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Q&A Monday – 2/17/2014

Jodi McRaney RushoGood Morning!  Last weeks newsletter brought up a lot of questions about cutting bottles for fusing and a bunch of other stuff too.  Let’s get right to it, shall we?  (all of the identifying information had been changed to protect privacy.  If I’ve posted one of your questions and you would like attribution and a back link, let me know.)

Q: I am sure enjoying your emails and ideas! I have a question: how are you cutting the bottles vertically? Are you using a saw? If so, what kind? I am currently using an actual tile wet saw, and the vertical cuts are difficult–not enough room for the bottle to travel under the blade. Beer bottles (short ones) Work ok in the cut. I am experimenting now with them!

A: Once I have the cylinder, I use a pistol grip glass cutter to score the bottle from the inside on opposite sides (I usually follow the seams in the glass) and then use my running pliers to break it. That might be hard to picture, so I’ll try to get a video. I love my tile saw, after cutting bottles with the score and heat method, the saw was a life saver.

Q: I am currently trying to cut bottles to make some of those very cute plates that you had on your blog! However, as much as I have cut bottles in the past., making two cuts & not just one is a challenge! I can make the cuts – but when I do the hot/cold separation in water I have more of the bottles shatter than not……. am I doing something wrong?? I scored at least a dozen bottles – blue skye vodka and lt. green wine – and only got about 6 that I think I can try to use……. is there a trick that I don’t know about??

A: It sounds like you might be getting them too hot in one place. I leave them in the heat until they ping and then turn them if I’m using a candle, or turning continuously if using a plumbers torch.

Part of it is just plain old practice. I found the score and heat method sufficiently annoying to move up to an inexpensive tile saw.

Q: So I just bought a used glass saw from a friend – I can use that? I’ve never used it –

A: absolutely! It’ll scare the crap out of you at first because it’s so fast, but after a minute you will love it! Just remember, it can’t cut you, it can only grind off some skin! (how’s that for helpful?) =D

Q: Do you know if you can use bottle glass crushed in molds? I am talking about ceramic frit molds? I have a couple molds that I’d love to use bottle glass on but don’t want to ruin as I’ve not used them yet…. they are about 1/2-1″ deep and range from 3″ to about 8″ across.

A: Yes, you can use crushed bottle glass in ceramic molds. Frits can be tricky because they require a lot of heat to fuse back into solid glass, and bottles aren’t really formulated to work that way. It can be done, it will just take some experimenting. It’s easier to use small pieces of cut up bottle, or if you have tile nippers, nip some small chunks. Make sure your molds are well kiln washed and then fire with a full fuse firing schedule. If your pieces are lumpy after fusing, hold at the top temperature a little bit longer next time.

I’d try one mold first, rather than putting all of them in, but I’m a big fan of testing everything before I commit, so there is that.

Let me know how it works out. If you have trouble, send me a photo and I’ll see what I can help with.

Q: I would love to get a copy of the two part vase that comes apart. I do not see the “how to” on this site. Thanks.

A: That one is on the list for upcoming tutorials, stay tuned!

Q: Hi Jodi,

I wanted to ask you how the book is coming and do you have a estimated release date as of yet?

A: The text is finished, I’m working through the photography now. Thank you for your patience, I’m hoping in to have a digital release in the next 6-8 weeks. Folks on the newsletter list will have first crack at it before I make it available to the general public.