Tuff Break is the name of “That Rubber Stuff” for setting enamels. Several reasons why this product is great.
One, Tuff Break adds protection to the counter while setting enamels. How you might ask, by giving the enamel piece a cushion, that rubber stuff, against the metal as you are pushing to close the bezel over the delicate enamel edge. After many firings, one needs to be gentle while setting enamels.
Second, that rubber stuff removes that clingy sound of the enamel against the metal once the piece is complete.
Many enamelist use types of glue or a piece of plastic behind the enameled piece and even sawdust in setting enamels. I feel this adds a more professional element to the cloisonné jewel.
I wanted to mention when you are designing look at these images. Think about the turtle and the pelican. If you squint your eyes and look at either in the photos you took it is easier to see the turtle as it is dark in the middle of the piece = the turtle and the water right around it is light. The pelican is harder to see as it is very close in color value. The pelican and the background.
Also something that helps make a design show up is to use complementary colors to help off set the desired image. As in this color sample.
I have seen students, all located in different area of the country with either the wrong metal or impure metal when attending my classes or workshops. When you are enameling for jewelry and select fine silver as your base metal to capture sparkle and clarity of the enamels, you want to know you have pure metal. With hobby style resources available for purchasing metal and the introduction of new metals such as Argentium silver it is easy to get the wrong product and not that easy to tell the difference. And you do not want to began project, and have four layers of enamels before you start seeing the bubbles and discoloration of impure metals. I highly recommend to purchase your metal from one reliable supplier, and only one. Then you know exactly were it came from and can hold them accountable if it is fine silver. But more than likely, if it is from a notable refinery they will not have a problem of recognizing metals.
Patsy – Wow I hadn’t seen your web site before. Very impressive. I’ve been meaning to let you know about my experiments with the customers enamel, that complained of a blotchy, muddy areas in her transparent enamel. She thought the fine silver was contaminated. I did a test with her enamel and my enamel and her metal and my metal. I fired everything 5 times at 1400 degrees and there was no discoloration. My conclusion is that temperature makes a big difference on silver! Keep on ‘ on!
Enamelwork Supply Co.
Thanks for the note, and sharing your testing. Yes, you are right! So many do not understand that vitreous enamels are reactive on many metals. Testing is important and you have two choices, learn the fluxes that are available to us and second, keep the temperature down! *)