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In order to keep our tutorials simple for this web site, we have kept the verbiage to a minimum There is a lot left up to the viewer to discover. We hope you enjoy these and find them useful.
Jewelry Fusing Made Easy!!
No we are not going to impart secrets of glass upon you. We are only going to use common sense and experience to try to demystify the fusing of smaller pieces. We recently attended a Silver Metal Clay conference and asked people there if they fused glass. Many said they didn’t because the fusing schedules were too complicated with ramp speeds and annealing times.
Well I am here to tell you that, for jewelry, fusing is easy!!! Slow ramps and loooong anneals are made for larger pieces. When you get down to 2x2 inches (5x5cm) or smaller you can almost (not quite) ignore them..
The full schedule
We break our fusing of small pieces up into 3 parts. First we determine the overall type of fuse we want to do. Second we determine the ramp type. Third, we anneal. Put these three together and you have a simple schedule.
1)Types of Fusing
We break our jewelry fusing into 3 types (a fourth, Glass Clay, is not covered here).
1)Tack Fuse (also for fusing glass paint or mica)-
2) Full Fuse-
3) Medium Full Fuse-
See the comments below on the effects of kiln type.
In addition to each of these, we add 4 types of “ramping”
1) Bubble Squeeze ramp-
AFAP to 1050 .hold 10 minutes
100dph to 1250 hold 10 minutes
AFAP to Fuse temperature (see above)
2) Stabilized ramp When fusing in a subsequent firing, this gets the glass heated through.
AFAP to 1250 hold 15 minutes
AFAP to Fuse Temperature
3) Surface ramp. This is where we have a surface decoration such as paint or mica that is to be fused on to the glass.
AFAP to fuse temperature
3)Annealing and Cooling
This is the same for all fusing of small pieces. Once the kiln has finished its fuse, crash the kiln to 900°F and close the kiln (a second crash to 900°F can be used if the temperature rebounds over 1050°F).
Wait until kiln is at 300°F (we open at 500!)and open it. This is a place where you may have problems. If the air current in the room blows into the kiln you may crack a piece. We have a top loading kiln with no air vents near the kiln and have never had a piece crack in the kiln.
Effects of Kiln Type
The largest variable in the fusing schedule is caused by the type of kiln. You need to change the top temperature based on the type of kiln that you have. This can be quickly learned by experience with your kiln.
Larger kilns heat up slower and the top temperature may be lower than smaller kiln (more heat work into the glass during ramp). Most of our jewelry is made in an 8x8x6 brick, top loading kiln. The fuse temperatures above are the ones we use. We also fuse with a 15x15x6 brick top loading kiln and the final fuse temperatures (in each of the 3 types) are 15° lower.
We also find that kilns with top elements fuse a little lower (in temperature) than side firing kilns.
Is this difficult? NO
Are the pieces going to be ruined if my temperature is off by 10 to 20 degrees? NO
If I screw up will I ruin my kiln? No!
Example: You want to tack fuse 2 pieces of glass , one of which is decorated with paint.
1)Tack fuse (want the pieces together and the paint to fuse on)
2)Bubble squeeze (two pieces of glass)
AFAP to 1050 hold 10 minutes
100 dph (degrees per hour) to 1250 hold 10 minutes
AFAP to 1400 hold 12 minutes
Crash to 900 and close kiln until temperature is 300.
Are these schedules good for every firing? No they are not. But they are good for 90% of what we fuse. Experience will teach you the rest.
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