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Hi, I am a newbee that needs a little advice.
I was in the process of making a bead yesterday with clear glass when I heard what sounded like a little "crack" When looking at the bead I noticed that there was actually a little crack in it. It was quite a big bead, and I had spent quite a bit of time on it so was determined to save it. I just melted the whole thing down again and then re-shaped it and the crack seemed to disappear.
I do not have a kiln so cool my beads down in fibre blanket which I have in a cut off shoe box. I close the lid and have the whole box wrapped in towels to try and keep the beads in there warmer for longer (mad I know!).
My question is, if the crack has now disappeared will it or can it re-appear in months to come?
Many thanks for any advice,
Jillybean in Cape Town
If you heated the entire bead to a molten state again then I think you mended the crack just fine. But you do need to have your beads annealed in a kiln to make them strong. Just cooling them off slowly doesn't anneal them. All your beads if not properly annealed are at risk of cracking and breaking.
Thanks so much for replying Lil! I have been making beads for about 5 months now, and this is the first cracked bead that I have had! Now that it has cooled down it looks perfect! I would love a kiln but will have to save for that. Did have a pottery kiln and porcelain doll kiln but sold them both a couple of years ago. What a pity! The problem is that I think there are only about 2 other people making beads in Cape Town and they live a really long way away from me. I have a food dehydrator which I don't really use anymore, I was wondering if I could put the vermiculite in there and just leave the beads in there for a couple of hours. It does not get very very hot though!
If you are making large beads, the bead has to be kept heated through while you are working on it. If the center gets too cold, it will crack while it's being worked on weather it goes into a kiln or even if it's annealed it was already set up to crack. The bead has to be kept heated the whole time it is being worked on. A large bead might take me 45 minutes to complete. It's so easy when the docoration is being applied to forget to get that bead into the flame to heat it through and keep it nice and toasty.
Hope this helps. It took me awhile to get the hang of that.
Is the food dehydrator plastic? If so, you'd be safer really if you put the vermiculite in a strong ceramic type vessel. It seems most folks use a ceramic crock pot to put the vermiculite into. Someone else might better be able to explain how they use the crock pot for this...I've never done it myself.
Using the vermiculite to slowly cool off the beads isn't going to offer annealed strength to the beads either, however. :( It's just another method of slowly cooling down the beads and reducing the risk of thermal shock, the same as using the bead blanket.
Maybe you could work something out with mailing your beads to someone who could anneal them for you and then ship them back to you? I know that's a pain but you probably shouldn't think about selling the beads to anyone unless they've been annealed. There's no telling when beads that haven't been properly annealed might go and break on you...could be a day or two or it could be a year down the road. If you're looking to build a reputation as a bead maker you really are going to have to find a way to anneal your work.
Good luck! I hope it won't be too far down the road before you get a kiln to use!
If you are making large beads...you really should anneal them! I am surprised you dont have mroe cracking. Save up and buy that kiln! It really is that important!
I am sure someone will jump in to help anneal for you....a lot of folks batch anneal on here. I dont batch anneal..I am a stickler for working and putting it right in the kiln!...especially with big beads. why spend 45 min or more on a bead you love...just to lose it?!
happy melting and welcome to the addiction!
Thanks sooo much to you all for your input and help, I really appreciate it.
Yes Lil, the dehydrator is plastic and I would put a ceramic dish in it first.
Thanks for the welcome Crystal. Unfortunately there are not many bead makers in Cape Town yet! I am sure the addiction will start spreading soon though!
Hi Cynthia, thanks so much for your advice too, I am sure that that is what happened to my bead, I was so engrosed in the decoration that I forgot to keep it warm. I am sure I have now learned my lesson though.
I was just thinking. What about putting your beads in the vermiculite, in your normal kitchen oven and turning it on slowly and letting the beads stay at a highish temperature and then slowly turning it down. Would this help until such time as I can get myself a kiln or is it not worth it?
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