Enameling Large Flat Copper

I am looking for some about enameling on flat copper in a
format of 24" x 24" or larger. I am not interested in enameling on
steel. Does anyone have experience in doing this?

Thank you,
Marie

Marie:

I am looking for some about enameling on flat 
copper in a format of 24" x 24" or larger. I am not interested in
enameling on steel. Does anyone have experience in doing this? 

Will you be enameling different pieces or a sheet of 24x24? I’m
concerned about the size being heavy and hard to enamel, but I
primarily work on small pieces. Also, you might have cracking or
shipping problems with your enamel if you do it on flat metal. Be
sure to counter enamel the piece for stability. I normally slightly
dome my pieces and make sure I have several layers of counter
depending on what I do. I enamel on copper and fine silver with
occasional bits of sterling. If you want to contact me offline with
further questions, please feel free.

Tammy Kirks
Red Bee Designs
@Tammy_Kirks1

First of all, in order to enamel a piece of copper measuring
24"X24", you need to have access to a kiln that will accomodate
something of that size. Also, the weight of the piece will be very
heavy, and will require special means of inserting it into and out of
the kiln. Furthermore you will have a real issue of warping to deal
with.

Having said all that, you should be aware that many of us do large
scale enameling–by assembling individually enameled pieces into a
unit. You can cut your copper into squares, oblongs, or various
shapes and assemble them jig saw fashion. I have a beverly shear and
can cut my copper into any shape I desire, and can make my piece as
large as desired. I usually work in units of roughly 11" square
which is all I can really manage because of the weight. By the time
my piece–which is heavy gauge, has been counter enameled, and has
numerous coats of enamel, my wrist gives out. I used to do some up
to 14", but they were too difficult for me to handle comfortably.

Most of the enamelists who I know who work on large single sheets of
metal, use steel which avoids the warpage problem, but they have
kilns specially made to take these large pieces. Check out some of
the back issues of Glass on Metal (available on line), to get
additional on this type of enameling. One artist does
wonderful enameling on discarded steel washing machine lids.

Keep us posted on what you decide to do, and by all means do
research the back issues of Glass on Metal for good

Alma

Look for a copy of :

Experimental Techniques in Enamelling
By Fred Ball
Bookseller: www.abebooks.com
Price: US$ 113.29

Definitely out of print and not cheap. He did excellent work on large
panels but was killed in his studio… He wrote the book in time to be
remembered. If very lucky you may find a library copy.

This price is reasonable relative to what other copies have sold
for.

jesse

The largest single piece I’ve enameled was 8.5x11 inches, and it had
serious warping problems despite using 18 ga., counter-enameling,
and using a warm press to flatten the piece after each firing. I’m
not unhappy with it, but in the future if I were to take on a large
flat piece, I’d do it in parts and assemble them afterwards.

Hope this helps!
Amanda Fisher

Hello marie

Try to get in touch with Ellen goldman. I know she makes work in in
those sizes and bigger. I’ve done my enameling workshop there and
seen her work. here is the adres for her site.

http://www.goldman-enamel.com/goldman-arts/en/

Good luck
Nicky

Hi,

I’ll chime in on this one. I have a 15" square kiln. The largest
pieces I find I can do are about 12". That leaves me a 1 1/2" margin
all around which I feel is necessary to keep from uneven firing on
the piece.

At 12" the pieces are warped. Circular shapes and bowls have less
warping than square pieces but they all have some warping, the larger
the number or firings, the more it warps. When enameling larger it is
also better to pay attention to how even the coats of enamel vs.
counter-enamel are. The closer they are to even the better for the
piece.

I use a large polished steel weight for flattening too. There is a
fine point between flattening too soon and leaving marks on the glass
surface and waiting too long and possibly cracking the edges.

There are larger kilns out there for large scale projects, many in
manufacturing facilities, larger studios than mine and at
Universities. For the most part they seem to use steel vs. copper
because of the warping and weight of copper. Very thin steel can be
worked on so it can be lighter than the same size copper piece which
must be a heavier gauge to support the enamel.

I hope that gave you some of the answers you were looking for, back
to the studio!

Karen

I used to routinely enamel 12" x 12" 18 gauge copper sheet so not as
large as the pieces you are planning. I also had a lot of warping. I
used to put old flat irons on the hot enameled copper to straighen
it out. I have some books of Ed Winter doing huge tiles in an
industrial enameling kiln. I used to get tennis elbow with 13 - 18
firings of large pieces so I hope you can find some sort of a roll
in/out device to help you move those pieces in and out of the kiln.

Donna in VA

Wow, such knowledge lends itself to a great workshop. Too bad you
ladies aren’t here at our enameling workshop with Linda Crawford,
the class started off great and our students are really enjoying
themselves. You can catch Linda when she returns on July 10th or the
advanced enameling in October. Next week we will have gemstone
carving with Angela Conti. Angela displayed her creations in Tucson
this year. She will be here April 17-20 and again in Sept. The
provided link should help with any questions you might have thanks

Gabriel
www.jewelrytraining.com