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Shining the Underside of a Piece

 

When a piece of glass is fused or fire polished in the kiln, it's typical for the top surface of the glass to become shiny and the underside of the glass (the part that isn't exposed to the air during the firing) to be more textured and a bit dull.  Although it's possible to cold work the underside so that it becomes shiny, this is time consuming and tedious work.  Instead, consider these alternatives:

 

1.   Fuse and slump at as low a temperature as possible.  This will help minimize the degree to which the underside is textured or dulled by the firing.

 

2.   Fire the initial fuse firing on as smooth a surface as possible.  This will help reduce the degree to which the underside loses its shine.  The smoothest surface generally is achieved via kiln washing a mullite shelf or using a fiber paper like "thinfire."

 

3.   Slump bowls using a drop ring, rather than a mold that requires the glass to come into extensive contact with the mold.  In a drop ring, both sides of the bowl portion of the piece are shiny due to remaining in contact with the air during the slump firing.

 

Click here for the next part of this tip, a discussion of commercial products such as "Back Magic" that claim to "add shine to the backside" of a fused piece.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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

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