Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mystic Devitrification

Being married into a German family I've been hearing for years just how superior the Germans are at just about everything [eyeroll]. I figured they must make some pretty spectacular glass too so I went ahead and bought myself a sampler pack of Reichenbach 104 to try it out.

Although I have seen many a marvelous beads made with this glass, my experience was not the elated euphoria I was hoping for. I was instead met with devitrified disappointment. All of the 'Mystic' glass rods I used devitrified and formed a pitted, bubbled, white chalky residue on the surface that was anything but the "shampoo" sheen I was anticipating.

evil devitrified beads

I scoured the Internet for all the information I could find on staving off the evil devitrification monster and stumbled upon Pat Fratz's blog post about working the famed EDP (Effetre 'Evil Devitrifying Purple'). So I went back to the torch armed and ready with new information and a totally different approach.

Much success ensued and I had my moment of euphoric enthusiasm after all. The key to working with any of the Reichenbach 104 Mystic glass colors is that you need to treat it a little bit like EDP. It does not like the rapid heating/cooling/re-heating process. It also doesn't like to get too hot and worked for too long. Get in, get shaped and get out. Don't futz around, and don't press it too often.

I remade the same beads and just modified my process. Instead of pressing after each "step" I only pressed twice - once to initially size up the footprint, and then at the very end for final shaping. I worked it much cooler and much faster - no futzing around. Keep an even heat and modify your flame chemistry to be ever-so-slightly reducing. Scale back the oxy just a bit for a soft bushy flame, but not enough to create a full-blown reduction flame.

pretty mystic beads
And voila! Pretty mystic beads without the hideous devitrification.