10 November 2018

Little Wisp Bowls

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

In this Quick Tip, you will learn to create your own streaky color palette! And, it's so easy!

Start by layering Clear and White Streaky sheet glass over transparent tint glass styles. Then, slump in the Cone Bowl mold to upturn the edges and achieve luscious color at the rim. You might just find yourself making bowls for days!

The Cone Bowl mold is a crowd pleaser and has always been a Bullseye Glass favorite!  Glass fusers have dubbed it the original “the ice cream dish mold” and who doesn't love ice cream! The steep drop of this mold into a narrow space means this is one slumping project that requires special attention to preparation, firing schedules and placement in the kiln. Check out this additional tip from Bullseye... Cone Bowl Molds for additional best practices.

Also, if this is your first time using clear, white streaky sheet glass, keep in mind that it may become more translucent upon firing. Remember to remove any needle pointed edges with a diamond pad prior to slumping to ensure you get a smooth, clean edge. Finally, for handy for minor adjustments of the flat, fused blank in the mold, as well as removing the slumped dish from the mold... just use this handy Small Suction Lifter.

03 November 2018

Is it time to change your mechanical relays?

It seems like every November we get the same phone calls and the same e-mails... "My kiln has stopped working and I have a show this weekend. Please HELP!" With that in mind, it's important to remember... owning a kiln is like being a Boy Scout, it's important to always BPREPARED! 

Murphy's law says that whenever you need your kiln most and are firing the most, that's just when it's going to have a problem. So.... we all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of I told you so. This is not directed to any one of our clients who've contacted us this month with an OMG moment! This is for all of us, who are just very busy and forget to take care of the basics. And yes... this has happened to me so, you're not alone.

If you don’t already know, a relay is the part of the kiln that controls the power or current to the element, allowing the element to either receive current and get hot, or to interrupt the circuit thus not allowing the element to receive current and cool down. The mechanical relays, which come standard on most kilns, are what is responsible for the ubiquitous opening and closing clicking we hear while our kilns run.

ALL MECHANICAL RELAYS in U.S. kilns are virtually the same... no matter the manufacturer. 

Mechanical relays have a life of up to “X” amount of clicks and then they fail. This failure can either be in the closed position (Yikes, my kiln temperature keeps rising and it won’t turn off… everything is ruined!”) or they can fail in the open position. (Yikes, my kiln won’t heat up at all!)

If they fail, it is not the manufacturer's fault, since they do not make the relays. They test them to make sure they work at the factory, but after that... it is your responsibility. We know that all failures stink and that is why we recommend changing your relays every 12-24 months. If you are a heavy kiln user, you should be smart and change your relays once a year.

Think about it like an oil change or new tires... you wouldn't let your car drive on bald tires or your engine run on old oil. Pick a month and make it kiln maintenance month. Install new relays, paint the bottom with kiln wash, etc. and give your kiln a thorough inspection. Don't be the cautionary tale!!

Finally, if this is something you don't want to hassle with... you can eliminate the problem by upgrading to mercury or solid state relays and almost never have to change a relay again. In our opinion, it's the best upgrade money can buy.

27 October 2018

Olympic Kilns are READY 2 SHIP!

The demand for kilns from all of our manufacturers has increased... especially with the holidays just around the corner! To help with that rush, we have partnered with Olympic Kilns to put together a READY to SHIP program that will allow us to ship an assortment of kilns within 3 business days! Woohoo... start your happy dance now as the waiting is over!

126 Lite
This kiln packs a lot of punch for its size. The 10" square shelf delivers a great deal of fusing space. You can fuse four 4" coasters or plates at one time, or tons of jewelry, or even a 9" square platter. The partial fiber construction makes this kiln super light so it's easy to move. The fiber also helps with heat up and cool down speeds. It's perfect for firing the new metal clay stainless steel containers, as you can put a few containers in at once.

Square 146GFE 
The Square 146GFE is equipped with a lid element for the fusing segment of the glass firing and a body element for the ramping up, down and annealing segments of the firing.  A selector switch is on the electrical box to designate either the lid or body element to heat during the firing. The 12" square shelf in this kiln allows for even bigger projects. And, the stand is tall so you won't have to bend over to load it. 

Champ XL
The Champ XL has the same inside dimensions as the 146GFE but, has a lid element only. This is the largest kiln you can run on household power without making any electrical modifications. As with the 146GFE, Champ XL has a 12" square shelf and a nice, tall stand.

Quatro 16 
With a 15” Square Shelf, the 120-volt Quatro 16 provides a square glass fusing kiln for individuals who need a kiln larger than 14.5" x 14.5" wide (Square 146GFE) but not as large as 18" x 18" wide (Square 186GFE). 

Square 186GFE
We have used this kiln, and it's really great. It's big enough to slump a couple of wine bottles but ready to fire platters, candle bridges, big bowls and more. We cast in ours, we also did screen melts too. The shelf is 16" square so it fits nine 4" square plates at once. This kiln requires a dedicated circuit, but still works on 120-volts.

Traveler 120v
The Traveler 120 volt comes equipped with an element in the lid for glass fusing and wall elements for ceramics. The versatile Traveler has wheels attached to the frame which allows easy transportation of the kiln to a new location. The Traveler is built in sections but is not designed to come apart.

In addition to these kilns, Olympic also has the 139FLE, HB86E, HB89E, and many of the MAS ceramic kiln series ready to go! Don't see what you are looking for...no problem! Just give us a shout and we would be happy to contact Olympic as they are adding more kilns to their in-stock program daily!

If you are looking for a great kiln and want guaranteed delivery before the holidays... Olympic and Kiln Frog have got you covered!

13 October 2018

Creating Hollow Beads with Cork Clay

Cork clay is the perfect filler to create hollow shapes with Metal Clay. After creating the shape with cork clay, you must allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Do not force-dry the cork clay with a heat gun. After it's dry, coat the cork clay with metal clay.

Cork clay creations are usually fired in small jewelry kilns such as the Paragon SC-3 or Evenheat Kingpin 88.

It is important to fire cork clay in a well-ventilated area. Open windows and circulate the air with a fan. To prevent the cork from flaming out, always keep the kiln door closed between 500° - 800°F. Also, to give the cork enough time to burn out, fire no faster than 1500F per hour.

Leave the kiln’s vent plug out from the beginning until around 800 °F. Hold at that temperature for 1 hour. After the hold, insert the vent plug and continue to fire the metal clay to the clay manufacturer’s recommended temperature.

⚠️Caution: When venting materials such as cork clay, remove the vent plug at the beginning of the firing. If you forgot to vent the kiln at the beginning of the firing, do not remove the plug later. Removing it later during the firing may cause the organic materials to flame up for a moment. If you ever remove the vent plug and the cork clay flames up, keep the kiln door closed so the flames can die out safely.

Do not fire cork clay in a microwave kiln (the type that is placed inside a household microwave oven). The microwave kiln fires too fast to properly burn out the cork clay.

Just for fun... cereal, pasta, and bread are other good core materials. Do not use wax or Styrofoam as a core as they emit harmful fumes.

06 October 2018

Put a Ring on it!

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

In this Quick Tip, explore the possibilities of a palette of rings capped with Opaline! As an overlay, Opaline scatters light for a dramatic impact on base colors. Note the blue hue it adds to the dark-valued green and the subtle changes with lighter-valued greens. But when held up to the light, it's as if the Opaline layer disappears!

One secret of ring cutting is that the inner pieces must be slightly smaller in diameter for the best fit! A central circle cut to the same dimension as the inner ring will not fit, in the same way a ring and circle cut from the same sheet won't fit back together. Larger, narrower rings are easier to cut because they're more flexible than smaller, wider rings.

When trying to remove the rings, make a single score perpendicular to the inner circle and run it gently, then wiggle the ends of the ring up and down to ease it off of the central circle. This will leave a seam in the ring, but this usually fuses together with little visibility, particularly under a cap of Opaline.