To finish out the year, I thought we’d do something fun today and list the top reader questions from 2014. These are the questions that I get asked the most often.
5. Q. How do I make glass donuts?
A. There are a lot of factors that go into making perfect donuts, I cover some of them in a post about Glass Donuts and Rings. There is an additional factor though, that was covered in a newsletter. A really good diamond saw blade makes all the difference in the world. (You are on the mailing list, right?)
4. Q. Can I mix bottle glass when fusing?
A. Yes. Cautiously. Sometimes. I’m a huge advocate for experimentation, and have had some very good successes with mixing bottles, and some catastrophic failures. The key is to test everything and keep good notes. If you want to start experimenting, I recommend starting with multiple bottles of the same brand. For instance, Skyy Vodka or Jamison. Both companies use consistent, high quality glass bottles. Another good one is beer bottles, stick with the same brand and you will mostly have success. Mixing bottle glass colors calls for strict testing of smaller pieces and tracking what glass came from where. I highly recommend getting a good handle on single color processes before attempting mixed bottle glass colors.
3. Q. What kind of kiln should I buy?
A. The kind you can afford. If you are just starting out, a 110v kiln with a 12″ or 14″ shelf will keep you busy for a long time. I have a Skutt kiln with a 15″ octagon shelf, and I used it for 7 years before I needed something larger. If you are looking to upgrade to a much larger kiln, I have a Denver, and it is quite efficient and reliable. If you are super strapped for cash, consider trying to find a used kiln. And, don’t rule out a ceramics kiln. If you can find a 12″ deep one with an electronic controller, you can easily use it for glass.
2. Q. What kind of tile saw do you recommend?
A. I’ve owned several tile saws in the last few years, and I highly recommend getting a reliable saw of appropriate power and buying the very best blade possible. A 7″ saw can accomplish amazing things with a good blade. I personally own a Chicago Machinery 2.5 horsepower, 10″ tile saw.
I use it with an MK Diamond blade for glass tile, and I LOVE it! It does take up a lot of space though.
1. Q. What is the best way to cut bottles?
A. I personally prefer a tile saw. However, there are a number of perfectly serviceable cutters out there that score a bottle and then use heat and cold to thermal shock the score and break the bottle evenly. I do not recommend the burning string method, so many possibilities for injury and breakage.