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Fused Pattern Bars

This is part three of a multi-part series on fusing pattern bars.  Click here to start with part one.

Once you have cut and arranged the glass for your pattern bar, the next step is to dam the bars in the kiln.  This requires dam material for forming the sides of the dam and fiber paper for lining the edges of the dam and keeping the glass from sticking to the dam.

Dam material can be made from any material that is rigid and can withstand the heat of the kiln.  Examples are cut up kiln shelves, rigidized fiber board, vermiculite board, and Ceramaguard ceiling tile.  The material being used to dam must be over half an inch and preferably around an inch (25mm) thick.  It should be capable of standing on its edge without support.  Cut the dam material into strips at least as long as the pattern bars you're damming, and at least as wide as the bars are tall.

In addition to the dam material, you'll also need to cut strips of fiber paper to line the walls of the dam and keep the glass from sticking to the dam material when you fire the kiln.  1/8" (3mm) fiber paper works well. Don't use thinfire paper for this critical task. 

Cut four strips of paper the right length to surround the pattern bar.  It's essential that the edges of the fiber paper are straight and that the strips of fiber paper fit together without gaps.  For one inch pattern bars, the width of the fiber paper should be 1/8" (3mm) narrower than the pattern bars are high.  It may seem that the pattern bars are too high for the paper, but by cutting them shorter than the pattern bars you allow the bars to round perfectly on top and help prevent needling.

Click here for the next part of this tip, which is on using the dam material and fiber paper strips to form a dam around the pattern bar.  


Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Four Corners International, Inc.

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Clemmons, NC  27012   USA

Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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