fivefingeropenThis getting ready to move stuff is a pain but with some compensations; I inventoried my raw glass stock (came up with about 90 sheets of glass that will be coming to a garage sale soon), and my fingers started itching to cut glass.

Seems like ages since I’ve laid cutter to glass, or chonked a piece off a glass rod. And there was all that lovely scrap that I don’t want to move.

Some of it will be given to school and community center projects, but there was a bunch of nearly useless skinny pieces…so I banged out some keystone projects.

Nothing great, certainly not great art, but a nice change of pace from the intensity of casting and a nice way to turn a bunch of scrap into something that holds fruit.

fivefingercreamsHad a whole bunch of strip-cut white glass and small scrap, so I laid it into a big bowl mold, added a ribbon of red/orange/yellow cut rod pieces for accent.

This is a relatively easy project. The hard part, of course, is cutting and building up all those strips.

Fortunately, precision has nothing to do with it; I like the look of rough strips tackfused together. And since this is laid directly in the mold, from the bottom center heading up and out, it needs smaller pieces that can be interwoven to fit the corners and curves.

ribbon1That means I can use up even tiny pieces of scrap. I built the ribbon of cut rod first (judiciously superglued in spots to keep it in place), then piled up my white/cream scrap and started cutting.

I didn’t have enough of any one neutral to do the whole bowl (this mold is about 16 inches across and maybe 3 inches high), so I used them all. That meant I needed to mix things up a bit, to ensure that colors were evenly distributed.

ribbon2Since some of these were strikers (and, in fact, there were a couple of Salmon Pinks in there I hadn’t really counted on–good lesson in correctly separating your scrap) I kinda had to take the colors on faith.

I cut the pieces small enough to conform to the mold’s contours (and although I did clean the pieces, I wasn’t all that fussy about getting the magic marker off, as you can see), then I stacked them into the mold, resting them first on the ribbon, then on the bottom of the mold.

During firing, gravity would slide the pieces down to the bottom of the mold and they’d lock together; I slid thin strips into the gaps made by two rods to ensure locking.

ribbon3I’ve found there’s a trick to getting the strips to go around corners; you need to provide enough surface area for a good tack-fuse to make the bowl hold together. As above, I did that by weaving pieces together and interlocking the verticals against the horizontals.

There are a LOT of pieces of glass in this thing, but it’s soothing work if you’ve got good music or a movie going. And it also lends itself to some cool closeup photography:

Did a couple others I’m not quite done with yet, but this one’s pretty much ready to go and the style has all kinds of possibilities. If you’ve got a bunch of scrap, it’s a fun project to try.

ribbon4ADDENDUM: This is NOT your average flat-fuse. It’s a tackfuse, which means it remains a collection of somewhat fused but separate pieces of glass. That, in turn, means you’ve got a lot of potential stress points that need time to relax.

This piece is a half-inch (12mm) thick at its thickest point. That isn’t nearly enough for a tack-fuse with this many stress points, so I started with an annealing schedule for a piece nominally 3 times as thick, or 1.5 inches.

Yes, you’re going to spend a lot more time waiting for the kiln to finish, but look at it this way: It’s a lot quicker than having to rebuild all those daggone strips…

I played around with strip tests until I came up with a modified schedule that gave the glass more time to relax but slightly accelerated the cooldown.

The schedule’s below, with the usual “your mileage may vary” warnings. Remember, since this is a tackfuse, your mileage will REALLY vary depending on kiln position, glass colors you use, whether or not you include the rod pieces (they’re probably the most vulnerable part of this layup).

Please, please, PLEASE do some test runs to develop your own schedules and save yourself some king-sized heartaches.

Schedule is in Fahrenheit:

  • 200dph to 1100, no hold
  • 75 dph to 1240, no hold (most of the slump/tack happens here)
  • 50dph to 1300, hold 10 minutes (solidifies the joins, finishes edges)
  • AFAP to 960, hold 8 hours
  • 20dph to 800, no hold
  • 40dph to 700, no hold
  • 80dph to room temp, OFF