Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Annealing Unknown Glass

Sometimes you may want to use a glass in kiln forming when its characteristics are not known, such as for bottle slumping. It is possible to determine the approximate annealing point of this glass in your own studio. This tip on compatibility testing gives you the information to do the test.

If you do not want to go to that detailed effort for a one-off process, you can adopt the shotgun annealing approach. This does require some observation of the glass, of course.

You need to observe when the glass has reached the temperature for the process you are performing. This will enable you to compare the behaviour of this unknown glass with what you normally use. This will give some idea of the relative annealing temperature to use. If a higher temperature is required for this glass than your normal glass, a higher annealing point can be assumed. The difference in top temperature can be added to the annealing point of your known glass.  If the top temperature is lower, you subtract the difference from the known glass' annealing point.

Set the annealing temperature to be 10C to 20C above the predicted annealing temperature and soak there for 30 to 60 minutes. This will help ensure the glass is all at the same temperature throughout. Set the annealing cool to be at about 30C per hour for pieces up to 6mm for the first 55C. The next segment should be about twice that to 110C below your chosen annealing temperature. The final segment can be around 150C per hour to 100C.  For thicker glass, the annealing cool should be proportionately slower.

This may seem an excessive, overly cautious process, but as you get to know the characteristics of the glass, you will be able to alter the schedule. This is a conservative and safe process to ensure your glass is well annealed.  And to be certain, you should check the cooled glass with polarised light filters.