Tuesday, November 6, 2012

After you have pressed your bead & removed the chill marks it will be ready to pop in the kiln for annealing. Annealing is basically slowly cooling the bead to relieve internal stresses in the glass. As glass is heated, it expands & as it cools it contracts again & this causes stress in the glass & if not cooled slowly enough the glass will suffer thermal cracking. For a bead to be properly annealed, it is necessary to cool the glass in a controlled manner through a predetermined temperature gradient. We do this in a kiln, a picture of mine is below.

You can see in the pic on the right, the little flap that lifts up, that is called the bead door & is where you put the bead when you've finished making it onto a metal rack inside that keeps it off the kiln floor. The beads are kept at an even temperature after you make them (called "garaging") until you are finished your beadmaking session, then you kick off the rest of the program which slowly cools the kiln down over a number of hours. So, now our beads are cooling in the kiln overnight, pics of the beads when they come out tomorrow :) .

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