Fusing Glass – How to Choose the Correct Glass

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 26,198
    Glass art expert Erwin Timmers demonstrates how to fuse glass and how to choose the correct glass.

    Erwin Timmers: Hello! My name is Erwin Timmers and we are here at the Washington Glass School and I am going to show you how to get started in fusing your glass bowl. There are various types of glass to chose from and some of the glass that we use here to score is by a company called Bullseye and they make the glass that is specifically meant for fusing.

    We have also tried various other glasses like window glass and glass made by different companies and they are all, they all did very well except you have to keep separate, you cannot mix the two. I have got some examples here, of bullseye glass and window glass and you can see that they physically look different but sometimes the glass actually looks so similar that you cannot tell the difference unless you know where it came from.

    Fusing a glass bowl, how it happens in big electrical kilns and we have got various ones around the studio here. This is very different from blowing glass where the glass gets much harder and you are actually working with hot glass, shaping it in various shapes. With kiln glass we don't touch the glass when it's hot, it basically all gets shaped inside the kiln and its overnight process. The next morning you got to open up and see the surprise.

    It's also very different from stain glass, because in stain glass you don't even heat up the glass and it's all kind of stuck together with led lines and it does not become one single sheet of glass; whereas with fuse glass you end up with one single sheet of glass that you can then shape into a bowl or shape into whatever shape you want it to be.

    The kilns that we use have a computer controller which allows us to heat and cool the glass at a very controlled rate and this has made it possible to fuse glass in any kind of studio setting or even in your kitchen. There are kilns now that you can plug into your kitchen outlet and get very good results. The trick is with glass that you need to cool it at a very specific rate, called the keeling and if that isn't done like in ceramics, where you use a similar kiln but you would nit need to cool it at that specific rate, and if you don't cool the glass properly it will eventually break because there is internal stress in the glass, it doesn't get relieved.

    Coming up next, I'll show you how to cut the glass, the base glass that will form the outline for your fused glass bowl.