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Enameling Advice


#1

Herbert Maryon (b.1874—Technical Attache at the British Museum
Research Laboratory 1945-1963) produced one of the finest sources on
traditional metalsmithing and enamelling ever written—the book you
mention! Another excellent (and utterly charming) source on workshop
techniques from the days when metalsmiths did everything by hand is
H. Wilson’s Silverwork and Jewellery (Pitman Publishing), first
published in 1902. But my enamelling ‘bibles’ were two books which I
zeroxed (library copies) and bound almost 30 years ago: 1)Enamelling
on Metal by Louis-Elie Millenet (1917), translated from the French
by H. De Koningh (1926), and 2) The Preparation of Precious and
OtherMetal Work for Enamelling(1930) by the same H. De Koningh. All
of the above books explain in great detail all the secrets of those
exquisite pieces we see in museums…

For a shorter, simpler, more contemporary standard, you might like
Margaret Seeler’s The Art of Enameling (1969) or Kenneth Bates’
Enameling: Principles and Practice (1951). Both are very easy to
read and give you practical advice regarding equipment and getting
set up.

I fire at 1450-1500 degrees for 1-2 minutes with perfect results for
transparent enamels. Different enamels do have different melting
points, but this temp and time seem to work well for everything (the
difference between 1 and 2 minutes being significant). With enamels
you want to work fast with a hot oven for brilliant color. Long slow
baking produces duller colors. But perhaps the gentleman does much
larger pieces? I’ve only worked small. Also, I use the old leaded
enamels. Haven’t enamelled in a very long time. I’d be interested to
hear comments from those of you who made the switch from leaded to
unleaded. And what are these Japanese leaded enamels folks keep
mentioning? Are Thompsons and Schauer no longer producing leaded
enamels? (Shows you how out of it I’ve become Re: enamels!)

Hope that helps.
Janet in Jerusalem