Fusing Stained Glass
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Yes, you can fuse stained glass. I have made several “coral bowls” using strips of stained glass. I don’t mix colors, or even the same color from different sheets. Theoretically if it came from the same sheet, then it should have a uniform COE even if you can’t determine what that number is. In other words it should be compatible with itself. Variations in the manufacturing process could cause similar sheets from different runs to be incompatible.
I also found that it is best to load my kiln with all one kind of glass even if it isn’t full for firing. This is because there was variation in the time/temperature when different types of glass were done. My first couple attempts contained 3 different projects each using a different color glass. I ended up sacrificing 2 of them because I could tell through the porthole that the red one was perfect and it was the one I wanted most. On subsequent attempts I learned that all the pieces would be successful if they were consistent.
Temperatures – it seems like the more white there is in the glass the higher you have to go to melt it, but I’m not too sure about this. Maybe my perception is off. My red glass was a red/orange streaky. I forget what the manfuacturer or product number was. It was not opaque or opalescent. You could see through it. It fused at 1435. I had a 15 minute soak programmed, but stopped it after 10. It was done. We ramped up slowly, vented the kiln and then went through a slow anneal as well. this turned out very pretty with no devit and nice soft, rounded edges.
I have some other glass that I tried to do the same thing with and it hasn’t worked at all. It is a very hard blue and white streaky. Completely opaque but not opalescent. I am trying to slump this stuff into a mold and have had it all the way up to 1475 without success. All it has done is dimple in the center a little bit. I have fired it twice and I’m not going to try a third time.
Sorry not to be able to give you any specific advice for firing schedules or the like. We just started off with the schedule we use for slumping wine bottles and tweaked to get to results we liked. Make sure you keep your log!
PS – Did you practice lots of soldering? The reason I ask is because I despaired of ever being able to solder attractive beads too, but I kept practicing. Lots of practice. The other day I put an early project from a year ago next to one from last week and could see that I have improved more than I realized. It has finally become easier to count the mistakes than to count the “good places”!