Use of Scalex on a piece that has already been enameled

Hi, All! I have an enameling question…I am designing a cuff out of
copper and I want to attach a brass design. I have drilled holes
through the cuff and want to attach brass wire to the front of the
cuff and have it stay in place by balling the wire ends on the inside
of the cuff. I do not want the brass design to be enameled so I will
have to attach it after the cuff has been fired. My question is this:
can I use Scalex to protect the fired enamel and brass on the front
of the cuff while I ball the ends of the brass wire on the inside of
the cuff with my Mapp gas torch?

I am not the best to answer this, but I would think no. Can you ball
the wire first, then put it through the copper enamel, and then
finish the brass on top?

I do a bit of enamel, and I am always trying to to do things that
"can’t be done" if I understand the design, this is what I would do.
I would also put the ball wire into a piece of board or metal with a
small hole, and hammer the ball flat, so you have made your own nail
to use on the cuff. If you have a vice, put the vice at the
narrowest that will support the board, and the remaining wire through
the opening. File the edges of the nail head so it will be smooth
against the cuff. It will hold better that way. If you don’t have a
vice, find something in the house that has the same feature. the
first thing coming to mind is the opening in a table for an extra


I wouldn’t use heat at all. I would assemble the wires with Loctite
271 Thread locker. Leave it overnight to gain strength, cut the wires
leaving 1mmsticking out. Then with a cup burr in the flexishaft to
form a nice bead burring the end over at the same time. No heat,
tighter joint than you can achieve by melting. If you use silver wire
for your rivet, the silver will attach to the brass under heat
without solder, just flux the parts well. We used to attach silver
wires to the brass bars used on badges of office ribbons in this way,
saved time when you had a hundred to do!

Can I use Scalex to protect the fired enamel and brass on the front
of the cuff while I ball the ends of the brass wire on the
inside…Not a good idea. Scalex can adhere to the enamel if the
piece gets hot enough. You are going to need a lot of heat to melt
the wire into balls. A better solution would be to use some of the
brass mini nuts and bolts. You can find them at Reactive Metals.
I’ve used this method many times to attach items to my enamel pieces.
If you email me off list I can send you a digital pic of one of my
enameled pieces with items attached by this method.

Donna in VA

If you look at the melting point of brass, you will find it is quite
between 1660-1720 F depending upon the alloy. Given how conductive
copper is, you might find that you are “torch firing” the enamel
while trying to melt the brass. In addition you will end up with
little balls which will either require a great deal of filing/sanding
or will feel funny. Why not try a rivet? If you anneal the brass wire
before putting it through the enamel, you should be able to support
the brass and cuff on a rubber pad while you rivet.

Scalex is used on bare copper to prevent oxidation when the piece is
heated in the kiln while enameling the other side. This makes clean
up easier. I don’t see how Scalex could be used to protect the
enameled front from the heat of the torch while you’re balling the
ends of the brass wire. My suggestion would be to first ball one end
of the wire, insert it into the hole then design some sort of
mechanical way to secure the other end. But be very careful to not
crack the enamel!

Good luck.

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