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Howdy there, ya'll...

This is the main board for discussing general techniques, tools, and processes for fusing, slumping, and related kiln-forming activities.

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skin_mechanic
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Birmingham, AL

Howdy there, ya'll...

Postby skin_mechanic » Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:52 pm

...I'm very new to the warm glass art. I gotta Skutt GM1018 kiln last month, and I've been experimenting with regular float glass for the past few weeks. I'm looking forward to chatting with the resident experts on this MB, and maybe get some ideas, and tips on making my learning curve as painless as possible :D

lohman
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Postby lohman » Fri Mar 26, 2004 11:43 pm

Welcome Skin_Mechanic

I'm by no stretch of the imagination an expert. I want to break the ice and welcome you to the WGB.

How have your experiments turned out?

I looked at the your kiln through the link at the top of this page.
Is it about 18" deep? Good.

Several peep holes-Good especially for a deep kiln.

Digital controller-A must.
I started with a similar but smaller Cress Kiln with only a Dawson Kiln Sitter. I fired every firing by sight and lost much glass but I learned alot.

Elements in the walls-I prefer elements in the lid.

Elements in the lid aid in heating all the glass surface at the same rate. The drawback of side elements is that the glass heats around the edges first and might be an issue if your are trying to fire fast. You can compensate.

What are you using as a firing schedule?

If you're winging it I have a tip.
Go to http://www.denverglass.com
I have their KL60. Click on the tip sheet and you can download and print a pdf version of a suggested firing schedule. I found it very usefull and the schedule as is should be a good guide for you. I use it (with modifications) for both float and Bullseye.

Good luck and have fun.

BTW, Is a skin mechanic a dermatologist?

skin_mechanic
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Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 12:28 am

Thanks for the reply. When I started my search for a kiln, I wanted one with both top and side elements, but I couldn't find a kiln like that in the size I wanted. I'm thinking I might can even the heating out by retrofitting skutt's EnviroVent. I've been using the Glass Fire schedules for most of the stuff I've done this week, but I have come up with some custom firing schedules for a coupla larger pieces. Alas, most of my experiments have been failures, I thought I'd have this art mastered in a coupla weeks :lol: In the past week I have been doing some painting with cosmetic-grade mica powder, then heating the glass to 1600 degrees for 15 minutes, to fuse the mica into the glass. Some colors are easier to work with, the results have been interesting. I just got a shipment of Uroboros 90 COE frit powder, almost every color, so I can experiment with frit and mica. I wanna get some more experience with cheap float glass before I graduate to the expensive stuff. As for the Skin_Mechanic handle, that's a nick I use on a coupla roadster message boards, it's the name of a Gary Numan album.

I have question: I tried to drape a vase yesterday, but I got a 19" glass taco. Is there a trick to getting a piece of glass to slump/drape on 4 sides?

lohman
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Postby lohman » Sat Mar 27, 2004 12:43 am

I don't have much experience with those vases. Others here can tell you more about that. I would say exploit that taco until you get the results your want.

Don't "dis" float glass. There are float -compatible frits, enamels in many colors. Low-fire (cone 06) ceramic glazes can yeild some very good results except that they are not food safe. I use a lot if float. I have nothing against it.

Steve Immerman
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Postby Steve Immerman » Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:08 am

Skin_Mechanic wrote:I have question: I tried to drape a vase yesterday, but I got a 19" glass taco. Is there a trick to getting a piece of glass to slump/drape on 4 sides?


Here are some photos of the draping process.

http://www.clearwaterglass.com/floral_former_vase.htm

I have not done many of these, but it seems that it first folds to a taco then the other sides drop. Is it possible you didn't wait long enough? I haven't used float, and I don't know if has different characteristics.

Steve

skin_mechanic
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Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:16 am

I just pulled another taco outta the kiln. It looks good, but I was expecting more of a crab rangoon kinda shape :lol:

I've got another question(2nd of many) I'm looking for a uniform colloidal suspension of frit powder. What liquid could I use to get the desired viscosity, with a clean burn out? I've been using mineral oil with the mica powder, and I've gotten excellent results, but the mineral oil isn't viscous enough to hold the glass particles in suspension.

travisraybold
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Postby travisraybold » Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:47 am

yep, steve is right, just leave it in there a bit longer.

i'm playing with lots of variations on drop rings and trying to control how they fold, ill post a link to a page describing my results when i feel ive done enough (probably a few weeks).

using extra pieces fused onto the edges can affect the folding, i got a 3-fold vase by using 6 weights around.

i need another kiln so i can play with more than one thing at a time ;)

--travis

skin_mechanic
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Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 2:00 am

Thanks for the heads up on that vase info. I thought it might be my mold, but it looks like the glass itself may be the problem. All of the draped vases that I've seen so far have been made from square glass, I've been working with 19" disks. Gravity pulls the corners down, and tension keeps the sides up. My disks are probably turning into tacos because gravity is exerting a uniform pull around the disk's circumference. I'll put today's taco back into the kiln tomorrow morning and see if I can get the ends to slump, but I'm thinkin' a longer soak will only result in the slumped sides being distorted. I'll have to be careful not to soak the piece for too long and trap my redneck DIY vase mold.

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Sat Mar 27, 2004 2:24 am

Skin

You need some clear glass enamel (flux) mixed in with the mica in order for it to stick to float glass. There are numerous ones you can use. They all mature at different temps. The most important characteristic for a flux is whether or not it contains lead and cadmium. Technically it doesn't matter. It only matters if you plan to eat off of the finished result. I use Ferro Sunshine series flux that matures between 1380 and 1520. Ferro makes fluxes that mature from 1050ºF on up (maybe even lower, I don't know). Standard Ceramic in Pittsburgh probably sells some at low minumum order prices. Ferro is $100 minimum.

Your draping shapes will change as you speed or slow heat up above 1000ºF as well as raise or lower your top temp and the time you soak there. You should eventually bump in to the Rangoon look. Each kiln is different so you have to mess around a bit.

Float and system 90 or 96 glasses behave very differently. BTW they don't mix. Not at all.

Personally I don't get the side element thing. To my experience, the side elements cause more problems than they solve.
Bert

Bert Weiss Art Glass*
http://www.customartglass.com
Furniture Lighting Sculpture Tableware
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skin_mechanic
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Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 9:16 am

I'm thinkin' a kiln with both top and side elements would be the ideal, especially when the kiln is loaded with multiple shelves.

One positive that I just got from a late night firing of some test peices: Being a complete novice(idiot), cheap, and insane, I'm willin' to experiment with things that most people would never try. I got a roll of ThinFire shelf paper with my frit powder, and decided to use it under some scrap pieces. I got to thinkin', "What IS shelf paper, is it like paper coated with shelf primer, hmmmmmm..." You can probably guess where this story's headin' :lol: :lol: Anywho, I tore a sheet of paper outta my sketch book(60lb stock), and painted it with 4 coats of kiln wash. I flash dried it with my B&D heat gun and put it under my scrap glass. I then fired it and the other piece of glass(w/ThinFire) to 1700 degrees holding for 40 minutes. I opened up the kiln this morning and lo and behold, the DIY shelf paper burned out clean, kept the glass from sticking to the kiln shelf, and I was able to clean the residue off the glass with soap&water :D I'll try that experiment again today, to see if I get consistent results.

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:05 am

Skin_Mechanic wrote:I'm thinkin' a kiln with both top and side elements would be the ideal, especially when the kiln is loaded with multiple shelves.



Multiple shelves will make you slow down considerably because of uneven heating. Roof elements are designed to heat one shelf evenly, so you can heat up relatively quickly.

Fire in the kiln can make a reducing atmosphere which changes the chemical reactions that happen. It consumes the oxygen. This can be a useful, but scary, technique for certain color reactions. It can also burn out the elements if flames get to them.
Bert



Bert Weiss Art Glass*

http://www.customartglass.com

Furniture Lighting Sculpture Tableware

Architectural Commissions

AVLucky
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Postby AVLucky » Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:24 am

Skin_Mechanic wrote:I got to thinkin', "What IS shelf paper, is it like paper coated with shelf primer, hmmmmmm..." You can probably guess where this story's headin' :lol: :lol: Anywho, I tore a sheet of paper outta my sketch book(60lb stock), and painted it with 4 coats of kiln wash. I flash dried it with my B&D heat gun and put it under my scrap glass. I then fired it and the other piece of glass(w/ThinFire) to 1700 degrees holding for 40 minutes. I opened up the kiln this morning and lo and behold, the DIY shelf paper burned out clean, kept the glass from sticking to the kiln shelf, and I was able to clean the residue off the glass with soap&water :D I'll try that experiment again today, to see if I get consistent results.


Yikes! Was your kiln full of charred paper remains? Fiber paper is made out of ceramic fibers held together with an organic binder. Your sketchbook paper probably burned out before you were anywhere near fusing temps. Also, 1700 sounds really high, unless you were just testing the boundaries of your materials.

P.S. Since the only Gary Numan music I know is the song "Cars" I thought Skin Mechanic woulda been a plastic surgeon! :)

skin_mechanic
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Birmingham, AL

Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 11:09 am

The DIY shelf paper residue looked EXACTLY like the Thinfire residue. There was no carbon on the shelf or glass, and no soot on the kiln brick, just a film of white powder(kiln wash) between the glass and shelf, the cellulose fibers completely burned out. Of course, I kiln washed the shelf just in case. Expect more insane experiments from me in the future. I decided to fire it at 1700 to test the ThinFire, also I was fusing 6 layers of glass. I have picture frames in the my department(at work) most of my float glass is from damaged frames(freebies). I got in a case of 6-5x7 frames, all damaged, I figured the glass would be compatable since it came from the same source, so I decided to fuse it all. As for Gary Numan, I'm a major fan, I don't listen to him as much as I used to, but I do have all of his material on CD and vinyl. One of the highlights of my life was seeing him in concert at The Masquerade(in Atlanta), I waited almost 20 years for that concert :)

Judith Andre
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Postby Judith Andre » Sat Mar 27, 2004 5:08 pm

Why the shelf primer paper? Easier to just fire on the primed shelf. When new to kilnforming I tended to fire too hot and too quickly, with the result of too much sticking of the primer and too many bubbles. I have had better resluts with a very conservative schedule. I, too, started out with a (used) side firing kiln. Then the slow heat up is especially important. I now have a kiln with both top and side elements and seem to fire slower than most poeple. Guess it's habit, but don't like the nasty surprise of opening the kiln to find a big crack in the middle of my glass that I spent many hours working on.

Good luck! Judith
Judith

skin_mechanic
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Birmingham, AL

Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 5:57 pm

I've been firing high, but I ramp slow, usually around 300-500dph. Hopfully, experience will get me in to the habit of firing low. I haven't really had any problems with fracturing, except for obvious faux pas, like the stainless steel inclusion fiasco :lol: I got the ThinFire mainly to have the option of a smoother finish on the underside, plus being new at this, I have to try everything at least once. I decided on the skutt kiln because of the interior dimensions, and price. I didn't want to break the bank with my 1st kiln purchase, but I didn't want to get a kiln that I would out grow too quickly. I think the addition of a kiln vent will give me even heating, though I haven't had a problem with cold spots... ...yet :wink:

skin_mechanic
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Birmingham, AL

Postby skin_mechanic » Sat Mar 27, 2004 7:26 pm

KUDOS TO YOUS GUYS!!! :D :D :D I put my taco back in the kiln and after jumping thru a coupla extra hoops, I now have a crab rangoon :lol: :lol: :lol: I intitally set it to slump at 1220 for 15 minutes. 14 minutes into the soak and the glass hadn't budged, so I bumped the temp up to 1235 for an additional 10 minutes, still no rangoon, I went up to 1250 for another 5 minutes(goin' for broke), and the ends finally slumped. It's such a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but I'm really psyched up about it all :D


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