|Enameling and Firing Information Information|
|1. Transparent Enamel numbers and names that do well directly on clean copper. If not on this list, test fire a sample. All Opaque's work well directly on copper.|
|2.Firing time and temperature for most enamels transparent and opaque is 1450 to 1500 degrees F for 2 min . Larger pieces may require a bit more time so watch for gloss. Underglazes, Overglazes, and Decals may require lower temperature of 1250F. Decals must be water slide, enameling decals. (See resource below)|
|3.Exercises / Demos I will cover in class (May not be in this order) I have added links to the list that will take you to videos from vendors, artist.or youtube.com that you may want to see as future reference. General Enameling Process, Silkscreen, Stenciling, Rubber stamping, Painting, Underglazing, Overglazing, Sawing, Texturing, and BasseTaille and Sgraffito. For those interested I could do a torch fire piece.|
|4. ARMOUR ETCH creates a matt finish on enamels for you to paint or pencil a design with underglaze pencil or paint. It is very similar to bisque fired ceramics when finished. I leave the acid on for 10 minutes to get a nice matt finish, then wash off the acid with water. This etching medium is not as strong as Ferric Chloride because the concentration is very low.. This process is done outside. Don't wash this acid down the studio sink. There should be a hose outside. Pure Ferric Cloride is for etching deep cavities in the copper. Usually on thicker gauge copper like 18 or 20 gauge.|
ETCHING METAL TO CREATE CAVITIES
Copper is etched in a bath of Ferric Chloride. Creating attractive etched metal pieces requires masking portions of the metal to prevent the etchant from etching those areas. Any areas you don't want etched needs to be mask with a resist and duct tape should be used on the back not to be etched. A piece of styrofoam can be used to float the piece in the bath face down. The unetched areas will be the high points on the metal.
Sharpie pens or Paint Pencils work well for a acid mask medium. Does not have to be black.
Lines should be a little wider than how you’d like them to be when the etching is done to allow for the fact that the etchant will typically undercut your design lines a bit. If you’re doing a deep etch, use lines that are at least 1/32" wide and metal 20 gauge or thicker. Finer details might be lost. I have etched 26 gauge but it must be a shallow etch which is achieved by less time in the acid bath. If you’re doing a deep etch, use lines that are at least 1/32" wide and metal 20 or 18 gauge or thicker. Remember that the larger the number gauge the thinner the metal. I have etched 26 gauge but it must be a shallow etch which is achieved by less time in the acid bath. This is good for BasseTaille designs.
|5.Underglazes have no glass in them. P3 is an ink type underglaze then when fired on enameled surfaces like 1030 opaque flux will attach to the base enamel, then by creating a type of sandwich with a flux like 2015 over the P3. P1 is an overglaze and has glass in it. Underglaze doesn't melt so it stays put where you put it and does not flow. Overglazes will flow so firing should be lowered to around 1250 F to keep it put where you want it. Underglaze can be painted on with brush or use a underglaze pencil or quill or speedball pen to apply. Underglazes, Overglazes and Decals is fired at 1250F but watching for shine determines time. TESTing a piece is always recommended before firing these materials.|
to Enameling on Copper
---1.What is Enameling - Ground glass formulated to fuse to metals. What makes up the type of enameling we will use. The process starts with a glass compound typically consisting of quartz sand ground to a powder, iron oxide, potassium oxide, and borax, which together are colorless. Color in enamel is obtained by the addition of various minerals, often metal oxides cobalt, praseodymium, iron, or neodymium. The latter creates delicate shades ranging from pure violet through wine-red and warm gray. Enamel can be transparent, opaque or opalescent (translucent) depending on the type of base silica used.
---2.Preparing the metal is an important part. It must be cleaned of any dirt or grease from finger prints. After cleaning handle the metal by the edges. Use a cleaning agent like penny bright and a scrubbing pad. When water sheens in a sheet the metal is clean. Clean both sides so it can be counter enameled.
---3.Basic Firing is done for most opaque and transparent enamels at 1450 to 1500 degrees F. Coat the back surface with counter enamel to be fired to relieving any stress put on the metal after face coat is done. It will help keep it flat. A good fired piece has a flat gloss finish not a sugar coated or orange peel look which means it is underover fired. Some larger pieces my require more fire time.
|7. Torch Firing Enamels-Here is a video on Torch Firing Torch Firing at Cooltools.us Only small pieces should be torch fired.|
|8..Pencil Underglaze-Amaco developed an underglaze pencil at $15 but a 2B 4B graphite lead will work if you have good tooth from the Armoral Etch. You can shadow with a paper blender (stomp)..Here is a great video link on this process at which is about 50 minutes but is very informative. Using Pencil Underglaze. Here is CoolTools video version of the same process but the first video is the beast one. Enameling with Pencil Underglaze|
|9..P3 Underglaze - Fine Line Black from Cooltools This underglase is put on with a speedball tip or a quill pen for finer lines.|
|10.Watercolor Underglaze- Considered a ceramic underglaze has no glass but can be used on enamel with a clear top coat over it'd Sunshine overglaze does have glass and therefore needs no clear top enamel. Ceramic potters use under and over glazes on bisque fired pieces but they are used on enamels is pretty much the same with much less firing time. (FYI Cone to temp chart below))|
|11..P1 overglaze - Mix powder with clove, pine, or lavender oil and draw with a quill pen. Fired with no clear flux cover enamel|
|12.Using Sunshine Overglaze Paints - Sunshine Paints at Cooltools|
|13.Excellent 55 minute video on processes we have covered like underglaze pencil, painting, and clear finishing Underglaze Project Development|
|Thompson is the main source of colors and tools. Shipping is calculated after order. Price of enameling varies by color and size i.e. 8oz 1030 is $31 in May 2023. Shipping showed at $17 came but was actually $9.|
|Cool Tools||Good source for many types of creative work. Get underglaze paints both sunshine brand and underglaze watercolors.|
|Milstone Decals, Delphi Decals, Sanbao Decals||Most companies
ship 10 sheets for around $14. and the same for 1 sheet. Sheets run fro
$6 to $9 ea.
CoolTool decal firing instructions . Milstone firing instructions.
|Simple Decal firing with temperature and time or until glossy.||
Shot for 2 min at 1250 degrees., if not glossy yet, back in kiln for about 1 min.
Smaller Decals good for Jewelry : Firing instruction and information for AAE glass and enamels
|Liz Worthy decal Information||Great info if you were going to invest in printing decals.|
|Surfactant- (Suface Active Agent)||How does surfactant affect surface
When a surfactant is introduced to a liquid like water, some of the surfactant molecules migrate to the surface of the water. This creates a layer of weakly attracted molecules on the surface of this water/surfactant compound. The surface tension of this liquid is lower than if it were just water.
|CoolTool.us||Using Decals - Cool Tools Decal Video|
|Martha Banyas using underglazes||12 min. slide show with voice showing types of underglaze work.|
|Sunshine Enamel Paints Demo||Sunshine Overglazes fired 1300 for about 11/2 minutes depending on size or until glossy.|
|RioGrande||Good source for metal, metal clay, and tools which can be pricey.|
|SES Enameling Site||The Information Section is full of my resource links.|
|Scientific analysis of bonding glass to metal||For those interested this discusses the oxidation of various metals which forms the bond between metal and glass.|
|My Jewelry Ideas and others that I admire.||Mary Hettmanperbeger / Becky Burt (More stone and silver but great design.) /|
|Acid Etching Metal||Ferric Chloride is a pretty strong acid so safety is important. Glove and Goggles Recommended. Design etching creates cavities for enameling or patina fills. Armour etch or Etch All is used to create matt finishes on enamel. (See Chart Below)|
|Micro Fasteners||For cold connections for those who are not set up to solder.|
|John C. Campbell Folk School||Great School in Brasstown NC for all kinds of crafts.|
|FDJTools||Everything you need for Jewelry, Beading, or Metalwork.|
|Copper Foil||Copper Foil on Amazon is best price at this link.|
|Acid etching||Etching uses Ferric Chloride which requires some safety precautions.|
|E-namel||Sell Japanese, Vintage, Opalescent, Milton Bridge Enamel, Base in England, shipping is a factor|
|Working with Mica Powder video||Mica is a heat resistant silicate minerals that can be split into thin layers. I can be used as a firing surface in kiln at high temperatures. As a powder it gives a sparkle to paints and enamels.|
|Sunshine Paints on glass||Video for on glass only.|
|Video for making Die Forms @ CoolTools.us|
Check back as I am adding resources periodically
I will demo and discuss most of this information in class and I demonstrate the various enameling processes.
Here are some of the enameling techniques used and taught in classes at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown North Carolina.
What is mesh size?
80 mesh means there are 80 openings in a standard wire mesh screen per linear inch. 40 mesh means there are 40 openings in a standard wire mesh screen per linear inch. We suggest using a 40 mesh screen in our sifters to apply base coats of 80 mesh enamel to metal or glass substrates.
6/20 mesh enamels are particles that have an average diameter of about 1/16” to 1/8”. These particles are ideal for bead making. Lump enamels (unground, unscreened enamels sometimes referred to as ‘frit’) are particles that range from 1/16” to 1” diameter chips or lumps. A variety of painting and liquid enamels are also available for specific substrates.
What should I know about how to safely use Thompson
Rule 1. Keep products out of reach of children and pets.
Please call 859-291-3800 if more specific information on any particular product is required.
What is enamel?
The most common glass is a fusion of silica, soda, lime, and a small amount of borax. Though normally transparent, various amounts of opacity can be produced by adding or growing crystals within the glass structure. A wide range of colors are produced by incorporating certain elements, mostly transition metals.
The physical properties of glass can be controlled to permit bonding to most metals, for example, gold, platinum, silver, copper, steel, cast iron and titanium.
The word ‘Enamel’ refers to the glass material
as well as to the finished product.
Different Flux Characteristics.
2008 – A low expansion clear used as the base coat
for the crackle technique when Liquid Form-Water Base enamels are used
for the second coat. 2008 is also good as a cover coat when working on
titanium white steel panels.
How are enamels applied to metal?
A sifter with a 100 mesh screen in the bottom of the cup is preferable when applying enamel through a stencil. Some sifting stack screens filter out larger enamel particles so smaller grains go through a 100 or 200 mesh sifter.
When sifting enamel, sift around the outer edge of an object first, then move toward the center. The bottom of the sifter should be completely covered with enamel for a more uniform sift. A holding agent such as Klyr-fire used in a sprayer that can create a fine mist will be required when coating a 3-dimensional object. It is best to apply alternating thin coats of spray, then enamel, then spray, then enamel, until an even coat has been achieved. If using a water based holding agent, the water must be dried before firing.
Enamel may also be applied by wetting with water and spooned onto a substrate surface or with use of a spreader or fine sable brush. This is how the Cloisonne, Champlleve, or Acid Etched cavity techniques are accomplished. The trick to successful wet inlay (wet charging or wet packing) is to keep the enamel saturated with water. Too much water or too little water and the enamel is not manipulable. Water may need to be added or wicked out with a paper towel while working. The work is 100% dried before firing.
If water is used in enamel applications as mentioned above, the metal first should be degreased with a surfactant. The easiest method is to heat copper until it flashes with color (annealing to green) but not so long to create black copper oxide. Using Penny Bright is another method of degreasing the copper.
It is important that the primary coat of enamel be as complete and as perfect as possible for the first firing. Faults in the enamel are not easy to correct after the enamel has been fired in place. Unless fire-scale is meant to be part of the design, a sufficient amount of enamel should be applied so that burned out areas do not occur. However, thin coats are better than thick coats. More enamel may be reapplied if the coat is on the thin side, but too much enamel is a bigger problem. Too thick of an application may result in the enamel popping off. As you continue to practice enameling, you will learn what is too little and what is too much. It is important to note that enamel, when properly applied and fired, does not flow out, but rather pulls in toward the greater mass unless gravity affects the movement. If the enamel pulls away from the edge after firing, the cause could be too heavy enamel application.
We suggest that both sides of the metal are enameled. Counter enamel is sold as a mixture of colors, however any enamel may be used as counter enamel. Counter enamel is applied to reduce stress exerted on the enamel by the metal after the piece is cool or during cooling. Counter enamel literally equalizes or counters the pull of the metal on the enamel. The thickness of the metal and the thickness of the enamel are relative in this matter. As the enamel thickness increases, the support thickness must also increase unless other structural considerations have been made in the metal.
Painting Enamels are much more finely ground. They may be combined with a painting medium and applied with a brush. Painting enamels are generally applied to a pre-fired enamel surface.
Liquid Form, Water Base Enamels are formulated to be applied by spraying, dipping or pouring. These liquid enamels have clay in them. The clay allows the coating to ‘set’ after application. If applied with a brush, brush marks may occur.
Liquid Form Brushable Enamels are formulated to be applied with a brush. These enamels can be applied directly to metal or on top of other enamels. Some like to sift a little 80 mesh powder into the wet applied brushable enamel. When the brushable enamel is dried, the surface is quite handleable which allows one to then enamel both sides for the first firing. This is especially helpful to reduce warping when enameling thinner gauges of copper.
Questions to ask if there is creaking or enamel from metal separation.
Has the piece been counter enameled?