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[Enamel Bits] Torch enamel

Hi there! I’ve been excited to read the enamel bits discussion
thread recently and thought that I might add a few comments of my
own. My experience with torch enameling has taught me that it is
better to err on the side of caution when it comes to
ventilation, eye protection,etc. The AUR-92 glasses are
expensive, but I’ve been experiencing problems with my eyes in
recent months and I am going to order a pair before I do any
more torching of my enamels. Two places to buy them on the web
are Arrowsprings at and from Wale Apparatus
(the address eludes me right now) Both have been mentioned many
times by our enamel group. As for ventilation, I would invest in
an old range hood or exhaust fan to use directly above your
torching area- the fumes given off by both leaded and unleaded
enamels are very dangerous when they are fired. A dust mask for
sifting should always be used, and I have to say I’ve Been lazy
about it, which I should be ashamed of. Another thing I’d like to
add if that when torch enameling, wear goggles or a full face
shield and wear long sleeves and pants. This is true for jewelry
making, too, not just enameling. When work is heated up, I have
seen bits of glass bead up and fly off, also in using glass beads
or frit, air bubbles trapped underneath can make them pop off.
This has happened even when I’ve thought the piece was dry and
the flame I used gentle. If you are going to torch your enamel
pieces, be aware that using air/acetelyne has a great tendency of
making leaded colors appear grey and milky, although when I’ve
used a natural gas/air torch on those same colors, they can
produce a rainbow “favrile” glass irridescence that is gorgeous.
It doesn’t always work out, I’m still practicing and reading up
on the subject to see why that’s happened. I would also like to
say hello to Rene Roberts, we were in the Deb Lozier workshop in
Mendocino this past summer, and I want to thank her for the
insightful and thorough comments she’s been giving all of the
Orchid members. I hope you are doing well! Juliet Gamarci