[Enamel Bits] Enameling-finishing cloisonn=E9

    I was wondering if any enamelers out there have any
suggestions on what to use for grinding down to my wires that
have some enamel on top. 

There are a variety of ways that you can use to grind enamels

Here are a few suggestions and you might receive more from other
Orchid enamelists:

  1. Alundum Stones - These stones are specifically designed to
    grind glass. The leave no residue that could be disastrous when
    you refire as Carborundum would.

Thompson Enamels 1-606-291-3800 carries two grits: They do have
a catalog that you can request.

150 grit for initial grinding @ 8.00
200 grit for final grinding @ 8.00

I use these and am very pleased with the results. I put the
stone under the tap with running water. Take the enamel in my
hand and run it over the surface of the stone in circular motion
until the wires are even with the enamel…I take a glass brush
(a fiberglass cleaning tool, also available by Thompson) under
running water to clean up any residue left by the stone. Let
dry…then fill up any “pits” in the enamel…my goal is a smooth
enameled surface with no holes. Then fire… grind…fill up
any holes in the enamel…dry…fire…and continue the cycle
until the enamel is smooth. After I complete my final grinding
I will flash fire in the kiln for 1 minute at 1475 degrees. This
will leave you with an enamel surface with a lot of shine.

  1. You can also use a wet or dry polishing paper starting with
    600 and then going up to 2500 grit. Tools needed…a 1/2" dowel
    (depending on the size of your piece) cut about 5 inches long or
    whatever is comfortable for you, an old phone book, glue gun,
    bowl of water and elbow grease. Take the dowel squeeze a
    generous blob of glue onto the end…then apply your enamel
    piece…remind you of lapidary. After the glue is set get your
    bowl of water, open up the phone book and do what we were not
    suppose to do to books in grade school bend it until the covers
    touch so the insides are exposed. Pick any page you want. Wet
    your sand paper starting at 600 grit put the wet sand paper on
    the phone book (the phone book acts as a cushion to protect the
    enamel and give you some stability in the grinding and polishing
    of the enamel. It is also good to cut the piece of sandpaper
    into 4ths so you are working on a smaller surface. Take the
    enamel, which should be secured to the dowel stick, and then
    start sanding until your wires and enamels are smooth. Take the
    enamel off the dowel, clean with a glass brush and water after
    every sanding. Fill up the “pits”, dry, fire and then continue
    the process until the surface is even and smooth…then go to
    the next sanding grit…1,000 then 1,200 up to 2,500, depending
    on what effect you are looking for. I wouldn’t put the enamel in
    the kiln after the final grit of 2500 is done…you should have a
    beautiful glowing smooth surface of enamel and a sore arm. The
    results are definitely worth it.

Some enamelists use a wet arbor to grind and polish the enamels.
I have done all of the above and have been pleased with all of
the results…some do take more time then others, as you
probably have already guessed, and produce different results.

Remember to always keep your enamel wet when grinding and

I would need to write a book on the subject of finishing to give
you all of your finishing alternatives for enamels…if you
want more please email me off line. Hope this

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
http://www.jps.net/lcrawford (Web site is under construction)

“What if the hokey pokey is what life is all about?”