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Ceramit issues


#1

We recently made a man’s custom wedding band in 14k white gold, set
with diamonds and enameled. Because the ring would be worn everyday,
we decided to try Ceramit enamel rather than true hard fired enamel
on the assumption that the Ceramit might hold up better because it’s
supposedly less brittle. The ring was designed and milled with
CAD/CAM, and the enamel was placed into cells with a textured bottom,
more or less Champleve style.


#2

We recently made a man’s custom wedding band in 14k white gold, set
with diamonds and enameled. Because the ring would be worn everyday,
we decided to try Ceramit enamel rather than true hard fired enamel
on the assumption that the Ceramit might hold up better because it’s
supposedly less brittle. The ring was designed and milled with
CAD/CAM, and the enamel was placed into cells with a textured
bottom, more or less Champleve style.

Guess what-- the day of the wedding, half the enamel in one of the
cells popped out. Does anyone have any feedback as to Ceramit, vis a
vis durability, compatibility with white gold alloys,
troubleshooting, etc.

Our plan is to remove Ceramit from the offending cell and redo it–
or should we redo the whole ring?

Jim
www.mardonjewelers.com


#3

Initially, must be a 100% grease free surface for optimal bond. Mix
colours well out of the bottle(s) use an even application and if
filling a deep channel, may need to apply bake reapply remembering to
degrease (DO NOT USE ACETONE BETWEEN LAYERS) between applications if
fingers touched metal. also I have found a bit of bronze wool wrapped
around a bamboo skewer or similar small tapered pointed object, is a
good surface prep to add “tooth” to the metal. Remember its a
substance that shrinks a bit in baking ( despite what the
manufacturer says ) at the appropriate temp. and humidity and
ambient temperature affect both the application, time to cure and
final product. Insure that it sticks to the sides, use a toothpick to
burst bubbles ( if any- actually if you have bubbles remove the
material with an acetone whetted swab and reapply after cleaning and
degreasing thoroughly again), level the substrate on which you fire
the piece (a glazed tile, alumina hydrate in a stainless steel tray
or a clay saucer and the kiln if using one or centered oven rack if
no kiln is available. Regarding surface prep, you don’t want deep
scratches jst something to slightly make adhesion easier thatn on
polished metal. If you have polished your metal to a high shine
before adding the ceramit, you may have traces of compound
preventing adhesion. It’s a good practise to exclusively use a water
based compound when preparing the channel for ceramit ; wash well
then dry with hot air ( a blow dryer is optimal) to avoid lint or
fibres from being trapped under the material as some polishing cloths
deposit all sorts of things that prevent adhesion or make the process
less reliable and predictable. If you need more info feel free to
correspond off list.

R. E. R.


#4

Let me preempt a bunch of replies from the enamelist community: Just
refer to stuff like Ceramit as “resin inlay”, a lot of the vitreous
enamel purists take big exception to using “enamel” for referring to
the cold resins.

That said: Even with vitreous enamel, it’s not unheard of for a cell
to pop like that on a ring. The problem with wedding bands, is that
many people will keep them on even in the shower and the bath, and
it doesn’t take much of a thermal shift to get that cell pop effect
if there is the tiniest flaw in the resin or enamel adhesion.

I’d say examine the piece. If you don’t see any sign of voids or lack
of adhesion in the other cells, just clean out that specific cell and
re-do it. You might need to add a little undercut to the base of the
cell walls to give the resin a “key” to lock into.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL


#5

Jim, What a pain to have the Ceramit pop out on the day of the
wedding. Sort of implying bad luck?

Anyway, adding texture to the bottom of the cell can’t hurt but
better still would be if the cell could be fabricated with an
undercut. That way the material has no physical way of popping out.
Could be as simple as a slight divot added to the wall of the cell.
The ceramit would then fill the void thus making a tab that would
prevent the material from coming out.

While we are on the subject, is there a solvent for cured Ceramit?
Acetone?

Karla Maxwell…from Sunny So. California

Was driving around yesterday and came upon the devastation from the
wildfires. Miles of hillsides with only boulders remaining, tree
skeletons or trees that had so much moisture removed that the leaves
were intact but brown. It appeared as though I were viewing the
landscape in a sepia tone photograph. No color other than brown or
black.


#6

Hi Jim;

While it’s worthwhile to try new things, I think you might chalk this
particular technique up to experience (and thanks for sharing - you
may have saved many of us from similar frustration). See if you can
clean all the plastic gunk out of the ring without leaving a residue,
and replace it with real vitreous enamel, which has a long and
successful history in jewelry. I don’t have specific experience with
Ceramit, but no plastic resin will be nearly as hard as glass enamel,
and I can’t think of any particular reason to expect it to be more
durable. But I might be wrong - if you do attempt a repair, let us
know how it goes, and how long it lasts this time, okay?

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#7
While we are on the subject, is there a solvent for cured Ceramit?
Acetone? 

Ceramit and things like it are epoxy resins, essentially. Epoxy is a
good solvent for uncured resin, not meaning for thinning necessarily
but for cleanup and stuff. Attack (methylene chloride or
dichloromethane is the modern term) is the solvent for all those
resins after they are set up. BTW, if you use a lot of Attack, you
can buy it much cheaper as dichloromethane from the chemical supply,
if you convince them you’re for real. It’s not cheap, but cheaper
than retail Attack, for sure. It doesn’t pay if you just want to
stock up, because it’s so volatile the can will empty itself if
you’re not very careful, but if you need a lot, it does.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8

Hi Jim,

Query - was it an opaque or transparent colour that popped out? I’ve
found the the opaque colours are ghastly and very rubbery (have major
issues trying to get them to adhere for any length of time), but have
found that the transparent colours seem to be pretty good. I’ve been
trying different mixing of transparent & opaque to see if I can get
better results, but without much luck so far. Just thought I’d see if
anyone else was having the same problems, or if it’s purely my
technique.

Cheers
Alison


#9
was it an opaque or transparent colour that popped out? I've found
the the opaque colours are ghastly and very rubbery (have major
issues trying to get them to adhere for any length of time), but
have found that the transparent colours seem to be pretty good. 

Alison-- transparent dark blue.

Jim


#10

Regarding solvent and evaporation issues: I use high grade Kimax-
rubber coated and nalgene/vinyl gasketed glass bottles for solvents.
They are superior to any metal cans and can be reused over and over
with a soap and warm water wash.they are also unbreakable! If any
one wants the supplier email me off list and I’ll send the link. The
cheapest available (that I know of) for a 1000ml bottle is 8 bucks
for one piece. Additionally, Nalgene bottles,cans,pails and drums
are leak and evaporation proof and come in a wide range of sizes,
mouth styles and cap styles from metal and phenol with a pulp or
vinyl insert to those with enameled coatings and chemical proof(wet
and dry) inserts. Berlin packaging is the cheapest wholesale source,
but has a division called Freund, that sells retail ( small
quantities) and single items, as well as offers clearance and surplus
sales on assorted storage containers. They will also beat any price
with which you supply them from competitors or printed ads. I have
used nalgene and kimax for years to store acids, solvents and other
volatile, flammable, inflammable and hazardous materials and
chemicals without leak, or evaporation, or breakage and recommend
them both highly.

R.E.Rourke