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Foil overlaying before enameling


#1

I would like to try making cloisonne cells using copper or sterling
as the base and soldered on walls, and then overlaying silver or
gold foil before adding the enamel. Will this work, or am I missing
something? Will the hard solder come through and ruin the color (I
don’t want to use eutectic if I don’t have to)?

I’ve had my kiln and tools for over a year and haven’t tried
anything yet - don’t want to make expensive mistakes the first time
through. Any tips are welcome…

Jeni


#2

I would like to try making cloisonne cells using copper or sterling
as the base and soldered on walls, and then overlaying silver or gold
foil before adding the enamel. Will this work, or am I missing
something? Will the hard solder come through and ruin the color (IMy
don’t want to use eutectic if I don’t have to)?

Why not do it the standard, quicker way with less chance of the
solder ruining the enamel transparency…that is, if you plan on
using transparents?

Standard way is to put on a thin layer of flux (colorless
transparent), fire, sink your wire cloisonne cells into the enamel in
the second firing, apply foil and fire again to seal the foil to the
enamel and then do your wet inlay from there.

Donna in VA


#3

Hi Jeni,

I use foils in many of my pieces. Although I don’t use cloisonnes,
the principle is still the same. The foil adheres to the enamel not
to the metal. You will want to put down and fire an initial layer of
enamel. It could be a clear flux or an opaque or transparent color.
When that has cooled, I would then apply with a brush a small amount
of klyr fire or enameling oil to tack down the foil. Either allow to
dry or put the piece into the kiln briefly, and remove to allow the
burn off. Then fire in place. THEN I would start building up the
enamels as you wish. Try that, if it works for you, then you have it.
If you still have questions:

To get advice on enamel methods, go the the Enamelist Society
website: enamelistsociety.org You will find lists of teachers,
books, artists etc. If you join, you’ll get the magazine which is
very informative for enamelists and jewelers. Another reminder; the
TES Conference “Surfacing” is coming up in august, in Oakland, Ca.


#4

Solder is not something you should use with enamel. It will come up
through. Your theory from what I am understanding of the rest of it
though is sound. Just be careful not to over heat and create a not
so awesome blotch of molten silver. Also - I wouldn’t recommend
enameling on sterling as it can cause your transparent to come out
cloudy and dull. Instead I’ve had a lot of success with fine silver
and the colors just come out so vibrant and pretty. Good luck and
happy enameling!

Lauren


#5

Thank you all for the helpful hints…

I feel a bit sheepish - must have been very tired when I posted my
question! I have the enameling books mentioned and a couple more
besides that explain what every one so patiently described for me.
There’s just so much I’m having trouble sifting through
it to start a project that won’t break the bank.

Thanks for your kindness, and I’ll try to ask better questions as I
learn more. :wink:

Jeni


#6
wouldn't recommend enameling on sterling as it can cause your
transparent to come out cloudy and dull. Instead I've had a lot of
success with fine silver and the colors just come out so vibrant
and pretty. Good luck and happy enameling! 

Bit late commenting, but the Guild of Enamellers Conference was this
weekend in York UK. The workshop leaders were excellent, and very
giving with their skills and knowledge.

Fine silver does give the most brilliant colours with transparents.
However both fine and Britannia silver (95.8% ) are both very soft,
so the design for rings and other hardwearing/ vulnerable pieces has
to take this into account and protection of some sort incorporated -
bezel setting etc.

Sterling gives excellent results IF the enamels are applied before
soldering and other heat processes occur. Jane Moore (one of the
Conference tutors) applies most findings after enamelling is
completed - she uses easy solder with few problems. Jane Short has in
the past advised hard solder as the lower temperatures for easy
solder may cause crazing problems.

It’s also possible to enamel sterling castings but the casting must
be done in a controlled atmosphere which reduces surface cupric oxide
firescale, and also minimises subsurface porosity.

The alternative is to complete soldering first and then strip out the
firescale with chemicals. The standard is nasty concentrated nitric
acid - to be used only with great caution after expert personal
tuition!!! Hence my recent enquiry about alum pickle - belated
thanks to all those who replied.

As Lauren said - happy enamelling
Tamizan


#7
The alternative is to complete soldering first and then strip out
the firescale with chemicals. The standard is nasty concentrated
nitric acid - to be used only with great caution after expert
personal tuition!!!! 

Or, better yet, do your soldering in a manner that prevents the
formation of firescale and firestain in the first place. Prips flux,
used properly, is an inexpensive and effective method. Others
similarly effective include cupronil flux, or that new ceramic based
"firescoff" fluxing agent. The trick is simply that these methods
prevent the oxygen in the air from ever reaching the silver surface
during soldering, so copper oxides form neither on the surface (the
black CuO fire scale oxides) nor penetrating within the surface layer
(the red firestain Cu2O oxides). Additionally, this keeps the silver
surface cleaner, often preserving a good degree of the shine and
finish nicely rolled metal can have, meaning less finishing and
polishing and loss of metal. And done this way, with no firescale
needing to be removed, you don’t need to get into such nasty acids
(though used properly, they can be completely safe to use. Paranoia
isn’t called for with Nitric. Just good caution and proper methods.
Don’t be cavalier with the stuff of course, but you need not fear it
either, once you know the rules…)

Peter


#8

Hello Orchidland,

I don’t enamel, but understand that fine silver is the best
substrate for the work. If an enameler wants to have the durability
of sterling for a ring, but an enameled decoration, why couldn’t fine
silver be soldered to the sterling? (I commonly solder fine silver
bezels to sterling.) Enamel on the fine silver as the final step
after all soldering has been completed.

As I said, I don’t enamel, so there may be something in the process
that would prohibit this concept.

Just wondering,

Judy in Kansas, where the turtles are appearing in the garden… and
doing the “wild thing!!”