Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 5A

kate mckinnon said...
I'm getting a lot of questions from people who have seen this class advertised at Bead and Button, asking how it is possible to fire metal in a microwave. I admit that I can't even fathom it; can you point me to a web page that can explain what temperatures are achieved, and for how long they can be held, and why the metal doesn't simply arc and spark in the oven? It's a mystery to me, but I'd love to learn what you are doing.
-Email from Kate said..... 
Sam, I did my own research and I think I’ve answered the questions that I asked you on my own. My real question that remains is, how is the microwave firing any better than a torch firing? It isn’t a full firing by any stretch of the imagination; it’s just a sintering. And the firings do pollute the microwave, so you really need a separate oven for it, and then you need to buy the saggar, which has a tiny firing chamber. I am having trouble comprehending why this is...useful. Also, for glass, what is your annealing process? Fusing is one thing, I can see how you can stick glass together, but annealing is another, and I can’t see how your process could provide even heat for long enough to anneal a piece of fused work. And without annealing, the piece is not stable. I’m just not grasping why this is a good idea, either for metal or for glass. For metal clay, if it’s directed only at the craft level, then why not a torch? Torch firing is sub-optimal as well, but at least it doesn’t require a microwave and a microwave kiln to achieve the same result.   You can find Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio's response at Questions & Answers - Part 5B

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