Tack Fusing Glass Stringers
It takes time and patience to lay down glass stringers for tack fusing. This could be a very challenging task. If trying to make a stringer bowl, for instance, you will need around four layers of stringers arranged in rows.
These can be held in place by using glue or a small amount of hair spray as you arrange them on the kiln shelf. They can also be glued onto a piece of paper, because the paper will burn off during firing. Of, if you prefer, you could glue them to some thinfire paper. Personally, I would not use the plain paper method, because of the chance of causing a small fire inside the kiln.
When using a small amount of hairspray, pour a little on a paper plate and using a toothpick place just a drop on the stringers as you arrange them. The glue doesn't take long to dry and burns off during firing.
It will take about six tubes of stringers to create an eighteen inch square fused piece. If laid out flat, each tube will cover approximately 1.5 square feet. A tube of glass stringers can cost about $23. Once the glass stringers are lined up and glued in place, they will need to be fused to make them permanent. To maintain the texture of the individual strings of glass, this piece will need to be fired to just a tack fuse. If fired to high, the pieces will melt together and you will lose the texture of the strands.
The correct results should be obtained at between 1300 degrees Fahrenheit and 1350 degrees Fahrenheit. Since every kiln is different, the exact temperature can deviate with each kiln. Watch and take notes on what is happening inside the kiln. Begin by firing as fast as possible until the kiln reaches around 1250 degrees Fahrenheit and then slow down the rate of increase. Observe the kiln closely as the temperature comes close to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember if you fire the piece too high you will end up loosing all the appearance and texture, so watch the piece until you observe the top layer start to droop slightly. At this point, start cooling down the kiln.
Using Stringers to Trap Air
These thin rods can be used to trap air inside a fused piece of glass. They can either be laid randomly or in a criss cross or grid pattern. Be sure that parts of the rods are touching in such a way that air will be encased in the melting glass. Cap the piece with a transparent piece of glass.
As the piece is heated in the kiln, the areas that are touching will heat up first and cause air to be trapped inside the formed pockets. Once cooled the air will be trapped permanently.
Try making these with some dichroic glass used as the base piece. They make spectacular pendants.
Slumping Tack Fused Glass Stringers
Once the piece has cooled down to room temperature, the piece will be very fragile. It will be four stringer layers thick and tack fused together. Handle the piece gently and observe it during the slump firing process.
Any time you are slumping a pre-fired piece, you will need to fire very slowly. The glass is thicker and has a tendency to crack when slumped into a mold if the piece is fired too fast. For the first attempt at slumping these stringer layers, try using a shallow mold. Once you have the process down, you can attempt a deeper slumping mold for the process.
To fire this piece, take about two hours to reach around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have obtained that temperature, increase the rate of heating to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. Observe the piece until it slumps into the mold. Now the piece will need to be cooled down and then anneal the piece. Experiment with stringers for glass fusing projects. You can achieve some unique and intricate designs in your fused glass pieces using glass stringers.
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