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Enameling cast iron

This is a little off the subject of jewelry, but I thought maybe
someone out there could help. I have a cast iron tea kettle that
is coated with black enamel. On the inside, some of the enamel
chipped off (it popped off when it was on a burner with no water
in it) and in that area the metal has rusted, so I have not been
using it. I have an enameling kiln, but it is a small one for
jewelry and I would not be able to put the cover on with the
teapot sitting in it, although I might be able to fit a flower
pot or something over it to enclose the teapot. Is there some
way I can repair it? Is there somewhere I can bring it (in the
New York area) to have it repaired?

Thanks for any input.


Jill, would it be possible to do any torch enameling on the
spot? I can see that there could be a problem with not heating
the whole thing but on the other hand, iron doesn=92t transmit heat
that well.If there is no other help and you=92re not able to use
the pot, it might be worth trying.

Marilyn Smith


Yes, I guess I could do torch enameling - I have an acetylene
torch and the enamel is on the inside. But I am not sure how to
go about it since the enamel popped off when it was left on a
burner with no water in it. Will all the rest of the enamel come
off too? Would I need to do the whole thing?


Sorry to be late replying. I think that you would need to do the
whole thing or at least melt it all. I would suggest building an
oven of fire bricks around it to even out the heat. I would brick
it in afterwards and let it cool very slowly. Last but not least,
I would only try this as a last resort. Marilyn


On March 29, 1998, directly after the SNAG conference here in
Seattle, Bellevue Community College will be having the Fahrenheit
’98 Workshops one of which is Enameling on Cast Iron with Cheryll
Leo-Gwin, who is a mixed media artist and metalsmith who has
specialized in industrial enamelling processes including cast
iron and steel, and Alex Montgomery of the University of
Washington who is a cast iron sculptor. THere will also be
workshops on PNb etching and enamelling, precious metal clay and
enamel, Printing with liquid enamel, and the use of enamel oil
crayons. If you are coming for SNAG and are interested in
enameling, stay through Sunday and come to Fahrenheit '98. If
you are interested please e-mail me at @amcbride and I
will send or e-mail the brochure, it is in Pagemaker 5.0 so your
computer would need to support it. Info will be on the web
shortly! THanks, Amy

I have a large collection of antique cast iron claw feet and I intend
to try enameling them. I know that it CAN be done, but want to know
if anyone has any advice regarding the HOW of it.

My plan is to bead blast the pieces clean, bring them to temp in my
propane forge, sift on the enamel powder while a helper holds them
(I’ll tap a blind hole and use a threaded rod to handle to piece),
use my rosebud tip to work the temp, then set it back in a firebrick
enclosure offset from the direct forge flame, turn the gas off and
let the whole thing cool very slowly. Any obvious points of failure
here? My main concern is metal oxides preventing the glass from
adhering and thermal expansion mismatch causing the enamel to come
off. I’ll only be looking to enamel the outside of the feet.

I’ve had some success with interesting surface finishes on forged
iron pieces using both copper and broken bits of colored glass fused
on to the iron. The results are a bit random and hit and miss but can
be quite striking.

Daniel Conlin