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First steps in enameling

Hello all,

I would like to start in enameling, specifically I would like to
embark on watch dial projects which would most likely involve
champleve, silk screening and enamel painting. I have not done any
enameling before and don’t have a kiln yet or any enameling tools
yet. Can someone point me in the right direction as to what furnace
and enamel/tools I will need - any help will be appreciated.

There are few furnaces listed in the Thomson catalog: TK-1
(1000watt) for $217, HP-4 (900 watt) for $150. Would these furnaces
be sufficient for my needs? I don’t want to spend a lot of money as
this is only a hobby.

Also Thomson has something they call painting enamels - is this the
preferred type for silk screening and painting?

Thanks in advance,

look at the Amoco one:

I also have a bigger paragon one but it is more than you need.

The Thompson one is very similar (I believe) to the my first kiln,a
trinket kiln kit at about $15 -$25 long ago. I bought my current
Amaco one at $125 only a couple years ago. Prices are going wild!!


Hi Lev:

I don’t know where you live, but would suggest you take workshops in
Enameling -Champleve and Silk Screening. You’ve chosen a direction
that requires a lot of careful planning and you need more than just
oversight. The workshops will also provide you with on
what you need for materials including kiln etc…

You might also want to check the archives here for info on all the
aforementioned skills.

It is interesting that you say you want to do this as a hobby only,
and then list enameling techniques you wish to do that are certainly
more advanced than hobby level, and require more equipment,
specifically silk screening, carefully researched knowledge of
etching mordants, etc… But not understanding what these techniques
involve, I can understand your desires, but good skills in basic
enameling and experiencing the serendipitous nature of enamel, are
pretty necessary to conquer before tackling these techniques. Short
of taking a good enameling class with a teacher knowledgeable in
these techniques, you need a good book with clear instructions, or
better yet, read the sections on these techniques in several books on
enameling. Specific techniques are sometimes rather abbreviated in
some books on enameling, so a variety will give you a clearer
picture. Some good recent books are Linda Darty’s “The Art of
Enameling”, Lilyan Bachrach’s “Contemporary Enameling, Art and
Techniques”, and “The Art of Fine Enameling” by Karen Cohen. You can
also visit Karen Cohen’s comprehensive website for an explanation on
all things enameling. As for the question about the kilns, there are
many out there. If it goes to 1500+ degrees, the chamber is large
enough to receive your pieces and their trivet easily, and preferably
operates on 120V (so you don’t have to install 220V wiring) it should
be fine.

Good luck,
Linda Gebert


As far as kilns go with the hp-4 you need to place the metal
directly on the kiln surface so if counter enamelling (enameling the
back) is needed -you really need to step up a level. I would call
thompson for more info on the TK-1 and find out if it requires other
equipment. Thompson will be very helpful. Do check your area for any
working used kilns, craigslist etc. If you go to
there are links under resources to Coral @ enamelwork supply and to
Joan @ Schlaifer’s either of whom can help you outfit your studio.
Neither of these resources will lead you astray or take advantage of
you. Good Luck - fell free to contact me off line

Sharon Kaplan