Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Enamel Bits] Enameling for Newbies


#1

Kieran,

What type of enamel are you using for your opaque white? What
type of metal are you using? What are you using to support the
enamel when you heat it? In heating the enamel what type of
torch set up are you using? How are you applying the enamel and
with what solutions?

White enamel does have a tenancy to burn out along the edges.
The edges of the metal will heat up faster than the center of
your enamel piece. You will need to lessen the amount of heat
directed on the edges. Find out what your white enamel fires
at. You will need to stone the edges in order to get the metal
clean again or you can heat the metal until it is red-hot and
quench it in cold water and see if the enamel breaks off. You
can then finish cleaning the links until you have a bare surface
and then start the process again.

Suggestions:

  1. Try out different types of white enamel some are more prone
    to burn out then others. Clean the enamel with distilled water
    until the water runs clear.

  2. Make sure you have an even coat of enamel that is equal on
    all sides.

  3. Putting a coat of clear enamel evenly over both sides of the
    chain link will help lessen the heat on the edges when you are
    ready to apply the white.

  4. Remember to avoid direct contact of torch and enamel.

  5. A good technique is to use a pulsing heat. This can be done
    by a rhythmic touch and withdrawal of the flame.

  6. You can put the enamel on a tripod with a wire mesh. I have
    seen some enamelists put a tin can over the enamel to keep the
    heat evenly distributed. (tuna can size with an area of the side
    cut out in order to view the enamel)

  7. I would use a reducing flame, others may have a different
    experience.

  8. The enamel is mature when the color runs from a shiny dull
    red to a cherry red (1450-1500F). You need to watch this very
    carefully! Best to experiment with the white by doing test
    pieces.

  9. If you have access to a kiln, use it. You have better
    control of the heat with a kiln.

Wrapping this up…make up a sample of the colors on different
metals when using a new enamel. If it doesn’t turn out the
first time, experiment by keeping the heat on longer or for
shorter periods of time. Some enamel companies will give you
explaining the idiosyncrasies of a particular enamel
and what the fusing temperature is.

Have fun…hope this helps!
Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs