Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Carved Fibre Moulds

The question of whether you can use carved moulds more than once will arise.

This refers to moulds made from refractory boards or materials.  Once fired, refractory boards and materials become more fragile as they have lost their binders.  If the carving is simple with lots of support, and the mould is kept supported in a container of some sort, rigidising is not essential.  The life of the mould may be short though.

To make a longer lasting mould, you can rigidise the refractory material using this method.  This can apply to board as well as blanket.  The process will make a much longer lasting mould that is light weight, and is not affected by rapid changes in temperature.

Do the fibre moulds need kiln wash?

This depends on both the nature of the material and whether hardened or not.  Refractory fibre boards – often called ceramic fibre – do not need kiln wash to separate the glass from the mould.  However, putting powdered kiln wash and smoothing it with a piece of glass or plaster’s float can give a less grainy finish.  If applied wet, the dried kiln wash can be gently sanded to give a very smooth surface.

Other refractory boards such as calcium silicate or vermiculite do need kiln wash to separate the glass from the mould.

Any refractory mould which has been hardened with colloidal silica will need to be coated with kiln wash to keep the glass from sticking.  The kiln wash needs to be re-applied each time the mould is used above tack fusing temperatures.  Otherwise it does not need renewal until or unless the kiln wash is chipped, scratched or in other ways damaged. 

Another popular separator is boron nitride.  It is sold under various brand names.  This must be applied each time the mould is used.