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
- 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.
- 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
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