The Enamel Material

Enamel material comes in a number of forms: lump, string, liquid, and powder, as well as in the optical qualities of transparent, opaque, and opalescent. The important factor in selecting an enamel material is that it be made for the metal you are using. Enamel material expands as it is fired and then contracts as it cools. This is called thermal expansion. The metal on which the enamel material is fired must expand and contract at a slightly higher rate.

Enamels material arc sold in assorted lump forms and in meshes, probably as coarse as 10 mesh and as fine as #325. Some enamelists use the fines for a painting technique. I principally use 80 mesh powder, overglazes, and the 20 mesh in transparents for some jewelry.

Enamels material arc manufactured in soft, medium, and hard fusing, which refers to how they fire. The soft enamels material fire the most quickly. Some enamelists refer to the soft enamels material as delicate. In Thompson’s catalog, most of the 80 mesh enamels material for copper, steel, silver, and gold are listed as medium fusing.

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