Surely, each of you paid attention to the bright glass compositions decorating the window openings of ancient temples or modern restaurants. One cannot pass by them indifferently. Similar beauty can be seen in the interior of apartments framed by mirrors, on glass partitions, baguettes for paintings, interior doors. Such decorative elements are called the mysterious word "fusing." What is this way of creating glass images, we will try to find out further in the article.
Unique stained glass window technique
Stained-glass windows are transparent drawings, patterns, pictures that are made of fragments or on a glass surface. When creating classic stained-glass windows, a metal element is a must. Multi-colored pieces of glass are interconnected using thin broaches that keep the whole composition intact. The centuries-old history of stained glass art has given rise to many diverse ways of making original jewelry. Modern technologies for creating stained-glass windows number dozens.
Glass melting method
Fusing - what is it? This is the name of one of the methods for processing glass for stained glass. The name of the technology comes from English fusing (heating, melting, sintering) and reflects the essence of the process. Under the influence of high temperatures, several glass elements are able to firmly connect with each other in an unusual multi-colored composition. Similar decorations were known to the ancient Egyptians in the 1st century BC. But over the years, this method of manufacturing was almost never used in stained glass art.
The fusing technique was developed and improved in the nineties of the last century. Then in Germany, special furnaces for melting glass were created. In this country, the revived method has received the greatest distribution.
Fusing technology: stages and features
The production process consists of several steps, each of which we will consider in detail.
- Where to begin. In accordance with the selected technique, a glass blank is made. The final result directly depends on the thoroughness and accuracy of the preparatory work. Then fusing glass goes to the next stage. This is a heat treatment.
- Heating. Prepared semi-finished product is placed in a special oven, which is heated to the desired temperature. Glass gradually melts and takes on a red-orange hue. Softened pieces are first glued together, and then merged into a single whole.
- Languor. Upon reaching the maximum preset temperature, the glass product is kept for some time (2–4 hours). This is a very important stage that fusing takes place. What does this mean for a future product? Long exposure at certain thermal parameters ensures perfect smoothness and maximum plane of the baked fragment.
- Cooling. When the glass blank takes on the desired shape, the furnace is turned off. The product is cooled to room temperature gradually, without removing it from the oven.
Fusing - what is it, what is it like? Sintering glass processing technology is divided into three varieties:
- Full fusing is the absolute melting of glass under the influence of elevated temperatures (700–900 ). With strong heating, the upper layers of the material under the weight of their own weight sink and dissolve in the lower.
- Semi-fusion, or basting sintering (500–550 ) - partial melting with a slight change in shape. The individual elements are interconnected, maintaining a voluminous surface.
- Swelling - a change in the shape of the glass under the influence of its own weight. At t 600–650 the material softens and takes the form of the surface on which it is located. The substrate is objects made of refractory materials (gypsum, clay).
The most popular among designers is flat sintering. A smooth monolithic product can act as a stained glass window, a decorative picture or original dishes (dish, tray). To create objects from fusing glass, you need a base and a set of individual elements. As a substrate, ordinary or colored glass with a thickness of 3 to 5 mm is used.
In the manufacture of parts of the future composition, various materials can be used: pieces of glass, frits, granules, etc. They are placed on a plane in accordance with the sketch of the drawing. To obtain the elements of the desired size and shape using glass cutter and tongs.
The technology of fusing formation allows you to simulate bulk products of various configurations. The desired result can be achieved in several ways:
- comb - “combing” the surface of heated glass with a special tool;
- engraving - additional decoration of individual elements of the image;
- pate de veer - casting products using special molds;
- painting - decoration using glass powder mixed with adhesive;
- bending - creating curved shapes by reheating fused glass.
This is just a small list of fusing varieties. In practice, there are a great many of them.
Details for registration
A professional fusing master uses a large number of different glass-based materials to realize his creative ideas, among which the most common are:
- frit - small particles of crushed glass;
- noodles - thin and narrow strips;
- chips, or confetti - rounded plates with a thickness of not more than 0.5 mm;
- rods - glass rods with a diameter of about 15 mm;
- stringers - threads from 5 to 8 mm thick;
- pebbles - teardrop-shaped particles of glass on a flat basis;
- foil - the thinnest aluminum sheets for fusion into the surface.
To obtain not only beautiful, but also durable products, the compatibility of the materials used should be taken into account.
Glass Sintering Furnaces
To obtain high temperatures use special equipment. The furnace heating processes are controlled using a special unit. Here you can adjust the power level, set a step-by-step temperature change and the inclusion of a timer cycle. Built-in programmable temperature controller allows you to fully control the process of sintering glass.
Fusing furnaces have various power and sizes. The choice of the required type depends on the purpose and scope of work. Modern models are characterized by low inertia and reliable thermal insulation, which has several obvious advantages:
- minimum thickness - reduces the total weight of the structure and increases the internal space of the furnace;
- double layer - contributes to the precise controllability of all processes;
- low thermal conductivity - reduces power consumption, which makes it possible to use in a domestic environment.
The heating elements of the fusing furnace are placed in quartz insulators, which prevents the ingress of scale on the glass and promotes the free passage of thermal energy.
It’s not easy to set a price for a finished glass product, since it is not fixed. The final cost of fusing is influenced by many factors:
- size and thickness of the finished product;
- number of colors and shades used;
- quality of materials and their purchase value;
- image complexity;
- the need for installation of the finished structure and transportation.
One of the important components of the cost of the finished creation is the development of the sketch on which the fusing was created. The price also includes labor costs. One square meter of stained glass using the fusing technique can cost from 30,000 rubles. The approximate lead time for such an order is one week.
Where to learn the art of fusing
The technology for producing glass images by sintering seems to be a simple process. Even a minimal amount of knowledge will help you to make some simple fusing yourself. A master class on creating various products can be obtained by studying a variety of literature and watching videos. But if you have the opportunity to attend a training lesson from an experienced specialist, then do not miss it. In this case, you can not only observe the whole scenario of an unusual and exciting process with your own eyes, but also actively participate in it.
Having made a colorful picture or a luxurious dish with your own hands, you will experience the indescribable joy of creation. The teacher will tell you about all the intricacies and nuances of creative work, answer all questions that concern the fusing technique. A live chat workshop can give you much more than tutorials and video tutorials.
If the knowledge gained arouses your desire to seriously engage in fusing, then you may well be able to do it at home, without resorting to the services of masters.