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Wrapping Charcoal Blocks


#1

I bought my first charcoal block the other day, so that I can burr
into it and melt some small gold balls. Now, I haven’t used these
before, but I vaguely remember being told that you should wrap them,
I think with steel wire, so they hold their shape…is this correct?

I couldn’t find anything in the archives about it, but did see some
great fire prevention tips. Just need to know if I need to wrap it,
with what, and how.

Thanks!
Catherine


#2
Just need to know if I need to wrap it, with what, and how. 

Just wrap it around the outside edge with thin binding wire. That’s
it!

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#3

Most people will recommend wire, but personally I find that they
stay together better with a thin strip of duct tape wrapped around
them. The fumes are probably toxic if you burn it a bit, but then so
is most of our normal atmosphere these days.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4

Catherine,

There are several ways to make the charcoal block last longer.

  1. wrap it with binding wire.

  2. dip it into almost set plaster and create a form for it.

  3. most important: after heating the block spray it with water so
    that it doesn’t continue to cook.

jennifer friedman
http://www.jenniferfriedmanstudio.com


#5

Just need to know if I need to wrap it, with what, and how.

binding wire is ok, I would not use duct tape personally because it
burns, and combustion of plastics and vinyls require a good
cartridge type respirator…another more permanent and efficient
method is to embed it in a simple frame with investment or plaster
poured round the block. it absorbs more thermal shock and forces the
block into submission- or not cracking so readily ! anything from a
recyclable double walled cardboard box to a wood frame can be used
and freezer paper makes an adequate temporary base to pour it on (
shiny/plasticized side to the pour…) if selecting a wood frame sans
backing insert.

Another tip is to buy the hard grade charcoal block (Contenti Co. in
Rhode Island is one source of varying sizes of hard grade block) as
they inherently last longer due to the temperature,kiln conditions
and woods that are chosen for production of that grade of charcoal.

rer


#6

Hi Catherine,

I have wrapped my blocks in steel binding wire. That being said, I
use the “Pa-Na” charcoal and don’t need to wrap. They are super-hard
and last much longer than the “regular” blocks. They end up being
more
cost effective than the cheaper blocks.

I make a copper “box” for my blocks (basically a cross shape with the
sides folded up). It keeps any errant granules from straying too far.
Ronda Coryell goes over this in her granulation class. Also, spray
your block after use with water to help it last longer and for
safety. Several companies carry it including AllCraft in NY and Otto
Frei in CA. I’m not getting any $$ for such an endorsement,just love
the blocks!

Good luck!
Patricia Tschetter


#7

Wrap some binding wire around it…they always
(okok…someone here is gonna say “not always”) break into
two pieces unless bound. When they are too chewed up after lots of
soldering on them I steal hubby’s handy utility saw and saw off the
top and start all over again. Darn things aren’t cheap! (saws or
blocks!)

Lainie


#8

Hi Lainie:

When they are too chewed up after lots of soldering on them I steal
hubby's handy utility saw and saw off the top and start all over
again. Darn things aren't cheap! (saws or blocks!) 

I bind my charcoal blocks with a simple piece of clothes hanger wire
and it works fine. When the charcoal block gets worn, I simply take
it outside and rub it on a concrete block or piece of brick until it
is smooth and even. This works well and I get lots of use out of my
blocks. Have one now that is probably 3/4 inch thick having been
ground off so many times. I think this is easier than sawing it and
you probably don’t loose as much of the block each time. Sometimes
you really only need to “sand” one end of the block - really keeps
your charcoal in good shape.

Kay


#9
I have wrapped my blocks in steel binding wire. That being said, I
use the "Pa-Na" charcoal and don't need to wrap. They are
super-hard and last much longer than the "regular" blocks. 

Haven’t really wanted to get into this… Whatever the name of them
is - “Pa-Na”, I guess - they are pressed hardwood blocks or something
like that. I’ve had mine for about two years now (before 1 charcoal
block = 6 months at best, using fragments in the end) It is unwrapped
and unaltered, and it’s still going strong. I use it many times every
day. Of course, the top and bottom could use leveling and cleaning,
which I haven’t even done in those two years, either. They’re not
very much more money, but they ARE very much more tool.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#10

Cathrine; I learned a method of wrapping blocks for the purpose of
making balls from John Cogswell that works pretty well. You wrap the
block in copper with a rim about 1/2 in. above the block then cut
one end back at block height and bend it to form a gate. Next place
it at an angle over a pail of water. You can do a lot of balls real
fast. As they form they roll off and cool in the water. Wrap the
copper with a piece of bailing wire to hold it in place. I have been
using mine for years and it’s still working.

Dave Owen


#11
I think this is easier than sawing it and you probably don't loose
as much of the block each time. Sometimes you really only need to
"sand" one end of the block - really keeps your charcoal in good
shape. 

Hmmm…thanks, you’ve made me think. I do a lot of treasure coin
mounting and I do the work right on the coin with lotso heat. It
tends to dish my charcoal blocks pretty deeply, thus hubby’s saw. Now
I’m going to be more careful about using two different blocks for my
varied applications. See that, 8:15 am and I’ve already learned
something new.

Lainie