Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Handmade Wedding Favors

I had wanted to show you the wedding favors I made for a May wedding. The bride's mother had seen one of my candle holders on etsy and had contacted me by email. They wanted to be able to give their guests something unique and handmade. The dad even worked in the same town and picked them up from my work teasing that he was only following his wife's instructions and writing checks for this wedding....what a guy!

After this first bunch was picked up, they asked for a few larger ones and some extra small ones which I shipped to the other side of the state just before the wedding. I bet the table decorations were beautiful. Think I'll write the mom and ask her to email me a picture.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Completed Kiln Project

The finished kiln!

I have it running on low to help totally cure the mortar and completely dry out the fire brick. You have to dampen the bricks to insure a good mortar joint. I used a shallow tray with water in it and dunked the sides of the bricks as needed. Probably overkill on the moisture

It has two handles for carrying and one for the lid. A flip-up bead door and a separate stand.

The lid was a bead collar I bought years ago because I needed a little extra height to do those kiln formed bracelets. Filled in the center with brick for a solid lid. I will never understand why Evenheat Kilns makes there extension collar for the Hot Box smaller than the Hot Box kiln. Guess they thought they were saving a ton of money being skimpy. Doesn't make any sense to me when you can buy firebrick for 1.50 a piece from your local refractory.

The small hole in the side (above photo) is for the pyrometer. Not using my digital controller in this picture and the pyrometer is attached to that. A bit hard to make out in the above picture but you can the heat shield between the red metal box and the fire brick.

The elements are up in the top ring, the bead ring has 2 tiles with holes for a bead rack. The elements are not encased in quartz tubing so you do have to put your mandrels straight into the tile. It would be very hard to point one up at high enough of an angle to get zapped by the elements.

The stainless I just got is brushed stainless instead of the polished type that is on the lid. I have the top vented right now to let any moisture escape while its running on low.

I'm sure it will get tons of use in the coming years. And I think its adorable as far as kilns go! Next up? Finished the little work table station I started today.... its always something!

More on the Kiln Project

In these pictures I took the old jacket off the kiln and added new firebrick for a floor.

This picture shows where the elements connect to the controller. A heat shield is used between the controller box and the brick.

My Kiln Project

These are more pics of the kiln project. I have it done! The previous posts explains what I did to convert my first kiln (Hot Box by Evenheat) into a bead annealer that I've used for several years.
What I did now is to make a firebrick top and bottom for it and encase the bottom and sides with stainless steel so I can easily take it with me on my camping trips.

Another project

Really its more like 3-5 projects going on all at once. I'm in the process of revamping my little Hot Box kiln for about the 3rd time. Been using it with a bead collar and digital controller I made up several years ago as my bead annealer until recently when I bought a bigger secondhand kiln for my home studio.

I was taking this small kiln with me when traveling in the summer. Packing up 4 separate layers safely is a hassle. It had to go into a huge plastic tub that took up a lot of room. Wasn't trilled with the cheap fiber board top and bottom on this kiln either. Despite is compact size I am able to get 60-80 beads in it in one sitting.

Since I already had the firebrick and heat stop mortar in the shop I made a brick bottom and used an old collar to make a new flip open hinged lid.

Our nephew runs a laser cutter at a metal shop so I was able to get a new stainless steel kiln jacket and bottom cut there for cost! 8-D That has always been the hardest part of any kiln project I've done in the past... getting the metal work done at a reasonable cost. This baby should be finished early next week. Have to stop by one of our neighbors and use his metal break to shape the bottom plate and door piece.

So that's what I've been up to and why I haven't sent out my newsletter and picked a new date for the conch shell drawing. I'll get on it as soon as I get caught up a bit here.

I also have oak blanks cut out for 9 new bead racks! Hope to have those ready sometime next week too.

I've been having problems getting pics to load to the blog so trying them separately.

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