Thursday, 10 May 2012

Negative assembly

To get a crisp design finish to a fused piece especially with thin elements like stringers it is often recommended to fire upside-down. This means that the bubbles move toward the final bottom of the piece rather than rising and disturbing the design on the top.

Assemble the piece on your workbench as usual on top, but use a toothpick or small brush to dab some GlasTac or other glue near the two ends of each piece. Let it dry overnight and then carefully flip the whole arrangement upside down onto the kiln shelf.

If you don't like the glue and flip over technique you can try another. Draw your design onto Thinfire shelf paper in negative with a graphite pencil. If you have a strong light source you can draw on the reverse (printed) side and trace the negative onto the upper face of the Thinfire. Then assemble your pieces upside-down on the shelf. You can assemble the whole in the kiln and there is no need for glue.

When fired, clean the piece thoroughly and decide whether you want that texture or a smoother surface. If you want the smoother surface, put in the kiln for a fire polish. This is often known as “flip and fire.”