Saturday, January 22, 2011

Attaching Bails with No Days BailBond

Curing BailBond in an Oven
After I finish with a dichroic glass tile project, I end up with a bunch of cabochons that are awaiting bails. However, I HATE using two-part epoxy and adhesives, in general. That is...until I discovered No Days BailBond. It's a heat set adhesive. There's no mixing noxious chemicals and it's easy to clean up. PLUS, if I decide that I need to change out a bail or use the cabochon as a purse hanger instead of a pendant, I can switch the findings just by reheating! (This versatility really appeals to me, as apparently I have a hard time with took me 2 years to get married after getting engaged, and another two years to decide that I could change my name!!)
Anyway...when I have a bunch of pieces that need findings, here's what I do:

1) Secure bail to pendant.

Cut a piece of BailBond to fit the size of your bail. For this pendant, I used a piece of BailBond approximately 3/8” long. Sandwich the BailBond between the pendant and the bail, and then
secure in place with painter’s tape. The tape prevents the bail from moving in the oven once the BailBond has melted.

2) Place the pendants in the oven.

I used my toaster oven for this demo, but a regular oven may be used, as well. For ease of transport, you can place several bails on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet and pendants in a room temperature oven and set it for your curing temperature. I had to set my toaster oven much higher (300 degrees F) than the melting temperature of the BailBond (160 degrees F). In a traditional oven the temperature may only have to be set at 200 degrees F. It's recommended to do a test run to figure out what temperature to set your oven to.

3) Let the BailBond fully adhere to the bail and glass.

Once the oven reaches 200 degrees F, leave the pendants for 10 minutes to let the BailBond melt to the bail and the pendant. It’s important that both the bail AND the glass are hot enough for
the BailBond to fully adhere. You can peek in the oven and actually see the BailBond melting
between the bail and pendant.

4) Let the pendant cool and clean up.

After the pendant has cooled, carefully remove the tape. If there is any
residue from tape, it can be scratched off with your fingernail, or rubbed off
with your fingers (a little olive oil helps). If the BailBond has melted out
from under the bail, an exacto blade will help to remove it. (I was able to
scratch off the excess with my fingernail while the piece was still warm.)

Now, your pendants are ready to wear! The only thing that you want to be aware of when using the No Days BailBond is that because it is a heat set adhesive, you don't want to leave it in your car on a hot, sunny day.

My Very First Mesh Melt...

I've been wanting to try this technique for ages, and well...I finally found the time to pursue it.
My uncle picked up a stainless steel rack from Bed, Bath and Beyond and some stainless steel wire from the local hardware store. He wired the rack for me, and I stacked it in the kiln.

I've got a good 5-6 coats of Bullseye kiln wash on my shelf, and brushed a bit of kiln wash on the posts as well, just in case the glass ends up going further than I had planned.

I didn't put much glass on the rack, as it's the first time. I'm just curious to see what kind of pattern I'll get with the lines on the rack. I fiddled with a couple of firing schedules I found at Clearwater Glass Studio and

At around 1460, I opened the kiln to see the glass just beginning to fall through the rack, resembling taffy, or that ribbon candy.

[Warning: When you open the kiln at higher temperatures, you need to wear UV protective eye wear, and high temp gloves. Cotton clothing is also less likely to ignite than synthetics.]

When I checked the glass again at 1680 degrees, most of the glass had fallen through to the shelf. Only strings of glass remained on the rack, so I decided to call it good, interrupting my schedule to skip to the next segment of my firing schedule.

It is likely that for this reason, when I opened the kiln, there were shards of glass EVERYWHERE! The high temperatures warped the wire rack, so if I were to do the melt again, I would use kiln posts to support the sides.

However, I am very satisfied with the results of this first mesh melt. The photo below shows the back side (against the kiln shelf) of the glass at top, and the top side of the melt at the bottom. Hmmm...that's a bit confusing, huh?

Bottom side of mesh melt.
Top side of mesh melt.

(Note that none of these photos show the glass hot inside of the kiln. Maybe next time...)

For anyone wanting a hard copy of the mesh melt, or even the pot melt techniques, Brenda Griffith has a great introductory kilnforming / glass fusing book:

How to Make Layered Dichroic Jewelry - Part 2

This post is a continuation of a tutorial on layering dichroic glass to make gorgeous fused glass jewelry. For the first part of the tutorial, check out this post...

So, the layered dichroic tile came out of the kiln and looks wonderful. I usually let it sit for a few weeks so I can enjoy the full effect of all that sparkle :)

After I've got an eyeful, it's time to think about cutting this baby down to size. I want a bunch of pendants, but the cabs you'll create by cutting the tile down work great for rings, purse hangers, mosaics, name it!

I've begun to cut my dichro tile down a bit... I just use a regular glass cutter (my preferred cutter is my Toyo pistol grip, no oil necessary). For the first few cuts, you need to remember that:
A) This tile is thick! All the layers fused together have made this tile about 1/4" thick. Thicker glass is tougher to break.
B) When scoring glass, stress can build and fracture the glass at unforeseen points if you're trying to break off too little.
The beginning tile was about 4" x 4." When I attempt to score and break my glass, I don't try to take off less than an inch, initially. Once your pieces start to get smaller, it's easier to cut them down into smaller and smaller pieces, to a point.
When breaking the glass initially, a regular pair of running pliers doesn't really work. IF you can squeeze really hard, the tile MIGHT break. The tools I use to break the tile are:

1) A hammer - you can tap lightly on the underside (opposite side of your score) of the tile all the way along your score. Eventually, the piece should knock off where you asked it to. Sometimes, you will be surprised. This gets harder to do as the pieces get smaller. But, by that point, you can switch to your running pliers.
2) The Morton Glass Works Safety Break M-80 Tool - I was able to use this for the very first time on the thick tiles last Saturday. You have to squeeze fairly hard, but it breaks really well! The Morton website has some really great videos that make cutting glass look like a breeze.
3) Diamond Blade Saw - If you've got access to a wet tile saw with a diamond blade for cutting glass, you can make very accurate and exact cuts. If it's a ring saw, you can even cut custom shapes. This is a costly tool, but you can sometimes have the local stained glass / fusing shop cut the tile for you, or even show you how to cut it for yourself.

If you're not crazy about the raw dichroic on the edges of the tile, you can nip them off with mosaic nippers. These pieces can be piled together when you put them back in the kiln and will form a puddly cabochon with lots of sparkle.

Once you've finished cutting all of the pieces, it's time to put them back in the kiln.

Each kiln is going to fire a bit differently. This is just a recommended firing schedule, and I'm using my "Little Miss" Caldera kiln with a 6" shelf.

For a nice, clean edge that holds the shape of the cut, you'll fire to approximately 1420 degrees F and hold for 5 minutes. Since my studio is really cold right now (we're in the middle of a blizzard), I slowed the ramp up to 500 degrees per hour to 1000; then continued AFAP (as fast as possible, or 9999) to 1420 and held for 5 minutes. Follow this segment with your annealing schedule back down to room temperature.

This schedule will soften the edges without globbing out of shape.

For my scrap bits, I'll throw those in the kiln AFAP all the way to 1480 for 8-10 minutes. I want these pieces to be rounded and full fused. They're all really small pieces, too. So, they won't shock from the heat on the way up.

Look for my last post in this series on attaching the bails with No Days BailBond...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Newsletter


Calyx Glass


Happy New Year!!

Hope everyone’s 2011 is off to a great start! I’ve got a lot to update you on, but I’ll try to keep it brief...

Upcoming Exhibit:

“Earth’s Treasures”

I’ll be joining artists Elizabeth Rieke (oil paintings) and Aimee Poor (photography) at the Immanuel Fine Art Gallery for an exhibition running from January 13 through March, 2011. Join us for refreshments and an opening reception on Friday, January 21 from 5:00pm - 7:30pm.

Immanuel Fine Art Gallery at the Landing

3500 Faulkner Drive

Lincoln, NE 68516

"What Color is Your Ribbon?"

For those of you who don’t know, my mother Connie Strope, loved quilting and had a great sense of humor. “Totally Tubular,” is a quilt she and her friends made to help her embrace her hysterectomy.

Bernina Sewing Studio is hosting an exhibit showcasing works of cancer survivors and remembrance pieces. My mother’s friends and sewing buddies, the “Basket Cases” & “Faded Blossoms” made a brightly colored polka dot quilt for my mother, and had enough blocks left over to make another quilt! This quilt and a matching pillow made by her friend Sandy Anderson were invited to be a part of the show, which runs January 10 through February 21. There will be an informal reception at the studio, Saturday, January 15 from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Bernina Sewing Studio

1501 Pine Lake Rd #12

Lincoln, NE 68512



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