Jodi McRaney Rusho

Can you believe how fast time flies?  Already Monday again.  Today I’m answering questions about trying to cut bottles when Amazon doesn’t ship to your country, where to buy brass chain, fusing glass gems and some mica questions.  These are all actual reader questions, I’ve removed any personal details for privacy.  If you have a question, send it on over!



Q: Hi Jodi,
can you please guide me as to how can I buy a bottle cutting machine?
I live in India and has it only in the US for sale and it is beyond my reach.
Since this shall be difficult what other way would it be possible to lay me hands on
one such gadget.
I was also thinking of a drill machine with a diamond cutting blade. I am not sure
whether it is safe.
Please let me have your opinion.
With best wishes.

A: I think the best way to cut bottles is with a tile saw with a diamond blade. I’m not sure if that is any more reachable for you though. My concern with a drill machine and diamond blade is the drill spins very quickly and can grab the bottle and wrench it from your hands, which can be dangerous.

If you can find a good glass cutter, it is possible to construct your own bottle cutter to score the glass and use heat and ice to crack the bottle along the score. Let me know if that would be more possible, I could do a blog post about making your own bottle cutter if that would help.

Thank you for your question and best regards,

Q: i’ve been reading you website which is very informative on many levels. i could definitely use the brass plumbers chain for my ornaments. but the local plumbing suppliers don’t carry it. they say it’s been replaced by other types of chain and the online suppliers want me to buy a million feet for $160. any idea where i can get a reasonable amount locally?

A: I get it at Ace hardware, they sell it by the foot. Only local place I’ve found. {Readers, if you’ve found a local source, feel free to leave the source and your geographical location in the comments. Thanks!}

Q: Hi Jodi! Love your work and your website! I have learned so much…Thank You so much for sharing you knowledge!! I do have a question. Have you ever fired decorative glass gems, the kind you put in flower vases? I recently bought some for a different project and they are so pretty I wondered if I put them in a mold what would happen. I have no way of knowing if they are compatible, only that they were in the same bag, or what the firing schedule should be.
Thanks for all your help!

A: I have used the decorative gems in firing, I got hold of a bag of cobalt ones at some point. I lined them up in a kiln washed mold and fused them together. They behaved very much like art glass temperature wise. I also used some of them in a jewelry mold and they worked very well.

I assumed that the entire bag would be from the same batch, and I didn’t have any compatibility issues. Maybe fuse 3 or so together and see if you have problems? If not, it’s probably a good bet they will be okay. I’m a big fan of fusing and letting the chips fall where they may!

If you do decide to fire, I would use an art glass fusing schedule, the main difference being the top temperature is about 100 degrees cooler, and the annealing temp is 960F.

Good luck and let me know how it turns out.

Q: I have a question about your testing of mica. I have several colors of mica from a local fused/stained glass supply. This stuff works great when I mix with aloe Vera gel and apply on glass and cap. But if uncapped it will wipe off after firing. What paint medium shd I use on surface that will hold? I often use bottle glass and cannot cap it due to varying COE.

Also, what brand paint pens are you using?

Thank you, I’m grateful for your posts!

A: Successful mica painting seems to rely on a few different factors:

1. the glass has to have ‘tooth’ or texture to it for the mica to grab onto.

I have not had any luck at all painting mica on already fused pieces, it just wipes off after firing. If you can acid etch, sandblast, or in some way rough up the area you want to mica paint after fusing (before slumping, say) then the mica will stick.

2. the temperature is critical, too hot and the mica burns off, too cool and it doesn’t stick

The glass has to get hot enough to get tacky. Often a slump temperature is enough. I slump at 1325-1350 (depending on which kiln)

3. the medium – I use liquid hairspray. The brand isn’t important, but it is important to buy a brand and stick with it. Some hairsprays don’t mix well with each other

My first though about aloe vera gel is that it probably holds the mica in suspension, where hairspray lets the mica settle down onto the surface of the glass before it dries. That may help the process by concentrating the mica against the surface.

Let me know if that helps, or just makes it more confusing! If you could send photos that would help a lot too, so I can see what we’re up against.

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