Torch fired enameling temperature

Chris, here is another question regarding temperature and enameling
with an oxy/acetylene setup…

Is there a way, during the firing process to determine if your flame
is too hot? I have read that you shouldn’t allow your piece to glow,
but in your video, it looks like the discs you are enameling are
reaching a glow (in addition to the trivet).

If you were to make a “Top Five” list of the results which are most
likely to occur from firing too hot, what would they be? I am trying
to determine if cracking on pieces which have more than one color
layered together have anything to do with the rate of expansion of
the metal (firing too quickly/too hot), or if it is more likely the
difference in COE of the enamels being used.

I am wet packing, and layering transparents over opaques.


Hello Alicia,

There are many ways to torch fire enamels. The technique I use on my
DVD is the only one I use. If your enamel starts dripping off the
base metal then you are obviously firing the enamel to hot. I fire
until I get an orange peal texture and then apply more color and
fire the same way. As far as cracks appearing in your enamel it
could be for many different reasons. I have had that problem when I
mixed 2 different brands of enamel or I had too much counter enamel
or not enough enough counter enamel. I never mix my enamel brands
but I know many people do. I spend so much time on an enamel that I
do not take that risk.

Have you had an enamel workshop? Whatever can be done with a kiln
can be done with a torch. I know dyed in the wool kiln people would
disagree but I have tried every technique except plique au jour with
a torch but even that technique is being done by Marcus Synot of
Australia and his work is beautifull. Hope this is of some help.

The Campbell Folk School in north Carolina has several week long
classes in torch firing enamels. Steve Artz is one of the teachers
and if you can take a class there many of your questions would be
better understood by seeing and physically experiencing the process.

Best to you Alicia,

Hello again Alicia,

Starting with a hard firing flux is the way to go. I learned much of
what I know about metals and enamels from books and picking people’s
brains but going to a workshop provides you with those enlightened
moments that are difficult to translate with a book. Thompson enamel
company has a workbook that may be of some help. It has technical
data that you can not find anywhere.


Alicia… I forgot to mention but if you want to see more info on
torch firing enamels then Google “Grains of Glass”. It is an
enameling website that I have contributed several tutorials on the
torch firing of enamels. I have a page of my enamels also. Have been
trying to get some pictures together for Ganoksin also but have been
very busy… soon, I hope to post a few pictures.


Thanks Chris, for the Grains of Glass suggestion… I have signed
up, and am already enjoying perusing the site. Maybe I will have the
courage to post a photo or two some time soon!


Wonderfull Alicia! So glad your enjoying Grains of Glass. Great site
if you love color. Looking forward to seeing your work…Don’t be
shy!! :slight_smile: Best, Chris