Jodi McRaney RushoWow, it seems like it was just summer a minute ago, and now we’re barreling into the holiday season and 2013 is coming to a close. Crazy stuff.  Today I’m answering reader’s questions, if you have a question, send it on over.

There was a great newsletter last week about what a good tile saw blade will do for you, and THE question I got the most in the last 2 weeks is:

Q:  What is the model of saw??

A:  My lovely saw is from Harbor Freight and is the 2.5 hp 10″ Industrial Tile and Brick Saw.  I have the previous model that is orange instead of blue, but the specs are the same.  The blade is direct from MK Diamond.

Also, a comment from a reader that will be useful:  “I don’t do a high volume of sawing, but after researching on the internet, I chose to buy the SkilSaw tile saw from Home Depot pairing it with the proper size MK Diamond tile saw. The cuts with it have been excellent. The reviews for the SkilSaw were quite good and included good reviews by a few glass artists. Hands down, the MK Diamond blades are the best. This combo might be a less expensive alternative for some of the glass artists who follow your newsletter, if you want to mention it.” – Jean T.  (Thank you Jean!)

Q: I love your website. I have a question for you. I want to melt a Sapphire gin bottle for a friend of mine. They are light blue. I tried one before and the color disappeared but I have seen them online melted with the color intact. Can you suggest a schedule that might work for this?

A: It’s less a question of what firing schedule, and more a question of whether your bottle is painted blue or solid blue glass. I have run across both with Sapphire Gin. You can try scraping off the color on the bottle with a razor, or check the rim to see if the blue goes all the way
to the edge. Usually with painted bottles, the very top edge of the rim is unpainted so the alcohol doesn’t touch paint when you pour.

If it looks like the bottle is solid blue glass, you can use my standard firing schedule for a full fuse (not a slump).

Q: Of course, what else would it be, than a glass question. You’re the only person I know who works with recycled glass, and I have a challenge that I cannot figure out.

I cut the bottom and the neck off of wine bottles, leaving me with a cylinder. Sometimes I cut rings out of the cylinder, and sometimes I cut strips (sometimes Xmas tree shapes, sometimes triangles to assemble in to stars). Lately, I have been cutting lots of strips. I melt/fuse them at the following schedule

500/hr to 1117, hold 20 min

250/hr to1325, hold 0 min

full to 1495, hold 45 min

500/hr to 950, hold 1 hour

This is in a small JenKen octagonal 11″ diameter kiln, single layer of glass. The green and gold glass comes out like a perfect full fuse…soft edges, shiny, a little thicker than it went in…perfect for chimes. However, blue glass…not so much. Doesn’t seem to matter if it’s light blue or dark blue, different wineries…the blue glass has sharp pointy corners, it is dull and almost crazed on the surface…not very pretty. My first thought was that it is underfired, and I thought maybe the crazing indicated that it was in the kiln too long. Too long, not hot enough. So I raised the temperature to 1525, and shortened the time to 20 minutes. No difference.

I also have to mention that my kiln temperature registers 20 degrees warmer at room temperature…my basement is typically 65, kiln temp sitting empty with the lid open registers 85. So anyway….I was wondering if you might have any insight? Also thought I would mention…blue is the most popular color when I do craft show/sales. Everyone, it seems, loves blue.

A: I think your burning the glass actually. I do a full fuse at 1550 (which would be very close to your 1525+20) and hold for 3 minutes. 20 minutes seems like waaaay too long to me.

Also, I notice if I melt things with the inside of the bottle facing up, I get devit, particularly in blue. I would shorten the hold time and make sure you’re firing with the outside of the bottle up.

If that doesn’t work, can you send me a photo of the problem pieces? That helps a lot.