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Best way to casually enamel?


#1

Hi

This question is for the enamelists:

So far, I’ve been relatively happy forging cross earrings, pendant
frames, and chain out of fine silver (.999 fineness).

I’m ready to expand the niche I am in slightly. Basically, I want to
add some color (and incidently an antioxidation layer) to portions of
the silver by firing enamel over it, preferably with a torch.

On the other hand, I don’t want to have to become a full-time
enamelist to do so.

I’ve already done some research into supply websites, and I think I
know what I want, but I want my reasoning checked by experts before I
send my order out.

Here’s what I think I want to do:

  1. Cover portions of my earrings with a clear or transparent coat,
    prefer ably without having to counter-enamel on the opposite side of
    the metal, then fire.

  2. Apply enameling marking pens to the clear coat, for detailed
    accents, then fire again, because the marking pens do not operate on
    bare metal.

Anything I missing?
Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#2

Just as a matter of curiosity – what are you going to do with that
bare “other side”?

Margaret


#3

Greetings Andrew,

I believe that your premise is sound. I’ve done quite a bit of
torch-fired enameling in my time, and hope that I can help. I use
either a MAPP gas torch or my oxy-propane torch to fire small
enamels, straight propane torches will not get hot enough to
adequately fire enamels.

Be aware that you will experience some slight doming in your pieces
when you don’t counter enamel. Also, fire scale is more of an issue
with torch firing, so it is important to clean really well between
firings. I wouldnot recommend trying to torch-fire anything greater
than 2" in diameter…it is very difficult to maintain a consistant
temperature on larger pieces, and you can end up with very irregular
doming (which is not pretty).

I hope that helps, and good luck in your foray into enamelling,
-Brenda Tighe


#4

Andrew - you can do just what you described, but honestly the best
test is to just do a test. You can enamel just 1 side of and item;
however, it may not last long term. Enamel on the back (counter
enamel) helps balance the tension of the enamel on the front. It is
preferable to have equal amounts of enamel on both sides.

My best guess is that it will work for a couple of well applied
layers on one side as long as the gauge of fine silver is not too
thin. I am not familiar with the pens or crayons. Let us know if you
can obtain fine detail this way.

Last, please drop the earrings, clean them a few times, even
aggressively, etc. It is important to know how a new process while
wear in the real world. If failure is too easy, there is a problem
and a solution should be found before selling them.

Enameling is fun! Go for it!

Kay Cummins
Out And About Girls
www.OutAndAboutGirls.com


#5

Andrew - you can do just what you described, but honestly the best
test is to just do a test. You can enamel just 1 side of and item;
however, it may not last long term. Enamel on the back (counter
enamel) helps balance the tension of the enamel on the front. It is
preferable to have equal amounts of enamel on both sides.

My best guess is that it will work for a couple of well applied
layers on one side as long as the gauge of fine silver is not too
thin. I am not familiar with the pens or crayons. Let us know if you
can obtain fine detail this way.

Last, please drop the earrings, clean them a few times, even
aggressively, etc. It is important to know how a new process while
wear in the real world. If failure is too easy, there is a problem
and a solution should be found before selling them.

Enameling is fun! Go for it!
Kay Cummins
Out And About Girls
OutAndAboutGirls.com


#6

Greetings Jewelry Wizards: How well does enamel last compared to an
epoxy resin such as Colores? I know that enamel cracks, but is resin
durable? Can you put resin on a piece and then put a patina on it
later?

Sally


#7

Sally, first of all enamel, if applied correctly does not crack. As
far as holding up, examples of enamels dating back to ancient Greece
have been found, and the museums are filled with excellent examples
of enameling made ages and ages ago, all in perfect condition.

Alma


#8

Sally, I can’t speak to enamel, but I work with resin and from my
experience, I find it to be very durable.

I have purposefully tested both with what I refer to as ‘unfinished
resin’ and ‘finished resin’.

Unfinished resin - poured and cured, with a gloss surface - can be
’dented’ but it will bounce back. I have put a deep groove into it
with a fingernail and it will bounce back and the mark is
undetectable. (the rate at which it bounces back differs but it
always comes back)

Finished resin - poured, cured, sanded to a matte finish. I find
this is rock hard and isn’t easily scratched or dented.

Now, both could certainly be gouged the same as just about any other
material, but I find resin to be remarkably durable and versatile.

I have applied patina on finished resin pieces, to the entire piece,
resin included (submerged in LOS), but I always sand again after.
The patina can leave lighter colored resins looking a little dingy.
My experience hasn’t shown that the patina damages the resin in any
way. However, I don’t know about submerging ‘unfinished resin’.

Alternately you could selectively patina by painting the patina on.

Janice
Doxallo.com


#9

Sally,

I made a Colores necklace about eight years ago and it is still
bright yellow. The test pieces I made for it are still bright polka
dots yellow, white, apple green and pale orange. It has not cracked
but because I live in the Boston area, I do not wear it in temps
below freezing. I don’t believe you can put a patina on it but you
can streak it in other colors.

Good luck.
MA


#10

I’ve been told that you can’t go without counter enamel unless its
18g or higher.

Claudia


#11

Re: the durability of enamel…We have examples of enameling from
ancient Egypt, from the Celts, from China and on and on and on.
Enameling, well done, can endure for many centuries.

Re: Epoxy resin… the clock is ticking, but we really don’t know
the durability of the colours or the material. It just hasn’t been
around that long, has it.

Linda Kaye-Moses


#12

I still have cuff links and a tie bar that I made by enamelling
pennys 40 years ago. They are still pretty and so far have not
cracked.

John in Indiana


#13

Hi, Are there enamel colors that can be printed with screen printing?

Thank you and best regards,
Tony & Jennifer Hisir


#14

Yes-porcelain enamels can-very finely ground enamels mixed with
liquid-I know someone who did that for a number of years. If no one
else pipes up I can forward your email to him and have him reply.

Eileen Schneegas


#15

The finely divided enamels used in the production of transfers for
pottery can be used for screen printing. Many years ago I had a
friend in the Stoke on Trent potteries and he made photographicaly
produced tranfers for me in glass enamel which I could fire on to
enamelled metal objects. Well worth researching the use of enamels on
pottery as the glazes they us are the same glass enamel we use on
metals.

Hope that helps. Hamish


#16

Epoxy Resin enamel has its place but cannot compare with the work of
the Arts and Crafts movement when wonderful colours were fired over
fine silver foil or pure gold foil. Just look at the work of Rene
Lalique in the early part of the 20th century, the colours are
fabulous and will remain so for ever.

Regards Hamish


#17

Tony,

Screen printing enamel is possible. You can either screen print the
adhesive and then dust the enamel on, shaking off the excess, screen
print a mordant and then etch the metal prior to putting on a clear
enamel, or screen print a liquid enamel.

Scott


#18

Wear jeans, a tee shirt and comfortable shoes…


#19

I’ve got solid high-fire glazes for porcelain. Could I use these on
silver or copper as well to test the waters of enamelling, or do I
need a dedicated set of transparent enamels for silver?

Andrew Jonathan Fine


#20
I have applied patina on finished resin pieces, to the entire
piece, resin included (submerged in LOS), but I always sand again
after. 

Since I am new to “stone finishes” I need to get my terms straight.

Is patina the word for thin glazing? I read Robin Hopper’s book “The
Ceramic Spectrum” and he/she? mentions both but does not define them
separately.

The Hamer and Hamer dictionary says glaze is “a layer of glass” but I
am thinking the glazes, patinas and mineral stains which I see in
nature are not always silicates.

When Hopper gets around to colouring, he/she? suggests being creative
and looking around the house for all kinds of “stuff” to add to the
mix. In the end, the question is - Does it do the job?

There seems to be a stone-finishing chemical interaction. I guess one
could get very scientific about it, eg 10 stones x 10 finishers.

I’ve tried the finishers/protectants sold for granite etc; also
urethane-varathane. Also epoxy which is expensive and an even more
expensive plastic. Linseed oil enhances some stones. Water works
about as well as any of them. Too bad it evaporates.

I’ve heard of “vinyl nail polish”. Can’t find it here. Has anyone
tried it?

For opaque finishes -What about enamel paints? I have two hardware
store products now- Sheffield’s “metallic leaf finish” and “gold leaf
finish”? I have not yet used them. Has anyone else? Gold and silver
foil?

I still wonder about “torch-on” enamelling after seeing that BBC
video on diamond making especially. How much chemical change can
there be from heat alone? Can elements change?