For those of you interested in fusing glass, I’ve given a short explanation about the process.
Although working in kiln fired Warm glass (as opposed to Hot glass worked in a furnace), is secondary to my woodworking, it does provide another creative outlet. Here is some info for those that are interested in learning more about fused glass. Fused glass is melted in a glass kiln, which differs from a ceramic kiln in that glass kilns are digital and programmable because the glass must be melted and cooled at a certain temperature. Otherwise, the glass will be unstable and shatter at some point. Fusing glass is basically a three step process: First, the glass is cut and assembled into the shape it will take (or closed to it). Then, the first cooking phase: fusing the glass flat. This is where your cut glass is melted and combined into one solid piece. It takes about 12 hours from start of the kiln to complete cool down, although the fusing only takes about an hour. And in the last step, you take the glass out of the kiln and put in your form (ceramic or stainless steel) in the kiln if you want your glass to take on a particular shape. Then, you place your fused piece back in the kiln balanced on your form. You then fire your kiln for the slumping phase. Slumping is melting your glass only just enough to take on a particular shape and that’s it. It is not fired as hot and long as the Fusing phase. You can see that it can take several days to ‘cook’ a glass piece.
Now, about the glass used. The glass used in Fusing is very similar to that used in stained glass. In fact, you can fuse glass made for stained glass. However, you must ensure that all the glass that is fused in a project has the same COE, coefficient of expansion. Glass is made in different COE’s. If you combine different COE’s in a fusing, then at some point after it has cooled (as much as a couple weeks later), it will shatter without notice. Now dichroic glass: this is glass with a high tech micrometer thin metal oxide coating (titanium, gold, etc). But, its most fascinating property is that it reflects a different color than it transmits. Take the Red/Orange colors used in the WildFire lamp. With the lamp off, it reflects light in Red/Orange. But, when the light is on or when sunlight shines on it, it appears pale cobalt blue. That is the coolest thing about Dichroic glass and why I’m so fascinated with it.
-- Matt - WildFire Designs