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

Saturday, November 9, 2013

If you were ever curious…

…what the goop you scrape out of your grinder looks like when it’s fused…


…well now you know.


Maybe if I fuse enough of these I can make a some kind of abstract art piece and call it “How Grandpa Died” or something like that…well…maybe not.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A plate, Blown glass pendants and the disgusting thing.

A Plate

At some point I’m going to ditch the Slumpys mini pot melts and come up with my own rig using terra cotta pots.  That way I won’t be restricted to melting disks just 6 and 8 inches in diameter. With this most recent melt I decided to try add a white border around it to make a blank for a plate. I got myself a 10 inch stainless steel ring and some white Uroboros frit.





Now if this works out OK then instead of buying ready-made frit I’ll get and 5 pound bag of white opal odd cut scraps and crush it myself.  The scraps cost less about 60% less than bulk frit ($23.00 vs 52.00).  I’ll post the results tomorrow.

Blown glass pendants

I mentioned last time I was about to fire polish some of the scarp blown glass I had gotten.  Here’s a few pics of how they turned out.  I’ll need to fire polish some of them again since I added a bevel and not all of them polished smoothly.






And now for…

The Disgusting Thing


Nuff said!.  The secret will be revealed tomorrow.

Stay tuned…

Blogger Labels: Blown Glass,glass,Plate,Slumpys,Uroboros,scraps,pendants,frit

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another Day, Another Melt…

Well with fairly successful melt underneath my belt belt It’s time for…

Another one!.  This time I’m trying something a little different.   I’m taking half of my colored glass and burying it underneath the clear and then taking the rest and putting on top.



I’m also used just 21 ounces of glass this time instead of 26. It should get me closer to 6 mm thickness.

Here’s how it turned out.




If you had any doubts I can validate; darker colors will dominate the melt.  I had about 13 ounces of clear and  4 ounces of red and white (8 oz. total).  I think half the amount of red would have been plenty.  There also seemed to be more bubbles this time.  That means I should hold it at 1500 for while longer.  Well tomorrow I’m going to attempt to fuse a white border around it to make a blank for a plate.

Blogger Labels: blank,plate,Pot Melt,bubbles,ounces

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Miscellanea: A pot melt, some blown glass and mischief managed.

A pot melt
Third time’s the charm.  Now this is more like it.
I made this piece using clear and transparent green blown glass scrap.  I also supplemented with yellow and white Carolina buffalo chips (from Slumpys).  The melt was done in a Slumpys 8 inch mini pot.
It turned out to be a little thicker than I wanted (~7.5mm).  I overcompensated by adding a bit too much glass because there wasn’t enough in the last melt to fill the ring.  I think if I back off about 4 oz  I’ll hit the sweet spot of an 8 inch melt. What I think I’ll do next is get a stainless steel 10 inch casting ring, fill the space around the ring with white opal frit to create a blank for slumping a 10 inch plate. At least that’s the plan for now.
Some blown glass
I’ve gone ahead and fused some of the fancier pieces of blown glass scrap I found to see how they turn out.
Here they are before fusing.
After fusing…
Here they are after I had ground them down and before the fire polish.
I think they’re going to come out pretty decent.
Mischief managed
I’m amazed at what can bring out the 4th grader in me.  I was cleaning the ground glass goop out my grinder...
...and these thoughts kept running through my head:
  • This is disgusting
  • This is gross
  • This is sickening
  • This is vile
  • This is putrid
  • This is horrible
  • This is vomitus
  • I want to fuse it…
I’m just waiting for it to dry.
I don’t think they make meds strong enough for guys like me.
Blogger Labels: blown glass,pot melt,coe 96,glass,grinder,pieces