Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Annealing bubbles

 I continued to have trouble with the vermiculite and scarring, If I tried to let the beads cool even the tiniest of a bit they stuck to the mandrel and I had a heck of a time getting them off. Obviously the fireblanket was out, it was NOT the safe material I thought it was.
So Billie Anne, wonderful person that she is, exchanging emails with me, offered a possible solution. 
Can we all say YEAH BILLIE ANNE!!!
She told me about a product made for lampworkers that is actually perfect for what I needed. They are called Annealing Bubbles. I found the person who is selling them the least expensively online. (unless you want to purchase them in a fire resistant tin that is available)  His name is Malcolm and he is with the company called Artco. This is the link  http://www.artcoinc.com/annealing_bubbles.php
They don't have a cart system yet,  but when I called he was very helpful, and sooner than you can say Bippity Boppity Boo my annealing bubbles were on their way. They came from Californin and arrived in NewYork 3 days later!  Now I call that speedy service.
So today I tried them and I really am impressed. They are light little bubbles of silica so when I dropped anything in there the pieces automatically bury them selves in. They dont stick to even the hottest stuff and they keep what ever i drop in there hot for a long time and they cool super slow. In my opinion that is the trick to the chipping on the pennies and maybe even the large smooth bead I am having trouble with. The more dense the item being torched, the greater occurance of shock, In my opinion. 
I ordered the $7 bag and it was enough to fill by BPS pan AND my crockpot. I had the crockpot on with it filled with the bubbles and the crockpot warmed up but the beads didnt seem to get hot, maybe a little warm. I am sure it will hold the heat though bcz I tried to retrieve some annealed pennies from my BPS pan after about 45 minutes and they were still hot.

This is the box they came in, to give you an idea of the size of the bag.

A close up of the box with a ruler


The annealing bubbles in my hand

The amount of bubbles left AFTER i filled my BPS pan

My full crockpot

My Baby with a bagel ( hey, its my blog!)

The babys name is Gibson Trommler Kelley
Trommler means drummer boy in german.
When he was a  smaller puppy his feet sounded like drumming on the hardwood floors. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this information, Danielle. I agree completely with you about the vermiculite. Hate it! Dump a bead in too soon, the vermiculite messes it up. Try to dump a bead a split second too late and you can't get it off of the mandrel. The last time I made beads I just used a wadded up piece of foil to cushion the fall and that seemed to work fine. But now that I know there's an alternative, I'll check it out. Thanks again.