kiln is level.  It was almost a perfect circle.
  • No thermal shocking.
  • No devit.
  • Once you get past the Mica clumps it looks fairly decent (other than being a bit over blue)

All right.  Here it is. Le melt deux.



Ya know…I think I may go ahead and do a full fuse to get rid of the pig tail and see if the mica settles further into the glass.  The piece does sort of have and Asteroids in space kind of look.

Oh the possibilities.

Blogger Labels: blown glass,Pot melt,Melt,glass,disk,inclusion,Mica,kiln

The Joy of More Marbles

I just finished fire polishing the second batch this morning.  Overall this second batch turned out pretty much the same as the first even with a more “Bunny” firing schedule.

Here’s the second batch ready to be fused.


Here’s the schedule I used.

100 900 30
200 1250 30
FULL 1480 15
FULL 960 60
75 800 45
100 700 0
200 200 0

With the slower ramp up the clear marbles didn’t shatter like the last batch but I still had internal cracking like the last time.


The orange marbles also cracked like crazy.



All the other marbles were stable but they either didn’t fire polish well or the patterns where just uninteresting.  Here’s the remaining batch before the fire polish.


After the fire polish.


Here are the results close up.

The blue marbles contained a whiteish glass that just would not fire polish.


The red marbles polished OK but for the most part uninteresting and extremely brittle.  I had a cordless phone standing on the bench next to one when it tipped over on to one of them and shattered it.


The orange ones came out the best but weren’t necessarily that interesting.


These might be good for making bolo ties.  I don’t know.  I got to think about it some more.  I was talking with Marcia (my wife) tonight and she remembered co-worker that has tried fusing marbles saying she got them at Goodwill and that they were older marbles (ca. 1970s).  It’s possible that the chemical composition of the older glass is more fuse friendly.  I’ll have to check it out sometime.


Blogger Labels: Marbles,glass

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Playing the mailman…

Well I could have if I was faster on my feet with that kind of stuff.

I had recently been perusing E-bay looking for some scrap glass for doing pot melts.  I stumbled across a couple of auctions that had 20 lbs of scrap for sale from two different glass blowing artists.  Intrigued, I placed a bid on one of the auctions and won it. On delivery day I was eager to get home from work and find out what sort of goodies I was getting. Instead of a box of glass waiting for me I found a note in the mailbox saying that I needed to sign for the delivery.  I was pissed; It was just a stupid box of scrap glass the and seller wanted a signature?!  To add insult to injury the Postal service (unlike UPS or FedEX) doesn’t allow for same day pick up and the end of the day.

I hopped on the USPS website and ordered a re-delivery for the next day since I had the day off from work. The following day the mailman stopped by and walked up to my porch carrying this:


His face was a mixture of shock, horror and wounded puppy dog.  He immediately started rambling “I’m sorry sir I’m so sorry.  The box broke open and I can’t imagine what kind of lamp was in there that shattered and made so much glass.”

Sigh. This could have been so much fun. 

Here’s what I should have said “Oh no, Oh no.  That was fine priceless China from my grandmother that’s been in the family for 500 years that I just inherited and in turn have promised to give to my children who will now render my face concave and have me stuffed into an orthopedic shirt because they won’t get their inheritance…Oh the humanity!”

Man I’m so square.  Instead I said “Chill. It’s just a box of scrap glass.”

So anyway this is what I got.



Some of the pieces were pretty fancy so I’m going to use those to make pendants.  The rest of this stuff I’ll use in pot melts.  I’ve got one cooking right now. Pictures will follow.

Blogger Labels: Pot Melt,Ebay,glass,horror,lamp,China,artists,mailman

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It was a dark and stormy night…

Well not really.  Sorry.  I couldn’t think of any better way of continuing the-saga-of-the-never-ending-pot-melt.  In the previous episode I rambled about some possible reasons the melt had spider web cracking.  Unfortunately this sight greeted me when pulled the piece out of the kiln.


I did more research and found that spider web thermal shock can be caused by the glass sticking to the kiln wash introducing stress laterally in the piece while it was flattening out.  It wounded plausible to me since I found bits of kiln wash stick to the bottom of the melt.  So I figured “Third times the charm; I’ll fire it on a piece of fiber paper and give it a bunny firing schedule”.



Well…that didn’t work either. So I opted for Plan B…


So what’s the take-home on this?

  1. I created a piece to thick to begin with which required another firing to flatten.
  2. I made some bad assumptions about how much the piece would thin out and had a cool down schedule that was too aggressive for the thickness of glass.
  3. The kiln wash stuck to the glass bottom introducing stress.
  4. I used orange glass which I have since learned that it’s one of the colors that tends to change COE under extreme heat.
  5. I used some Wissmach glass In the melt and It may not be as well engineered as Bullseye glass and more apt (possibly) to change COE under extreme heat.
  6. I used extreme heat – 1650 degrees.

Now many sites I’ve visited say that the glass needs to be heated to 1700 degrees to get as much it out of the pot as possible.  But I’ve also come across may sites ( included) that recommend 1600 as the max melt temperature.  One of the reasons being that unless you have a ceramic kiln that is designed to heat to 2000+ degrees 1700 degrees is the generally the max for a glass fusing kiln and those temperatures are extremely hard on it.  I also suspect that a lower temp will also minimize any potential COE shift and that a 100 degree hotter kiln won’t really get that much more glass out of the pot.  So I think I’m go with a lower temp with the next melt and see what happens.

So what about all those pretty shards?

Random form Cabochons!


Alight you may be thinking “OK Jones. This is how crazy people roll; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results”.  Well I’m not that crazy (at least that’s what my therapist tells me).  I tried doing a proof of concept in the microwave kiln to see if would get the spider web cracks.


OK.  It does look a bit fugly since one piece of shard toppled over on the bad side but so far I’m not seeing the cracking.  So I’ll fuse a few of them and set them aside for a while to see if they start disintegrating. 

Thus endith this tale for now.

Blogger Labels: Thermal shock,Sorry,kiln,glass,Wissmach,Bullseye,Delphi,Cabochons

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Some marbles are more equal than others…

Hmmm…I got to think of better titles. 
In a previous post I my first attempt at trying to fuse marbles.  Well this is my second shot and it’s been an interesting ride. 
Here are the victims before they were committed to the flames.
The results were a mixed bag.  Here are some pics of the ones that came out “OK”.  I put and unfired marble to show how they looked before.
The blue marbles ended up with a fair amount of devit on them and they wouldn’t fuse evenly for some reason.
Here are the ones that bombed.
Two of the Transparent marbles shattered while heating up. 
In addition they all suffered thermal shock on the cool down.
The black and orange marbles suffered a different form of thermal shock.  The colored glass seemed to from a thin delicate crust that shattered.
Over all I’m a bit disappointed at how they turned out.  The patterns weren’t nearly as interesting as I thought even on the ones that didn’t fail.  I only fused half of the marbles I had.  I'll try another batch and use a schedule that is even more conservative than the one I originally used.
150 900 30
200 1100 30
200 1250 30
FULL 1275 15
FULL 960 45
75 800 0
100 700 0
200 200 0
Blogger Labels: Firing Schedule,Fuse,marble,glass,thermal shock

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thinning the Pot Melt (Whoopsy!)

Well I got mixed results in my attempt to make the thin the original melt piece from 15 mm to 6mm.  It definitely spread out and got thinner but ended up 9mm thick and this is where the problem occurred.
I got quite a bit of devitrification on the piece (which can be cleaned up easily) but the big problem was the thermal shock during the cool down.

I think there were two contributing factors.  First I had set my kiln self directly on the floor of the kiln to accommodate the height of the pot melt but I had forgotten to put the shelf back on the furniture so I suspect the bottom of the piece heated unevenly.  There’s more cracking on top than there is on the bottom.


The second problem was the firing schedule. 

100 900 45
150 1100 30
200 1250 30
FULL 1475 30
FULL 960 45
100 800 0
200 700 0
400 250 0

I set up a ramp schedule to what I thought would work for a thick piece (15mm)  The mistake I made was my assumption that the piece I’d be pulling out would be 6mm thick.  In other words the cooling schedule was to fast for the thickness of glass.   On my next fuse attempt I’m thinking I can actually increase the ramp up speed since the glass is thinner going in but this time I’ll play it safe and go with a slower cool down even though this next fusing might thin the glass even more.  Here’s what I’m thinking I might do for the schedule.

250 900 45
350 1100 30
150 1250 30
FULL 1475 20
FULL 960 60
50 800 0
100 700 0
200 250 0
Blogger Labels: Thermal Shock,Devitrification,Pot Melt,Melt,kiln,shelf,furniture,glass

Thursday, October 17, 2013

First pot melt

During the process of acquiring glass gear I decided to pick up a Slumpy’s 6 inch mini pot melt.  Here’s my first stab at one.

Here’s El Potto!


Here’s the glass I used: Clear, White, Green, Orange, and Dark Red.


I cleaned all the pieces off with Isopropyl Alcohol (probably overkill).


Here’s how I arranged the glass. You only need to arrange it if you want to try to control where the color goes (more of less).  It’s all pretty random.


Ready for toasting!


And here is the result!  Looks pretty slick.


A Close-up of some of the detail.


I got a little bit overzealous on how much glass I put in.  I was wanting to end up with a disk about 6mm thick.  but I ended up putting in the maximum suggested amount of glass: 1.5 pounds. 

Dang!  That’s the last time I’ll read the label.





The piece ended up being about 15 millimeters thick.  I don’t have a glass saw so I couldn't cut it up for pattern bars. I didn’t want to smash it up and make cabochons out of it so I decided to take it up to a full fuse so see how well it would flatten out to 6mm.  If it turns out ok I’ll slump it into a plate.  I also regret using the dark red.  It looks like a muddy brown when fused/melted. Oh well.

Stay tuned…

Blogger Labels: Pot Melt,Red,glass,Slumpy,Clear,White,Orange,disk

Friday, October 11, 2013

Losing my Marbles (or nuts to you)

I love a good non-sequitur (even when it’s bad).

Another local fuser suggested fusing marbles as a way to make pendants.  The advantage of doing that is that you cool patterns already built in.  Just grind a little flat base so the marble won’t roll in the kiln, fuse them, fire polish (as needed) and then stick on a bail and you’re good to go.  The disadvantage is that you can’t fuse the glass with anything else other than itself since the COEs will be different and you’ll risk introducing stress into a  piece of mixed co-efficiencies.  I just got a bag of random sized marbles and gave it a shot.


Here’s how they turned out.  Well the experiment was kind of a fail.  I did find out which size marble works the best to make a pendent (1 inch) and that was the only one that turned out ok.


The big one thermal shocked reeeeeeal bad (which I thought it might).


Other ones were either too small or were uninteresting or just didn’t fuse right.


I found a good supplier of one inch marbles so we’ll see how those cook up.


So long and thank you for not smoking.

Blogger Labels: Fuse,Marbles,kiln,bail,glass,COEs

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More on my art/stuff/piece/thingy…


This is how the beast is progressing.  I decided to fill in my “Tray” with multiple colors.  I first thought of just doing a single color (like red) like I did on the small votives I made.  I figured a little variety would be better since there since the iridescent glass pieces were spread further apart.



I cleaned the glass off using Isopropyl alcohol.




Here I bid fond farewell.


Here it is after the first firing. 



OK this is actually before the second firing; the first had some technical issues.  Apparently I did not have enough frit pushed to the edge so when the piece melted the glass base pulled away from the strips along the edge leaving several holes.  I filled them in with a little black frit and covered it with a little clear.  I’m debating on whether I should have needed to fill in the holes at all.  I’m inclined to thing a second firing without any fill would cause the glass to level out some more and close the holes.  Here it is after the second fusing and before the fire polish.


Ha.  Like it never even happened. I needed to etch the edges because the strips on the side acquired some devit.  The fire polish will clean it up.  It’s kinda sorta square…in the same sense you could call a cabbage patch doll “square”.  I suppose it could be called “organic”.  hmm…anyway I need to figure out how to mount the crazy thing. I need to frame it to put it on display for our art guild.  I’m thinking it might be easier to mount if I tack fused it to a piece of 3mm black and leave about a quarter inch edge around it so the frame has something to grab on to (nuts…dangling preposition…my wife is going to kill me).

Well, there’s more to think about. TTFN.

Blogger Labels: fuse,iridescent,piece,Tray,glass,Isopropyl,strips,edges,frit