10 December 2017

The holidays are coming — break out the punch! (The paper punch, that is)

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

In this Quick Tip, you will learn how to combine punched silver foil design elements with Tomato Red Opalescent for something truly festive just in time for the holidays!

Silver, in the form of thin sheets, can be fired with glass in the kiln to produce a palette of effects, ranging from subtle to dramatic. We just love the variety of effects you can get!

Keep in mind, when working with foil that sometimes it can be a real pain as it's super thin and likes to stick to everything. So, before punching out shapes or cutting them with scissors, take the extra time to sandwich the silver foil between sheets of paper. This creates a toothy structure that cuts cleanly and keeps the foil from tearing. 

Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online also has a great video lesson if you want to learn more about Using Foils with Kiln-Glass.

Enjoy the punch!

03 December 2017

Increasing the Life of your Firebrick Kiln

Throughout the years, we have seen 10+ year old kilns with firebricks that are still in pristine condition and relatively new kilns that looked like they had been dropped from a three-story roof. It's pretty easy to tell when a kiln has been cared for and given that extra level of TLC or, what we like to call "KLC"... Kiln Loving Care! 

Here are a few tips from Arnold Howard at Paragon Industries on how to give your firebrick kiln that extra Kiln Loving Care:

1. Vaccuuming is a must. Vacuum the kiln interior regularly using the soft brush nozzle of a vacuum cleaner. Be sure to vacuum the element grooves, the inner surface of the kiln lid or roof, and the underside of kiln shelves and be gentle when you touch the firebricks with the nozzle. Vacuuming the grooves is essential if you have had anything explode inside the kiln. Pieces of greenware that lodge inside the grooves can burn out an element. Vacuum the kiln often if you use silica sand on the shelves. The sand, which is used to support ware during firing, can ruin the elements if it filters down into an element groove. As you vacuum the kiln, examine the walls for glass or glaze particles that have embedded into the firebricks. Dig these out carefully. Otherwise the particles will embed deeper into the firebrick during the next firing.

2. Kiln Wash is your friend. Apply kiln wash, liquid kiln coating or glass separator to the kiln’s firebrick bottom. But keep kiln wash away from the walls and elements.

3. Dry your greenware. If possible, do not fire moist greenware. It should be bone-dry and warm to the touch. If you must fire moist greenware, wait until all signs of vapor have disappeared before heating past 200 degrees F. The moisture at higher temperatures is not good for the firebricks and can cause the greenware to explode.

4. Be gentle. Lower the kiln lid (or close the kiln door) gently. Slamming the lid can crack the lid the first time it happens. Fully disengage the lid support before lowering the lid. Forcing the lid downward can break the bricks near the lid hinge. From time to time, check the condition of the lid support.

5. Keep closed. Keep the lid closed when you are not using the kiln. This keeps dust out and prevents the lid from dropping while you are away from the kiln. Do not store anything inside the kiln.

6. Level it. The kiln stand should be level and rock-steady. An unleveled stand can stress the firebricks. A stand that rocks can cause the kiln to move when jarred, knocking over ware against the sidewalls inside the kiln.

7. Don't lean on me. Do not lean too heavily against the firebrick walls while loading and unloading. Some people use a small stepladder to reach into a deep kiln. You can also cut a piece of plywood to fit across the wall that helps protect the wall during loading.

8. Try not to touch. During loading and unloading, do not touch the sidewalls of the kiln with anything. Do not allow a shelf to bump into the firebricks. The extra time and care you spend loading and unloading may add years of life to your kiln. 

9. Always look for drips. If glaze, glass, or other materials drip onto a kiln wall or the kiln bottom, repair before the next firing. Otherwise these materials will remelt and embed deeper into the firebricks. Remove the contaminant by scraping gently with a putty knife. If you remove kiln wash from the kiln bottom, apply a fresh coat to the bare spot. 

10. Don't worry! Do not be concerned about small cracks that appear in the firebricks. The cracks are normal and act as expansion joints. During firing, they close tightly.

Finally, if a firebrick edge breaks off, don’t stress. The damage is usually slight and does not affect the firings, and can easily be repaired with our Firebrick Kiln Repair Kit.

26 November 2017

Not Your Average Tile Saw

We are happy to say that the wait is over!  For years, we used a tile saw in our studio that we purchased at a local hardware store. It worked but, it frequently chipped our glass as the speed was just too fast. And, until now, we hadn't found anything that we loved so much we wanted to share it.

Introducing... the Covington MK Tile Saw!

The Covington MK Tile Saw is simply genius! Covington has taken all the great features of the MK-101 Series except they have modified the RPM's of the tile saw and slowed it down from 3450 RPM's to 2500 RPM so the glass does not get "hammered". So, whether you are cutting borosilicate, soft glass, pattern bars, or even bottles the Covington MK saw can do it!

Covington also includes a Ultimate Glass Blade with each saw to provide you with everything you need to get nice clean, virtually chip free cuts.

18 November 2017

Kiln Repair Directory

We all know, life happens... and, usually it's timing stinks!  You know how to fix the minor issues with your kiln but, sometimes after troubleshooting, you still need additional help.

Not to worry... Kiln Frog's "Kiln Repair Directory" is a great resource of over one hundred kiln repair technicians across the US.

Please be advised that Kiln Frog does not recommend or endorse any of the named repair services and cannot be held responsible for any of the work performed. As kiln technicians are independent business people, it is also possible that their advice may not always reflect our opinion.

Finally, to ensure that our list is as complete as possible, we are requesting your help! If you are aware of a good repair person or company, please let us know and we are happy to add them to our list.

11 November 2017

Math + Design

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

This Quick Tip shows you how to combine the power of mathematics and the beauty of metallics to create an awesome design!

The Fibonacci sequence is a numbering system found in nature, from flower petals to seashells. It’s pleasing to the eye (even if you’re not aware of it) and a versatile design tool. The sequence starts with a one, followed by a one. Each subsequent number is equal to the sum of the preceding two numbers: F (1) = 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...

For this project, Bullseye translated the beginning of this Fibonacci sequence into centimeters and arranged them to transition from one color to another. Pretty cool, right!

Fibonacci example