Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Channels in Jewellery Items

The principle in forming channels in fused glass is to keep the space open with something that will survive the firing and can be easily removed.

You can use kiln washed wire, mandrels, or tooth picks which you can pull out after cooling. These tend to leave a residue of the kiln wash behind. So this is best used on opaque items.

You can use rolled or cut fibre paper, which can be washed out after cooling, leaving a clean hole. This is works well on transparent items.

Both these methods tend to leave bumps over the channel. So you can make a three layer piece. Cut the middle layer short enough to allow the element to keep the hole open (toothpick, cut piece of fibre paper, wire etc.) to be placed with enough overlap of the top layer to catch the bottom layer. In this kind of setup you need to make the top layer a bit longer than the bottom layer. Make sure you are generous in the length of the "hole keeper" so if the glass (now possibly 9mm) does expand you do not trap the material inside.

Of course on a three layer set up like this you could use thin glass which would give you about 6mm of thickness thus eliminating the spread due to volume. In this case you would need to use fibre paper or wire that is about 1.5mm high/thick. It is probably best to have a thin piece of glass on each side of the “hole keeper” to ensure the glass does not retreat due to lack of volume.

You can experiment with a layer of standard and two of thin in various combinations to find the one you like best.