Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Torch Enamelling

Had a great two classes teaching enamel beading with a torch at the Glass Shoppe Studio in Ottawa on the weekend.  

These classes use metal beads onto which you fire Thompson Enamels  as you have seen in previous posts.  The next step and class will be torch enamelling copper pieces  (no kiln required)

I have been accumulating tools for this type of class
Tripods, screens, trivets, enamels etc...  
Last night I brought out the various torches to test them out
The butane self igniting torch
is ok but a bit slow for my liking - and after a few minutes (I hate waiting - I like instant gratification)  not much was happening - maybe to a granular stage 
although I did it through the screen on the tripod and that could absorb a lot of the heat from the torch rather than it going to the copper piece 
I bought a top for my mapp/Propane tanks to test out as well last night 
the top looks similar to what is on the butane - these are self igniting as well .
 Will be testing my standard self igniting torch heads as well next session

I tested it out using the tripod and screen again and got a much faster and better result - maybe the pressure from the tank is better as I found the flame more robust.
The tripod is great to keep your work above the table and give you access under the piece 

the screen allows easy access and the turn out of the sample was acceptable.   - a tall juice can with a fire brick on top and trivet  will also do the trick (to follow)  Less than a few minutes to produce a fired piece.
This piece I did not counter enamel  but just tested 

The next test will be using trivets on the tripod with a fire brick and torching from beneath so that the flame is directly on the copper piece - after that will be home made sort of supports on the tripods and using stainless steel wire to make firing forks and supports 
. The trivets I  usually use in my little kiln 

Kiln Story:   - way back when I was about 16 I started copper enamelling 
I totally enjoyed making pendants and earrings and necklaces 
I bought my kiln from Lewiscraft - which has since gone out of business and my enamels from them and Nautilus in Scarborough - who also is out of business (crafting was not as big as it is now  it seems) 
I used that kiln what seemed like years and then it sat, and sat and I dragged it around with me when I moved all over  and even down to the USA for 10 years.
Last year - marking about 40 years of owning this kiln - I decided to see if I should replace the element as I could not remember if when I put it away it still worked (I had bought spare elements just in case and an extra kiln about 10 years before)  (Yes I do tend to accumulate stuff and not use it ) 
I plugged it in and after 40 years it fired up perfectly -   it worked fine - I even did a test piece 
Its an Amaco Kiln FA-5-E 

Here is a pic of the new version - mine is a shiny  ceramic surface  this is a matte surface 
Plugs into 120v  does items up to 5"  - and since most copper shapes are so small this works well 




1 comment:

  1. In the Amaco FA-5-E kiln, what do you put your piece on? Seems to small for a tripod. Or perhaps too far away from the heat for a tripod. But it needs to go on something if you plan to have counter enamel on the back. Suggestions?

    ReplyDelete