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First enameling kiln


#1

I would love to have a kiln, but can’t afford an expensive one.
Would anyone know if this is a decent kiln or a waste of money? It is
just called FA-5-E http://www.handsnclay.com/FA5.htm

thanks
J. S. Ellington
432-557-8785
http://www.jsellington.com


#2

J.S.

just called FA-5-E 

This is an excellent table top kiln and not just for beginners. I
have been enamelling for 30 years and have both the table top and 3
large kilns. When I am working with small items this is the only kiln
I use. You can buy it straight from the manufacturer: www.amaco.com

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA
enamellist, jewelry artisan, silver hollow ware, and instructor


#3

JS

The FA-5-E is a nice little studio enameling kiln but you will only
be able to do very small items in it, such as earrings, etc. Don’t
expect to be able to do bowles or larger flats in it. Also, it is
primarily used to so one sided items…not easy to do counter
enameling though, again, you can do some small items.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#4

Thanks for the replies about the FA-5-E. How important is a
pyrometer (or in this case, the lack of one)?

J. S. Ellington


#5

Don,

Why would you say that it is not easy to do counterenameling with
the FA-5 ? I’m a newbie at enameling, and just did some
counterenameling with the kiln this past weekend.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers


#6
Why would you say that it is not easy to do counterenameling with
the FA-5 ? I'm a newbie at enameling, and just did some
counterenameling with the kiln this past weekend. 

Brian, I only say that because the kiln is so small it can be
difficult to navigate furniture around in it without bumping
something. Also, if I recall correctly, the instructions for using
the kiln mention that it is not intended for counterenameling (though
I may be wrong on that point). Of course, anytime such a statement is
made…someone will prove it to be wrong. Thanks Brian.

Cheers, Don in SOFL


#7

There is no problem counter enameling with the small table top kilns.
I do it all the time. Sometimes I put the piece on a small
trivet–inserting and removing it with long a pair of tweezers.
Often, after I have sufficient counter enamel on the back, I put the
piece face up on a piece of mica and lay it on the floor of the
kiln. To remove it, I use a thin spatula which I slip between the
mica, and the floor of the kiln. If you try to do this with your
tweezers, sometimes the darn thing slips off the mica, so better to
use the spatula for removing the piece from the kiln.

Alma


#8
How important is a pyrometer (or in this case, the lack of one)? 

After enameling for 35 years, I think it’s a good idea to learn
without a pyrometer. If you learn to judge the heat by the color of
the trivet, then you don’t have to depend on the pyrometer. I have 5
kilns for enameling (1 with pyrometer and 4 without) and teach a
class in the summer. I use the no pyrometer kilns for teaching and
have had few problems with students overheating the enamel.

Donna in VA


#9

This little kiln is often used for granulation, and I find it great
for soldering really large bezels. It keeps the piece evenly hot
from below so there is no warping. You just finish off drawing the
solder around with the torch. One caution-- it will get near or over
the melting point of sterling or 14k, so you can’t leave things on
it real long.

Noel


#10

Don,

if I recall correctly, the instructions for using the kiln mention
that it is not intended for counterenameling 

All right, can we put this beast to bed with the FA-5?

I use this kiln almost exclusively for my small pieces and I counter
enamel. No, you cannot use furniture in it, but why would you? When
enameling small pieces I place my metal (be it copper, silver, or
gold) on mica and then directly on the surface (but not over the
screw).

If anyone out there wants more info on this just give me buzz.

Jennifer Friedman
@jennifer_friedman
Ventura, Ca


#11
Sometimes I put the piece on a small trivet--inserting and
removing it with long a pair of tweezers. Often, after I have
sufficient counter enamel on the back, I put the piece face up on a
piece of mica and lay it on the floor of the kiln. To remove it, I
use a thin spatula which I slip between the mica, and the floor of
the kiln. 

An artist’s palette knife works very well, too.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers


#12
Often, after I have sufficient counter enamel on the back, I put
the piece face up on a piece of mica and lay it on the floor of the
kiln.

Alma, I have used the mica method on a numberr of occasions but find
the enamel often fuses with the mica creating a mess.

Have you had this problem or how do you preclude it. The use of a
trivet is fine except, there ain’t much room in there is there?

I don’t have a large kiln at my home studio and so tend to do torch
enameling rather than using the small kiln.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#13

Don, Although the enamel fuses to the mica, the mica peels right
off, and has never caused a problem for me. The reason I switch from
the trivet to the mica, is that I avoid trivet marks on the enamel
where it touches at the edges, and also, by firing flat, I avoid any
problem of warpage.

Even, when I use my large kiln, I place my pieces on mica, then on a
firing rack for easy transportation in and out of the kiln.

You mention a mess when you fire on mica. Could it be that you are
overfiring your piece, and the counterenamel is flowing?? As I have
never had this problem I don’t know what could be causing it, but
suspect it might be overfiring.

Alma


#14
I have used the mica method on a numberr of occasions but find the
enamel often fuses with the mica creating a mess. 

There are different types of mica to use. I use a very stiff mica
that I get from enamelworks.com

My pieces stick slightly but I just peel them to separate the
counter from the mica. Hope this helps.

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, Ca where 80 deg is hot.


#15

I missed the first question, but reading about firing your small
enamel piece on mica, thus eliminating need for trivet, prompted me
to write about my technique. If this is a small enamel piece to be
set in a bezel, or other type of jewelry where the counterenameled
back will not show, here is my method. After counterenameling the
back, I brush Scalex over the enamel for the next firing. The scalex
adheres to the enamel, and makes a “toothy” surface that can be laid
flat on a small enameling screen for subsequent firings. Then you do
not have to sand or scrape off slivers of mica that stick to the
enamel. Also you have a surface that epoxy or other adhesives will
stick to, unlike a slick enamel surface.

Linda Gebert
http://homepage.mac.com/lgebertsilverjewelry


#16
I have used the mica method on a number of occasions but find the
enamel often fuses with the mica creating a mess. 

Somewhere (maybe here) I read about using titanium to hold the piece
for firing. I bought a sheet of titanium and will try it out.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers


#17

Thompson Enamels used to sell an adjustable, very low profile trivet
set. It was essentially four 1" wide strips of thin steel with a 1/2"
folded over on each end. With the set, which came in approx. 2",
2.5", 3", 4" counting the fold over. There were two “wings” of the
same material but folded at an angle. You just pushed one wing in
each fold of the best sized strip and then balanced your piece
between the V shaped wings. If you look at Thompson’s adjustable
trivets with wing nuts with these same pieces, you can get the idea.
This set is easy to replicate with titanium and has the very low
profile needed for the small lidded kilns yet keeps the piece 1/2 "
or so off the kiln floor so that counter enameling is not a problem.
I haven’t looked in the catalog to see if it’s still available (I’m
avoiding the stairs to the studio while recovering from knee
replacement).

Donna in VA


#18
Somewhere (maybe here) I read about using titanium to hold the
piece for firing. I bought a sheet of titanium and will try it out. 

Brian…let us know how your experiement comes out!

Cheers, Don in SOFL


#19

Hi Linda, I found your technique of using scalex over pre-fired
counter enamel very interesting. I haven’t used scalex since I tried
it 30 years ago and didn’t like it. I’m wondering how you deal with
the scalex that might flake off in the kiln? Why doesn’t it pose a
problem as you take pieces in and out of the contact kiln? I would
think that every so often a little piece would be scraped up and land
on the enamel surface, no?

thanks, marianne


#20

Jennifer has been kind enough to help me get started with enameling
and she knows whereof she speaks. Yes, you can indeed counterenamel
with the FA-5. Why not ? You’re just melting another kind of enamel.
Neat little kiln, but I’ve already got my eye on bigger kilns 'cause
I’ve got big ideas for the winter (oh, no, I said the “W” word). Now
if I could just sell that 1928 National Triolian…

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers