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Problem solving with enameling project


#1

Hello All,

Just wanted to get some input on a piece I have made a dozen times
and am looking to re-work. I attached a photo of the earrings I am
speaking of to better help with my question. Currently I am
enameling the discs (now with my torch) and then pull the ear wires
through adding a dab of epoxy to hold the discs in place. I figure
the epoxy stops one from playing with the disc and hopefully prevents
cracks in the enamel. Since I started torch firing enamels and using
hard solder in place of eutectic I have been re-thinking my design. A
few thoughts came to mind on how to deal with the ear wire. (I am
trying to do away with the use of epoxy because I just don’t like to
deal with it and hate to wait for it to cure. I just want my piece
finished when I am done handling it.) First, I thought that I could
solder the ear wire in before enameling. However, I am afraid of
continuously reheating the piece with solder on it. Also, if the ear
wire is now attached to the enamel disc then I would think the enamel
would likely crack when forming the wire, especially in the first
bend. (For ease in position while firing I would leave the wire
straight while enameling and form when finished.) My second idea was
that I would fire the enamel completely then pull the ear wire
through and bend just the bottom behind the disc then fire it one
last time. This would create a situation where the enamel would hold
the ear wire still. To me this seems more stable, but I don’t have
much experience with using enamel to fuse metal in place. Any
thoughts on either method would be most appreciated, as would new
options too!

Thanks,
Kim


#2

Kim,

Your second idea might be ok, depending on if the enamel is thick
enough. Embedding metal in glass doesn’t provide much strength where
there is torque involved, but in this case there isn’t much torque
involved, so it might be OK.

A couple of things to consider: In both cases, be careful with the
torch on the thin ear wire. By the time you get the disk up to
enameling temperature, you could easily melt the wire. Also, note
that you may end up with an annealed ear wire the way that you are
proposing to do it.

Good luck with your pretty earrings,
Jamie


#3

Hello All,

Sorry about the attachment in the last post, this one has a link
with multiple shots.

Just wanted to get some input on a piece I have made a dozen times
and am looking to re-work. I attached a link to the photo of the
earrings I am speaking of to better help with my question.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/45124188/enameled-poppy-earrings

Currently I am enameling the discs (now with my torch) and then pull
the ear wires through adding a dab of epoxy to hold the discs in
place. I figure the epoxy stops one from playing with the disc and
hopefully prevents cracks in the enamel. Since I started torch
firing enamels and using hard solder in place of eutectic I have been
re- thinking my design. A few thoughts came to mind on how to deal
with the ear wire. (I am trying to do away with the use of epoxy
because I just don’t like to deal with it and hate to wait for it to
cure. I just want my piece finished when I am done handling it.)
First, I thought that I could solder the ear wire in before
enameling. However, I am afraid of continuously reheating the piece
with solder on it. Also, if the ear wire is now attached to the
enamel disc then I would think the enamel would likely crack when
forming the wire, especially in the first bend. (For ease in position
while firing I would leave the wire straight while enameling and form
when finished.) My second idea was that I would fire the enamel
completely then pull the ear wire through and bend just the bottom
behind the disc then fire it one last time. This would create a
situation where the enamel would hold the ear wire still. To me this
seems more stable, but I don’t have much experience with using enamel
to fuse metal in place. Any thoughts on either method would be most
appreciated, as would new options too!

Thanks,
Kim


#4

Put a tube rivet in the hole where the ear wire normally goes;
enamel; clean rivet. If you want to get fancy, slightly countersink
the id of the rivet so the ball sits in it well. Add ear wire. The
tube rivet will help prevent the enamel from cracking. BTW, you could
also pattern the ball to make it look more fancy.


#5

Hi Kim,

My personal opinion is that the enamel will not hold the wire in
place for long unless the buyer is very careful. Eventually the glass
is likely to crack.

Is there a reason you can’t bend the wire firmly to hold the
"flower" in place and let it rotate freely on the stem. I have made
pieces along that line with enamel for many years and they seem to
have held up well. I still make them now and then without complaints.

Karen


#6

The only thing I can add to this is that you could rework the design
so that there is a clear area with no enamel where the ear wire goes
through, both front and back, because as long as the enamel has no
metal hitting it, it shouldn’t crack. However, I think your original
design, using epoxy, is the best and simplest solution. It is acting
as a cushion, and you are getting no cracking now, right?

Also, I could be wrong, but I believe that solder, of any kind,
can’t be enameled on. Good luck!

Susan


#7

hi kim, i’m a torch firer!! is that a word? i do quite a few
earrings. anyway, i didn’t see the photo attached or maybe i don’t
know how to view it. but if i could see it, i might have a thought.
anne


#8

Susan, enamel can be safely fired over very high temperature solder.
Eutectic solder is the highest temperature, and is traditional to use
under enamel. Although many people don’t use it, I’ve had success
with very hard solder. Check the melting temperature of the solder on
its package or from its supplier and compare that to the temperature
of your kiln, and you’ll know what works.

I think that Belinda’s suggestion of a rivet is very interesting,
and that Karen’s idea of letting the “flower” pivot on its ear wire
"stem" might be workable. It would be chancey to think that enamel
could survive very long as a means of holding an ear wire in place.
The ear wire will have lots of pressure and twisting on it in use.
And, it probably isn’t a good idea to leave a small part of the
"flower" without enamel - it might start chipping around the edges.
It is probably safest to attach the wire at the end so it doesn’t
melt. However, if it does get annealed, you can gently twist the wire
to work harden it.

By the way, The Enamelist Society is a non-profit arts organization
founded in 1987 to educate and support enameling. We have a national
and international membership, and, among other services, we offer a
Conference every 2 years that features about 7 pre conference
workshops, and 7 post conference workshops. We’re just now talking
about having a torch fired workshop as one of the offerings. We also
sponsor an exhibition at the Conference, so let us know if you want
to be notified about it.

We welcome new members, and feel free to visit us at:
enamelistsociety.org

Marcie
Marcia Rae Design
and Vice President of The Enamelist Society


#9

How about a laser weld? Would that work?

Jo haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#10

I couldn’t see the image either but leaving that area clean of enamel
is true. You might possibly protect enamel with cushioned washers on
bothsides. Could be flat beads or metal with any soft agent between
it and enamel. (glueleather paper rubber or??). IT solder is
recommended for use in enamel projects

Marianne hunter