Needing advice on purchasing stainless steel molding products

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  • #9575
    glassy
    Participant

    I am planning to do fused glass weavings and other abstract forms using stainless steel products to create my molds. I figure T bars are the way to go for doing my weaving. ? I have a feeling rods can shift. If you say rods do work fine, would it be best to use fairly thick rods? Does the weight of the glass that is set on top of the rods have any effect on the possibility of movement occurring? For example, if I were to place a thick layer of glass on top of a rod that is less than 3/4 of an inch in diameter will I have a greater chance of the rod rolling around when I am attempting to arrange the glass on top of it before firing? Can the rods shift during the melting process, too? The spacing and amount of rods used can have an effect, I assume. If T bars are okay to use, what bar height works best if having a fairly small kiln? I have a Paragon Fusion 7. If I were to make a project having 3 layers of glass by arranging 4 or 5 rods on my shelf (rods being 4 or 5 inches in length) wanting a steepness of about 3/4 inch will a bar that is around 3/4 inch in height do the job…. or…. will it need to be lower or higher? I am sure spacing of the rods plays a factor in this, too.

    Where might I purchase stainless steel products rather than the internet? I have looked at several major chain stores that carry hardware in my area, and I can not find stainless. They carry galvanized steel. I have read that galvanized steel should not be placed in a kiln. There is a steel recycling business near me that I have considered calling, but their products might not be in the best of shape.  

    Since I am experimenting (having no idea whether I will like the outcome of my attempts) I do not plan to get a lot of money invested in my metal. I have read that copper can be used, but stainless steel is the cheaper route.

    Can those of you whom have used stainless steel sheets to form your molds offer me a few pointers? Do you find certain thicknesses work better than others in regards to their strength and flexibilbility? I will be using only frits in some projects and chunks in others. What are the best ways to secure the ends to one another?

    I hope my post makes sense.   Thanks for all of your advice!

    #11938
    tbach
    Participant

    I just purchased a glass weaving mold at Slumpy’s – it was expensive, but looks like it will be a hoot to use. They have several sizes. The mold is made of very heavy steel – impressive. I’m waiting now for some Boron Nitride spray – seems like that would be easier to use on stainless molds than preheating and spraying kilnwash on them. My wife keeps reminding me that I have never had such an expensive hobby . . . she’s right, but I love the whole fusing concept!

    #11939
    Becki
    Participant

     I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking for but I found some great stainless bowls at Target.  Have used them for years with no problems.  You can form molds from sheet stainless but it’s a bit labor intensive.

    Stainless weave molds are terrific and easy to use but I’ve never had good luck using BN on them.  Plain old kiln wash works best for me.

     

     

    Becki

     

    #11940

    Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find stainless steel dishes that can be used as molds. Many of the older stainless pieces are nicer quality than the new stuff. You want the 300 series of stainless…take a magnet with you…if the magnet sticks, you don’t want it. Much of the older stainless will be marked on the backside, sometimes obscure…you will want the pieces marked 18/8.

    If you think outside the box, you can find all sorts of stainless steel…in sheet form and dish form, rod form…look in all sorts of stores, armed with your magnet. Like a folded paper towel dispenser I found at a ReStore….it offers a fair amt of sheet stainless in it, that can be disassembled…and it was 5 bucks. At the welding shop they sell thick stainless wire.

    Check with your local metal fabricator….many will sell you material at a reasonable price, or if you need something constructed, they can do that too.

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