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Making a Drop Ring Mold

Click here to go to a tip that discusses drop ring basics.

While it is possible to construct a drop ring using ceramic clay techniques such as slab rolling and slip casting, a simpler approach involves simply cutting a hole in refractory material.   By varying the shape and size of the hole, the mold can be used to make products ranging from simple bowls to soap dishes to ashtrays and more. 

Making a drop ring mold involves three steps:  selecting the refractory material, shaping the material to make the mold, and preparing the mold for firing.

Selecting the Refractory Material

Fiber board, such as Unifrax’s Duraboard, is the most commonly used product, but many other refractory materials can be used.  The key requirements are that the material be at least one half inch thick (one inch or more for larger and thicker items such as sinks), that it be able to withstand prolonged firings at 1300F/700C, and that it can be cut. 

Examples of other materials that work well are Ceramaguard (a ceiling tile made by Armstrong), vermiculite board (Skamol is one common brand), and block insulation (such as TR-19 by Thermal Ceramics).  Many of these alternative products have the advantage that they are less hazardous and less expensive than traditional fiber board.

Click here for the second part of this tip, which involves shaping the refractory material to make the mold.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Parts of this discussion have been previously published in Glass Craftsman magazine. 

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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