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Q & A Monday 9/30/13

Jodi McRaney RushoLots of readers send me their questions directly, but there are a whole host of questions that get asked anonymously.  One tool that I use to help decide what to write about is Google Keyword Search statistics.  Now, alas, Google is discontinuing the service, so as a tribute and a farewell, I’m pulling questions from the Keyword Searches and answering them here:

  • Q: how to cut a wine bottle with a tile saw
  • A: It’s amazing how many times this one comes up in searches.  I have a couple of videos about cutting bottles with a tile saw, but I think people need to see it a bunch of times before they feel comfortable giving it a go.  The basic things to remember are:  go slow, use lots of water, and the quality of the blade is critical.
  • Q: how to fuse glass on copper
  • A:  Well, now, this one is slightly confusing.  Are we talking about enameling?  Or fusing with metal inclusions.  As this one comes up in searches a bunch, I’m betting they mean copper inclusions.  Copper is a great thing to use for inclusions, you can cut shapes out of copper foil, or punch them with scrapbooking punches.  Copper comes in wire, sheet, mesh and other fancy forms if you look hard enough.  Use a regular fuse firing schedule.
  • Q:  how to make fused bottle glass donuts
  • A:  Another frequent question.  Making glass donuts is fairly easy, hack off the neck of the bottle and fuse it flat.  The real trick is how to make perfect glass donuts.  The answer is not difficult, but it can be more expensive.  To make perfectly consistent fused glass donuts, you MUST have a really great saw blade.  A glass saw blade does two things for you, first, it makes your cuts very consistent, second, the cut marks of a good glass blade are fine enough that they will fuse smooth, leaving you with a remarkably consistent finish.
  • Q:  how to make glass tiles from recycled glass
  • A:  You can make kiln fired glass tiles from recycled glass two different ways (that I know of, send in others if you think of them):  1.  frit tiles, which are made with bottle glass, ground very small and packed into molds, then fused at high temperatures to become a new, very stone like piece of glass.  2.  fused glass, cut pieces of glass fused to create a nice finish.  These will be very glossy and glass like.  To keep a square edge, use a slumping schedule and fire polish the tiles instead of full fuse.
  • Q:  kiln carving fused glass
  • A:  Oh my friend, you have come to the right place!  There are monthly free kiln carving patterns available for download, as well as a compilation of all the free patterns from 2012.  Each has full instructions, and links to supplies needed.
  • Q:  metal inclusions in fused glass
  • A:  There are quite a few different metals that can be fused in glass.  Some quite common ones and a great place to start are aluminum foil and aluminum soda cans.
  • Q:  can you crush bottles to use for fusing glass
  • A:  Yes, you can.  And, you can mix the frit from different bottles, as long as the particles are small enough (think organic sugar).  It is very, very difficult to use these frits on sheet glass however.  It can be done, but be prepared for extensive testing and a high failure rate (90%+).
  • Q:  can you slump a textured bottle and keep the texture
  • A:  Yes, you can.  If you use a fuse firing schedule, the texture will melt out.  Use a slumping temperature and you can maintain the texture.  The bottle will likely not be as flat, since the temperatures required to flatten a bottle are also high enough to flatten texture.  The same applies to textured window glass.
  • Q:  can you use any bisqueware bowl to slump glass
  • A:  Yes, as long as it has been properly kiln washed.  You can use glazed ceramic bowls as well, as long as they are well coated with mold separator.  For glazed ceramic, I recommend MR-97 Boron Nitride spray.

MR 97 Boron Nitride Spray

  • Q: can you use fiber paper on a slumping ceramic mold?
  • A:  Yes, but keep in mind that fiber paper will leave an impression on the glass.  So, if you are using fiber paper in the bottom of a kiln washed bisque mold to add texture, you’re golden.  If you are trying to use fiber paper instead of kiln wash on a glazed ceramic mold, I would recommend the MR-97 as a more likely solution.  Also, fiber paper will work better in shallow molds rather than steep sided molds.
  • Q: can you use pieces rather than frit for casting glass
  • A: Yes, but you should make sure they are all from the same bottle, unless you are doing a pot melt, in which case you have slightly more leeway because all of the pieces melt together and form a new piece of glass with a unique CoE.
  • Q: can you use recycled glass from thrift shops in kiln
  • A:  Absolutely!  Particularly if you treat each piece as you would an individual bottle, and not mix them.  Also, watch out for painted glass.  That gorgeous red vase….probably not red glass.
  • Q:  coe of bottle glass and float glass
  • A:  This is a very interesting question which will require a bit of technical information before I tell you the answer.  Container (bottle) and flat (float) glass manufacturing are extremely big business in this country.  In all countries, actually.  Both bottle and float glass manufacturers produce glass 24/7, 365 days a year.  The ingredient mix is very carefully formulated and monitered by computers, lasers and other high tech gadgets.  Here’s the part that you need to wrap your head around:  Because the furnaces are never empty, everything that comes out of that batch, that continuous 24/7, 365 batch is the exact same CoE.  If you think about it that way, CoE becomes less important at a manufacturing level (it is still critical in other areas).  That being said, float and bottle glass CoE is somewhere around 82, plus or minus 2 or 3 based on which factory, color, etc.  Test everything.  Every time.
  • Q: deformed glass rings from wine bottles
  • A:  As we discussed before, the quality of the cut is critical on bottle rings.  Due to the way bottles are manufactured, the glass gets thinner in the middle of the bottle, then thicker towards the bottom.  You really have to maintain a near equal ratio of height and thickness to get perfect donuts.  Therefore, if you have 3/8″ tall rings of 1/8″ thick glass, you will get deformed rings.  I recommend cutting most of your rings from the thicker parts of the bottle, or finding thick bottles to begin with.
  • Q: does jodi mcraney rusho have art in any public buildings?
  • A:  Nope.  Public art isn’t really how I roll.  Although I did help a grade school create art glass panels with their kids that are permanently installed at the school.
  • Q: what color does brass metal turn when fired in glass in kiln
  • A:  If the brass is fully encased in glass, it stays gold.  Exposed to air (such as loops), it oxidizes and has a dark coating.  The brass color can easily be restored with a wire brush or scrubby.
  • Q:  what can be fused into glass
  • A:  Oh, so many things.  Many kinds of metal, many kinds of sand and dirt, leaves, sticks, things cut out of fiber paper and thin fire, mica, paint, chalk, photo paper (the kind for kilns!).
  • Q:  why colored bottle fused clear?
  • A:  Probably because it was painted rather than colored glass.  This is very common with red bottles and occasionally happens with light blue bottles.  You can often tell a bottle is painted by examining the neck, usually the paint doesn’t go all the way to the rim.  Also, paint can usually be scratched with a razor or other sharp implement.  Red glass is extremely costly to produce, so lots of manufacturers rely on red paint instead.