Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Plique-a-Jour Experiment with Titanium.

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I have been wanting to mess around with plique a jour enamel in titanium for a while.

Namely, I wanted to see if it can work.

And also if, after it is polished, I can blue the titanium with heat with out ruining the piece.

I pierced out a design in titanium out of 1mm plate.

This is only an experiment, so the piercing is not finished off perfectly.

The piece is 35mm x 25mm x 1mm.

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Then I put copper foil on the back.This technique is on my website here.

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I use a bottom plate to protect the piece from direct flame.

Then I heat it from underneath until the enamel is nicely molten

For this experiment, I didn’t grind the enamel powder finer or wash it and I only gave it two coats.

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Pulling the copper foil off. Looks bad, but after after sanding it down with the grey rubber wheel, it will come out OK.

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I just let it cool down from firing in the outside air. So I expected the cracks.  If this were a serious piece I would have cooled it down much slower.

But anyway, all the cracks would rejoin in the last oven firing, but that is not to point of this experiment.

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Polished.

Surprisingly everything held together.

I even let the piece fly hard during polishing.

It went bouncing around the workshop and I thought that was that.

Titanium is a bitch to polish, so I fully expected the enamel to disintegrate , what with the heat and forces needed.

So now push comes to shove.

Will the titanium blue before the enamel melts or not?

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The titanium blued at just under the fusing temperature of the enamel.

Didn’t stick to the iron metal plate either.

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Just at the temperature to fuse most of the cracks together again.

Not all, you can see some trouble at the bottom of the piece with the pink enamel.

So a provisional conclusion it that is

It is possible to do plique-a- jour enameling with titanium, and although it is not the best material for this technique it is extremely strong.

It is possible to heat colour titanium after the enamel has been finished off.

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Now normally I would fire the piece once more under controlled conditions in my vacuum oven, but unfortunately the oven is made in America, so it is 110 volts.

So now I have to look for a frikin transformer, if that is possible.

Made in Hicksville—ha ha

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And then, as always, I purposely over heated it to see what would happen.

It is as I thought.

I think that at higher temperatures the titanium oxidizes and the oxidant is not permeable with the enamel, unlike copper or silver.

So then it loses its attachment to the side wall a draws back into a “ball”

The oxides of copper or silver can cause trouble with some colours of enamel, but mostly its to little to be noticed.

Not with titanium, it seems.

Check the red center marquise shape.

Those two yellow marks on the top apex are made out of titanium oxide, melted into the glass of the enamel.

Titanium is not really suitable for plique a jour enameling.

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