Torch Firing & Tutorials » Discussions

Gas forge for enameling

  • Member
    July 30, 2017

    I would like to share what I have been working on for over a year now.  I am a bladesmith when I am not doing the academic thing. When I decided to use enamel in my knives I wanted to try and do it in my gas forge. I have a kiln but after 30 years as a smith the forge seemed the tool. This is all trial and error so I am sure this is not the only way to do it.  I had a few problems with early pieces. Then I decided to try fusing the enamel with the forge (gas and air blower) turned off.  The inside of my forge was brought up to a high heat and held at that temp until I knew the walls/lining of the forge would radiate the heat that I needed. With the forge turned off I place my pieces in the forge and actually watch the enamel melt and fuse to the metal. This basically gave me a neutral or slightly oxidizing atmosphere.  So far this has proved very successful for me.  The inside of my forge is about 18 inches deep by 8 inches in diameter.  The forge will reach 2600 F in about 30 minutes but I can control the heat. I have a 3 x 4 opening. I mechanically made a few stainless spatulas and tines on 3 ft rods. These hold my pieces including those that are 3D and need to be rotated. I have used a torch to fire enamel but this seems to work better for me.  It also means that I can enamel some moderately large pieces. Of course the largest I personally have attempted was 3 inches wide by 11 inches long.  I am still a neophyte with enamel but I hope to improve with practice.  I just thought this was variation on torch firing and probably shares some of the same issues.

    Thanks for letting me share.

  • April 16, 2018
    I would love to see some pictures of enamels fired in this way!
  • Member
    April 17, 2018

    I will try to post some recent photos. I attempted to make a few pendants for a charity event. All were fired in the gas blacksmith forge. A couple used silver nitrate on a second firing after applying a base coat of opaque black crackle or green. These were fired on 1/8 inch thick copper that was pressed between two sheets of 100 grit sandpaper. The press was a 40 ton forging press. Copper reduced from 3/16th to 1/8 under the press. I will try to post them soon.

  • April 17, 2018
    Wow! I would anticipate problems fusing with such a thick sheet. The heat would melt the glass, but does it bond properly to the metal? Is there a reason you have the metal so thick?