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Adding Silver to Fused Glass, Part 2

Silver sometimes turns yellow when fused into clear glass.


Adding Silver to Fused Glass, Part 2

Recent Q&As: Room temperature reading on a digital controller; programming a slow cooling; ohmmeter basics

Enamelist Society Fusion Conference


Two months ago I wrote that instead of discarding silver filings, add them to fused glass. Kiln Pointers Back Issues Martha Biggar, Cindy Henry, and Judi Weers have kindly given more information about combining silver with glass.

Cindy Henry of Homosassa, Florida wrote, “When combining Precious Metal Clay with glass, use Bullseye Crystal Clear as opposed to the regular Clear. If you don't, there can be a chemical reaction with the clay.”

Judi Weers of San Antonio, Texas wrote, “When I place silver clay around Bullseye glass, the regular Clear 1101 will usually get a yellow tinge along the edge next to the silver. I have also placed silver clay (in thin paper form) between two layers of glass, and the silver looks like gold. Bullseye, I believe, remedied this by creating the Crystal Clear 1401, which does not yellow next to the silver.”

Martha Biggar of Draper, Virginia wrote, “Silver is used to give glass a gold color for stained glass purposes. Bullseye Glass Co. in the last few years has been producing a fusible non-lead hand-cast glass called Crystal Clear 1401. In my unscientific fusing experiments, I have found that some colors, especially the whites and french vanilla, are affected by silver. So even if you cap your fused piece with Crystal Clear 1401, it may not make a difference.

“Sometimes silver remains on the kiln shelf as little ‘ghosts’ of your work,” Martha wrote, “and this may color your glass even through a layer of thin-fire paper.

“The firing temperature does seem to matter, since firing the PMC in the low range, i.e. 1200F, does not heat the glass enough to have the silver color it, but in the midrange, 1350F, your glass may change color.”


Q. My controller shows a room temperature reading of 89 degrees F when the actual temperature is 71-- an 18 degree higher reading. If I want to fire to say 1500 degrees, should I add the 18 and go to 1518?

A. A thermocouple is often not accurate at all temperature ranges. Because a thermocouple reads 18 degrees higher at room temperature doesn't necessarily mean it will read 18 degrees higher at 1500 degrees. I suggest firing to 1500.

Q. I am programming a segment of a firing that has a rate of 300 F and a temperature drop from 1000 degrees F to 800. Will the power shut off during that segment until the temperature drops to 800?

A. If the kiln's natural cooling rate is faster than 300 degrees per hour, the elements will intermittently turn on to slow down the rate to 300.

If the kiln's natural cooling rate is slower than 300 degrees per hour, you may get an error message. In this case, program a slower cooling the next time. The error message is simply to inform you that the actual cooling rate is slower than the rate you programmed.

Q. The kiln should be unplugged before touching the ohmmeter to the element. So, how does the ohmmeter check the element if the kiln is not plugged in?

A. The ohmmeter contains a battery that sends a small electric current through the element. If the element is broken, the electricity cannot make a complete circuit back to the ohmmeter. If the element is not broken, the ohmmeter reads the electrical resistance in the element.


Enameling is the art of fusing powdered glass to copper, gold, or silver. The enamel piece is inserted into a kiln at around 1450 degrees F and removed several minutes later.

Last weekend I displayed Paragon kilns at the Enamelist Society Fusion Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Some of the people I met had been enameling for over 30 years. You could tell they were enamelists by the colorful earrings or pendants they wore.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

Copyright 2007, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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