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Old 01-09-2005, 05:08 PM
Melinda Melanson's Avatar
Melinda Melanson Melinda Melanson is offline
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Crash Course in Fusing

As if I didn't have enough things on my plate right now, I need to make some small fused dichroic cabs for a project. Someone please point me to a good book or other resources to learn this artform. I will also need an excellent source of Effetre compatible sheet dichroic.
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Old 01-09-2005, 09:52 PM
paulette paulette is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

www.warmglass.com THey have tutorials
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:21 PM
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makitmama makitmama is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Okay, I grabbed the digital camera to take pix of the steps I use and some finished results. The battery is now recharging, and pix will be posted ASAP. I feel like I am starting my Monday early- I hate digital cameras!

to fuse: you need a kiln, a kiln shelf, and some shelf paper or kiln wash. Check the annealing temp/schedule for your specific glass. Also, the warmglass site is a good reference.

1. All pieces of glass must be clean. Nothing like a fingerprint buried in your cabachon. I use a windex wipe.
2. All glasses used in the same cab need to be compatible.
3. All cabs fired at the same time need to be the same brand/COE, and a similar size and number of layers (for example, don't try to fire a stack of 2 pieces of glass next to a stack of 5 pieces of glass...slumping temps will be too different.
4. Even with all the cabs being the same size/amount of glass, you may still have hotter spots in your kiln. If you check and most cabs are fully fused but a few aren't, go ahead and finish the firing there. Then come back with another firing of the unslumped cabs later.
4. Most sheet glass will fire fine, but a layer of frit may turn black on you, because it will overcook compared to sheet glass. Same goes for silver leaf.
5. You will need some kind of adherant to keep your pieces together. Choices are: commercial fusing glues, plain elmers glue, or hairspray.

Okay, for the basic process:
take your clean glass, cut into the size pieces you want.

sit at a table, with your kiln shelf ready and handy. Working on another sheet of shelf paper, lay out your cabs. To do this:

Put a bottom piece of glass, clear or colored, on your shelf paper. On top, layer either a piece of dichro alone, or dichro and a layer of clear or transparent colored glass as a top. If using fusing glue or hairspray, just put a small drop between your layers. If using elmers, dab a tiny amount with a toothpick between your layers. NOTE: sometimes elmers doesn't burn out all the way, so smaller is better.

Leave your cabs for a while, to let the adherant dry. If you have any water trapped between the layers, the cab will bubble or explode when fired.

When dry, lift the shelf paper and carefully lay it on your kiln shelf. Make sure that there is a cabs worth of space between your little stacks. And if you are fusing something with a lot of glass, give it plenty of room to expand without touching another cab.

Take the cover off your (COLD!!)kiln, then carefully place your shelf inside. Visually check all your cabs to make sure nothing has shifted. Any pieces of glass that are unstable could slide off to one side when fired, so try to make sure everything is balanced. Cover your kiln until you are ready to fire, to keep dust off your glass.

I don't have a digital controller, so I wait until I have enough time to babysit my kiln. Ramping speeds (the amount of time you take to bring your glass to fusing temp) vary according to brand. Warmglass has several schedules depending on COE/brand. But basically, you can't ruin anything by ramping slowly. A rapid ramp up to fusing temp is harder on the glass. I do a more rapid ramp with Bullseye than with recycled glass bottle pieces.

I have a small tabletop kiln (AIM 84). For Bullseye, my usual ramp up is: 20 minutes at level 4( which puts me around 500 degrees), 20 minutes at level 6/7(which puts me at 1000 degrees), and then I turn the temp up to 10(full heat), and sit next to the kiln to monitor things. My kiln slumps Bullseye when the thermometer is about 1450-1500 degrees. When I reach 1450, I peek inside. I keep peeking every 50 degrees, until my glass is fully slumped and glowing. It will look like a piece of cheese toast in a toaster oven, glowing orange. When the glass has fully slumped, I crash cool it by lifting the lid off a few inches until the thermometer registers just above 1000 degrees. Then I turn off the power, put the lid back on, and make sure that the kiln stays at the annealing temp long enough. For my Bullseye, that is 950 degrees for half an hour. I sometimes have to turn the kiln on/off, depending on the room temp.

Do not peek after you have crash cooled your kiln. Even though the urge is nearly irresistable, try to resist!

I do this in the evening, leave my kiln unplugged overnight, and in the morning everything is at room temp.

Now, some things that I have learned:
1. Dichro comes with either a clear or black back. I greatly prefer clear, in thin rather than regular. If you fuse this with the clear on top, then you don't need another piece of glass to cap your cab unless you want a deep cab. If you turn it over and put the dichro on top, you will end up with an attractive cab that does not have the depth and sparkle of capped dichro. The dichro coating will not fuse off in a kiln, unless you really overfire it.
2. An attractive cab can be made with a dark bottom piece, a piece of dichro clear with the clear down, and a piece of cover glass. This will make the dichro look more suspended in the middle. Play around with where your dichro is- reverse your pieces, layer them, etc.
3. A stack of several small pieces of dichro clear will slump down into a cab, and are interesting if layered with some colored glass in between. Experiment!
4. Glass wants to be about 1/4 inch thick. If your layers add up to more than that amount, the piece will melt down into a rounded shape 1/4" thick. If your piece is less than 1/4", the edges will draw up until it reaches 1/4".
5. To get really great results, be prepared to fuse, grind, fuse again, maybe grind again, fire polish, etc.
6. Interesting things to layer with your glass pieces include twisties, curved or bent stringers, pieces of copper, fine silver wire, and art clay silver.
7. If you want a channel in your glass, so that it is a bead rather than a cab, either put a dipped mandel piece in between your glass layers, or use a piece of fiber paper. Some people use toothpicks dipped in kiln wash and dried, although I haven't tried it.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:09 PM
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crsann crsann is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

That was a perfect tutorial!!!!! Can we get Beth or Lenda or someone to put it in the glass 101 section please???
chrisann
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:25 AM
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Nicely done on the tutorial. I gave it a high rating to help it get into the 101 section!

Although I will admit I try to avoid the glass glue step. See, if you hold your breath and haven't had a lot of coffee that morning, you can just stack them without it....er....sometimes.

Jude
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:31 AM
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ValorieCox ValorieCox is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Quote:
Originally Posted by crsann
That was a perfect tutorial!!!!! Can we get Beth or Lenda or someone to put it in the glass 101 section please???
chrisann

Be sure to 'rate the thread'. Five stars are required before it can make it into the Glass 101 sticky. Val
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:48 PM
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Melinda Melanson Melinda Melanson is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Makitmama, WOW!! thanks so much for the step by step. I owe ya some beads. Email me your mailing addy and color choices and I'll make ya up a set. I INSIST!! I would love to add your tutorial to my tutorial pages. May I??

I've also checked out the warm glass site and tons of helpful info there. I had visited the site years ago but forgot about it. I'll have to add a link to them on my website.

Looks like I'm gonna need to shop for a grinder and sheet glass.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:14 AM
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Mark Wilson Mark Wilson is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

if you want to fuse metal foils and not have them oxidize, put a small piece of charcoal briquet in the kiln. the charcoal will attempt to burn, but it will stop when all of the oxygen in the air is consumed making the kiln have a reducing atmosphere. don't use too large of a piece, and try to avoid opening the lid too often to peek in on the fuseing.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:10 AM
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Lenda Lenda is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Excellent tutorial!! I've added it to the Sticky Glass Class 101 since it's been rated !
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:13 AM
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makitmama makitmama is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Mark, I love your tip! If I use a reduction frit with the charcoal, can I get a reaction?

BTW, I have been trying to post my first ever photo on WC. I searched around and couldn't find a tutorial that told me how to reduce the size, and now when I try to upload I get a message back that the server can't be found. I know that the WC server is up, I am using it! Any ideas?
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:48 AM
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Mark Wilson Mark Wilson is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Quote:
Originally Posted by makitmama
Mark, I love your tip! If I use a reduction frit with the charcoal, can I get a reaction?

BTW, I have been trying to post my first ever photo on WC. I searched around and couldn't find a tutorial that told me how to reduce the size, and now when I try to upload I get a message back that the server can't be found. I know that the WC server is up, I am using it! Any ideas?

you can buy very clean charcoal in the pet supply area at walmart. it is used for filtering bad stuff out of fish tanks. it is in the form of small chunks. a small bit, maybe 1/2 of a teaspoon should do the job. place the charcoal in a small steel dish, off to the side of your glass.

as for pictures, use a photo editor like photo shop or microsoft photo editor, there will be a resize link. there should be some choices, the best is to set it up to display the number of pixels. resize your photo so that the largest number is less than 500 (remember photos or typically rectangular). also when you go to save the now resized photo, there should be a "more options" button. click on it and set your compression factor to 50%, and then save the newly resized photo as a .jpg format.
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Old 01-11-2005, 12:21 PM
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Okay, here is try #1...maybe it will be visible. This cab is clear cap, rainbow/clear dichro with enamel detailing, blue base.
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Old 01-11-2005, 12:56 PM
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makitmama makitmama is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Okay, last two examples for the 'crash course' . The plain cab with channel is green glass base, two layers of dichro/clear, transparent green glass, and clear cap. You have to hold this one to see the depth...
Second is one of my landscapes, which are my personal favorites. Moon, ocean with wave highlights, tree trunk/branch.
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Old 01-11-2005, 01:31 PM
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

makitmama -- Thanks so much for the fusing instructions! (And thanks Mark for the reduction tip.)

A freeware photo-resizing and simple editing software is available at
http://www.irfanview.com/

It is much easier to use than Photoshop or Illustrator, and is actually much better suited for simple resizing than either of the commercial wares.

Download it, and it should put an icon on your desktop of the "red flattened dog". When you need to use it, double-click the icon, click "File" from the toolbar, click "Open" from the dropdown menu, and it will want you to select the photo file to work on. Select the file by clicking, then press the "Open button", and the photo file will appear in the Irfanview window. To resize, click "Image" on the toolbar, and click "Resize/Resample".

For uploading to Wet Canvas, I think that the pictures need to be no larger than 500 x 600 pixels, so choose your height or width to fit (leave "Preserve aspct ratio" checked, so you keep the correct proportions of your photo).

Then save your new, resized photo to your hard drive, and then upload it on to Wet Canvas.

Irfanview is also excellent as a photo editor, meaning that you can change contrast, saturation, sharpness, etcetera; and it's very simple to work with. One nice feature is that in "Image" "Enhance colors" (this is where you can work with contrast, etc.), it shows you two small views of your photo, one of what you started with, and one that changes as you modify the photo, so you can see what you are doing by comparison.

I can't say enough good things about Irfanview freeware!
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Old 01-11-2005, 01:46 PM
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CosmicGW CosmicGW is offline
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Re: Crash Course in Fusing

Very nice tutorial - the Kervin glass beadmaking book also has some fusing stuff in it.

Becky
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