Sunday, January 31, 2010

slow-cooked beads

Well, the kiln isn't going to work, and there's no way I can make it do so.  It heats up way too fast and cools down too fast as well.  So how can I slow down the cooling process enough to stabilize larger beads?  I'm not talking about beads that use an entire rod or more, just larger than the 1/2 inch or so I've been doing.  I particularly want to do beads on silver core liners and 3/16 mandrels and there's 3/4 inch if the bead is to be as thick as the mandrel or more.  I decided that the annealing bubble I was using was ok but soaking up too much heat from the beads.  I have a crockpot I hardly ever use and the high heat setting is about 350 degrees.  This isn't the 500 - 900 degrees a kiln would give me but it will slow down cooling a bit.
 This worked out fairly well, with one failure pictured below.  The bead above is  my experiment with fine silver wire.  Not much but I'm learning and will try more later.  I like this bead made on a silver core.  It's just dark ivory with sis but the core does add to the bead.  I wish I had done the sedona and sis bead below on a core now, too, but how would I know the  sedona would develop such a neat color cast.  Joe asked me why the ends were all rough, like porcelain, and after stifling the urge to throttle him I explained that some glasses devitrify and lose their glaze.  I like the way the edge is, and that is the part that will show, anyway.
 I thought the Effetre sandstone was very much like ivory, and it is.  Below is a bead 1/2 sandstone and 1/2 vetro ivory with dots of one on the other.  Pretty darn similar.
 To testify to the efficacy of the crockpot arrangement, here is a bead made with CiM peacock green and Effetre dark silver plum that's over 1/2  thick and didn't crack.  I didn't squash it either, but I didn't want to push my luck.  The deformed bead below wrapped with silver wire was my first effort, with the torch running out of fuel just as I finished wrapping the wire.  I relit it and cracked the bead, but it stayed together long enough to reheat and melt together somewhat before I ran out of gas again.

There is just no excuse for this one, other than I think I was looking at it too long.  Too bad, it would have been nice.  I wonder if the core can be salvaged?

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