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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Failed Metal Clay Firing

I like to periodically check on my klin during a firing. It’s kind of like watching a pot of water you want to boil… or maybe more like waiting for Santa on Christmas morning. Although lately it’s also because I fear some malfunction may take hold of the kiln. Hey, it only takes one to set me on edge, and I did have my one earlier this year.

So about halfway through my firing yesterday I go out and check on the kiln and freak when I see that the temp is 1902. Wwwwwwwwaaaa! I guess I wasn’t focusing when I programmed it and I meant to do a full ramp to 1650 and hold for two hours. Instead, I just killed all my test pieces.

But I wanted to show you because I thought it was interesting that they didn’t die evenly.

At first when I saw the little buttons, I thought those were the inserts of the test pieces that had melted up into a ball and fallen out of the outer frame. But then I did a head count and realized that each of those pieces represent one of the twelve test pieces that entered the kiln.

The good news is (if I’m correct in my thinking) is that at least they sintered. I ran a sanding tool over several of them and saw no powdery spots.

It seems like steel can take the most damage, followed by copper, and lastly bronze. As you can see, the “copper in steel” and “steel in copper” pieces actually survived this ridiculous firing. Any “mess” you see was most likely pre-firing mess so doesn’t count (dimples, uneven areas, gaps, etc).

For the “bronze in steel”, the steel remained, but the bronze fell out and disappeared.

The rest (“copper in bronze”, “bronze in copper”, “steel in bronze”) balled up into melty dots.

As I write this, I have batch #2 in the kiln. Fingers crossed it was MY error with the kiln yesterday rather than some kiln malfunction.

I will keep you posted.

Not sure if I already mentioned that I’m working on a project to thin out my bead stash, so the items in the supplies section of my Etsy store will constantly be added to.

I really enjoy beads. I enjoy looking at them, holding them, and yes… still making things with them. So every once in a while, instead of listing some beads, I grab some beading thread and whip out a piece.

This first one sold already, but if you click on the other photos, you can get more details.

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