I have been wanting to add some glass work instructables for quite a long time. Main reason I haven't is that when I am working in my shop, I tend to get very involved in what I am doing, and forget to take photos. That and some of the steps probably would benefit from video and I can't do that and do that work at the same time. But maybe this is a start, and I can add more from here.
For those of you who don't have a kiln, or access to one, there are "microwave kilns" on the market. For this instructable I am actually using some of the products designed for "microwave kilns". I had never actually used one, or seen anything that came from one, but if you really would like to work in warm glass, it would definitely be a less expensive start up than investing in a full kiln.
Also note, I am using an Olympic Kiln that is designed specifically of glass. Although some people, including myself, mix clay work and glass work in the same kiln, this is not a good practice unless the kiln is designed for it. Bits of materials can cross over and contaminate the glass work, or cause the glass to explode from air bubbles. I would recommend using a kiln that is not used for clay when working with warm glass.
Step 1: What you will need....
Glass (if this is your first time fusing you would be best using COe 90 or 96 glass, not float glass *see below)
Metal inclusions (if desired
Copper or stainless steel wire
Kiln (or Microwave Kiln Insert- available at some hobby stores and online) **
PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR- Tiny shard of glass can pop off when scoring glass, or can get on your hands an inadvertently into your eyes, so be careful and protect yourself, please!
I keep two separate glass areas. One for the stained glass work I do, and another for the warm glass work.
I even have subdivisions in the warm glass area, since every glass has a different make up causing it to melt and fuse differently. Most of the my work is done with a Coe 96 glass. The "microwave kiln" products I have seen use a Coe 90. The main difference in the 90 and 96 is the melting temperature and the temperature it takes to reach a fluid viscosity. If you attempt to fuse these two glasses together you can see in the photo what you will get.
I also used float glass. It is called this because it is formed by floating the glass on liquid aluminum to form the sheet. Float glass is what is in your everyday glass windows, picture frame glass, and most of the glass you see in everyday life.
Float glass can be difficult to use because it has a right side and a wrong side to use, and you can't tell which is which by looking. The side that was touching the aluminum has picked up a scant amount on the surface. If you have this glass touching top side to bottom side it will not fuse properly. If you notice I mark one side of my glass, even after cutting, with UP. This way I can keep them together properly to fuse.
There is a LOT more information regarding glass and its characteristics and how it reacts to heat, and how to use it in decorative applications, but there is far more than I would want to put in this instructable or you would probably want to read right now.
So let's go on to cutting some glass!!!
Pick your glass, making sure it is compatible. The aqua and amber colored glass shows here is COe96, and will be used together. The clear pieces and the dichroic pieces are COe90 and will be used with same type glass.