Sep 22, 2009

How to fuse glass to silver wire.

I was recently asked about how to fuse glass on the ends of silver wire.  Here's the question.....

I would like to wrap a fine silver wire in a curlicue around a mandrel and then fuse glass on the ends. What would be the best way to do this.

Here's what I would suggest.... Get a hot plate and put the little kiln shelf on top and then place the pieces of glass that you want to attach on the shelf. Slowly bring up the heat on the hot plate as high as you can go. Use a small bit of glass (the same COE) and place it between the wire and the glass you want to fuse. Use a butane torch (the kind you use for Creme Brullee (they have these for sale at Harbor Freight for about $4.99.) Flash the heat on and off the glass and the wire - focusing on the bit of glass between the two pieces. Once you know the piece isn't going to pop from thermal shock, then really heat up the middle piece until it's glowing. (Try to shoot the flame across, not directly toward the hot plate.) As soon as the mid section looks glowing orange, use something, a small graphite paddle would be the best, and quickly smash the layers together. Give the whole piece a flash of heat to prevent any cool spots. Then put the whole thing in a fiber blanket and let it cool slowly. Because your piece is small it shouldn't need to be annealed. If you find that it cracks. Try annealing it after you finish your final flash.

Hope this helps some of you artists out there.  Let me know how it all works for you!

Liz


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