Friday, February 17, 2017

More Glass History: Precision 104 & TAG

I mentioned recently that Rocio Silver Mist was a colour made by Northstar - a company probably better known for their borosilicate glass. Northstar calls their 104 COE glass Precision 104. Likewise, with the rise in popularity of the exotic, high-end colours, Trautman Art Glass, another primarily boro-focused glass company, also produced some 104 COE colours, like the Golden Emerald and Lake Geneva still listed on their site, and the arguable more famous Dali Lama, Tibet, Fire Lotus, etc. Trautman's offerings are known as TAG.

So far as I know, both of these companies are not currently producing 104 COE glasses, as they are focusing on their core COE 33 boro lines. There was something of a kerfuffle in the art glass industry last year around EPA regulations and emissions, principally driven by some reports of finding higher than usual levels of heavy metals in industrial areas that have glass factories in them. This had the result of shutting down some of the manufacturers for a while, and, as you might imagine, small manufacturers of art glass materials live pretty close to the edge in terms of finances. Shut them down for a week and tell them they must spend thousands on scrubber equipment, and you can easily kill them. Especially annoying when spending thousands on scrubber equipment is something that you have just done.

This even created runs on some Boro colours, as the fear was they they would never be produced again. So I suspect that they are concentrating on their core business, which strikes me as a sound business decision. And heaven knows, I want to see all the glass companies succeed. It's better for the artists, artisans and craftspeople (depending on how you see yourself) all around.

Northstar primarily named their colours for people and famous artists:

SPC401 Rocio Silver Mist
SPC402 Picasso Silver Blue
SPC403 Chagall Dark Silver Blue
SPC404 Monet Silver Amethyst
SPC405 DaVinci1 Transparent
SPC406 DaVinci Dble Amber Purple
SPC407 Van Gogh Caramel
SPC409 Kandinsky Green Exotic
SPC410 Matisse Red Exotic
SPC411 Rembrandt
SPC412 Sashas Silver
SPC413 Garzoni Giovanna
SPC414 Black Pearl
SPC415 Abes Ivy

TAG's glass names have a more eastern influence, such as Dali Lama and etc.

They have a wonderful working tip resource on their site, which I will also reproduce here, just in case.

Working Trautman Art Glass (COE 104): Color by Color Soda-Lime Color (Soft Glass): COE 104; Anneal at 945 Fahrenheit (Juno [TAG-104-10] at 975)

An amber-purple glass, similar to our Caramelo, but in a soft glass. Opaque. Most batches respond well to deep heating in the gather, before applying to your bead. Dalai can appear to boil a bit when white hot, but those bubbles disappear as it cools. Shape in a hot neutral flame, and cool until no longer glowing; it may even blush amber. Then strike in a neutral-to-oxidizing flame for beautiful effects, generally ranging from light Painted Desert or jasper (especially if not deeply heated first) to dark reddish purples (when first activated by deep heat.) Or reduce for a different, earthier look. Colors range from tans and ambers (particularly when reduced) to blues and greens, and gorgeous pinks and purples when struck hot. If you are not getting purples, you’re likely not cooling the glass enough between heating and striking. Dalai encases well, and retains reactive effects under clear.

ZEUS (TAG-104-02)
This glass appears crystal clear in the rod, but changes dramatically when reduced, then struck. Zeus turns amber by itself and over light colors. Over black, it’s reduction film can be struck to a range from royal blue to turquoise to green. Can also be reduced further to amber brown opaques. Encases well, and the reaction often gets more opaque under clear. Try it over oranges or reds for a great electric purple! On striking gold-ruby, Zeus can make a peachy color. It’s turquoise over purples.... etc etc!

BLUE BUDDHA 2 (TAG-104-03)
Discontinued. (See Cezanne.)

CLARITY 4 (TAG-104-04)
The holy grail of bead makers is a perfect clear. We think we are close! Resists scumming and is optically superior to many commercial 104 clears. Clarity 4 likes a neutral to slightly oxidizing flame; play with your torch settings if you get scum. Clarity 4 is designed to be quite soft for easy encasement, but softer glasses don’t always like to be on ‘top.’ You may want to make a core of Clarity under your opaque 104 if you intend to heavily encase with Clarity to eliminate the chance of cracks.

OXBLOOD (TAG-104-05)
A self-striking dark grey/brown rod that can make at least three colors when flameworked. It oxidizes to black, reduces to a grey, and, with super-heating and further reduction can produce subtle terra-cotta and brick reds. Very earthy. Also makes a good base for silvered colors. Oxblood makes a very nice black on ivory, which resists “bleeding.”

BLACK CHERRY [Kiln-Strike Red] (TAG-104-06)
This red glass kiln-strikes into a range from light red to super-dark antique ruby red. Can be reduced. For best results, bring red back up to a high, even heat (transparent) to “reset” the strike before placing in the kiln. Kiln striking is dependent on a relationship between time and temperature: in general, the hotter the faster. But too long and/or too hot can cause livering. Rods come red; they have been pre-struck for color verification at the factory.

TO DETERMINE STRIKE TIME FOR YOUR BATCH OF BLACK CHERRY: Bring empty kiln up to your usual annealing temperature. Make a small bead, then torch it up to high even heat for “reset”, and cool it enough to place in the kiln. After a half-hour or so, check it every ten minutes. When it reaches the color you want, make a note of the time. That’s how long you will want to anneal your Black Cherry beads to achieve the perfect red! We suggest you make your Black Cherry beads at the end of your working session, and then run the anneal cycle long enough to kiln-strike your red at the same time. Sorry, out of stock at this time!

TIBET (TAG-104-07) TRANSCENDENTAL (TAG-104-01-Trans)
Just like the classic reactive amber/purple boro, now in a 104 soft glass! A transparent version of Dalai Lama, this amber/purple glass strikes easily in a neutral flame, producing greens over black, or blues and purples alone. Tibet can go pinkish over ivory glass or other light colors. Solo, struck Tibet looks reddish when held to the light. Best results come from striking in a neutral to oxidizing flame. This glass can also be reduced for a different look. Try it on Moretti copper green! Tibet does not generally require deep heating, just light striking. Transcendental is a darker version of Tibet; it can have a skin that is translucent, or even opaque. It also strikes easily and does not require deep heat – however, Transcendental can become cloudy with long hot working. It can be cleaned up a bit with cooling the bead, then burning off the silver haze in a strong oxygen flame.

CEZANNE (TAG-104-08)
A more reactive cobalt-purple relative of “Blue Buddha.” Reduces easily. Gains a beautiful mirror-like finish with full reduction in an un-oxygenated flame. When reduced with oxygen, Cezanne tends to give more greens. The reduction finish is encaseable. Occasionally boily; if so, add a pinch more gas and work higher in the fire.

Pronounced “TOSS-ko”, this glass is named for the town in Mexico renowned for combining silver and turquoise. A transparent reactive glass that produces a shiny mylar surface when reduced without oxygen, or gives a mottled oil-spot look when reduced lightly with some oxy in the mix, particularly over black or other dark colors. Alone, Taxco can reduce to a silvery sheen over the blue-green base. Heavy reduction gives white clouds with copper and terra cotta patches. Taxco likes to be reduced when still barely glowing a light orange – but too hot and reduction burns off, and too cool it won’t stick in the kiln. If it’s a tad boily, turn up the gas & work higher in the fire.

JUNO (TAG-104-10)
Note: Does not work with every brand of clear104 glass; we recommend TAG Clarity for encasement of Juno. She also requires a higher anneal (975 to 980 F) and slightly longer soak time. The wife of Zeus, Juno is pretty and pink; a reducing glass that also strikes. When reduced alone, she can go amber, and can develop a metallic sheen. But, like Zeus, Juno’s reduction haze can be intensified, brightened and made more opaque by striking it. Her reduction haze ranges from greenish to bluish to pink/purplish, depending on the batch and the background color. The reduction haze is enhanced with encasement. Juno also strikes in a neutral to oxidizing flame, with an unusual yellow glow. For an interesting effect, try simply striking Juno on a base of Moretti dark ivory, for a range of colors from pink, purple, periwinkle and even coppery hues! However, overworking Juno can burn out her color. In general, “3 strikes and you’re out.” Also, applying Juno cooler gives more purples over ivory, while heating the rod more in advance tends to produce more copper colors.

This is a pale green transparent reducing glass, similar to our Taxco. Golden Emerald’s effects also differ over a light or dark base glass, and by how much oxygen you use in your reduction flame. When reduced with little or no oxygen, by itself, the Golden Emerald takes on a golden metallic sheen over its transparent golden green. When reduced with some oxygen, on a dark base glass, Golden Emerald produces strong metallic oil-spot colors of purple, blue, electric green, and more. It is difficult to encase the reduction on Taxco and Golden Emerald.

A pretty transparent medium blue reducer, Lake Geneva can make super-metallic effects when reduced with little or no oxygen, and a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. In general, the Lake Geneva makes blues, greens and some purples when reduced. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it. The reduction can also be encased for Mother of Pearl effects.

Pronounced "MON-tro", this glass is named for a town on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. A lovely transparent medium purple reducer, Montreux can make super-metallic effects when reduced with little or no oxygen, and a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it. The reduction can also be encased for MOP effects. In general, Montreux’s reduction colors range from blues and greens to purples, but the base color can also vary from amethyst to light raisin to medium ink purple. Inky blue-purple is now standard for Montreux.

A luscious deep dark transparent purple, Deep Purple reduces with super-metallic effects with little or no oxygen, and gains a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it, and it can also be encased, trapping a beautiful mother of pearl. Deep Purple generally reduces with blues and greens, but can also create purples, pinks and even bronze-like tones in the metallic sheen. The density of the color also lends itself well to thin applications, including stringers.

Our Lotus recipe brings the Dalai Lama striking 104 into even more beautiful territory. Dalai Lotus rods range from opaque tan, to translucent amber, and, like any striking amber-purple they produce the amber-to-purple-to-blue transition.... but THEN they keep going! To green, and yellow and orange and magenta and violet.... and??? This recipe likes more heat than the regular Dalai recipe, both in the initial gather and in the repeated strikes. It also likes to be cooled much more before re-striking. In other words, this is a glass that really likes long, hot working and cool marvering. Encases well, but also keeps color well in the kiln, even if left un-encased. For best results, bring the gather to WHITE hot, then add Lotus to your bead base, cool until no longer glowing, and then – wait more! You should see the glass ‘blush’ amber. This is what will continue to strike. If you overstrike, you can reset Lotus by reheating back to transparent.

This is Dalai Lotus, with the addition of a kiln-striking red. So, you work this glass just like Dalai Lotus, lots of heat, and a significant cool-down, then strike away... Generally, Fire Lotus beads look the same at the end of a normal, 950 anneal as they did going into the kiln. But a boro-hot anneal cycle can change ambers into pinks. You can also put your beads into the kiln at 1000 degrees, and hold at the hotter temperature for an hour or so, then drop to a regular 104 anneal cycle, to further develop the reds and purples in this glass if you did not like your initial strike colors. This gives you more control over your final look. Like Dalai Lotus, Fire Lotus likes a WHITE-hot start, and significant cooling between strikes. You can also reset the strike by returning the bead to transparent with high heat. This is particularly useful if your colors begin to look washed-out or overstruck. But in general, Fire Lotus doesn’t overstrike, it gets “poo” colors from not allowing the glass to cool enough between strikes. The amber blush is your friend!

These blue-grey rods strike in flame like their Lotus-family cousins, above – work hot with longer cooling periods in between strikes and the Blue Lotus will reward you with blues, turquoise, greens, and purples. Not a kiln striker. Just like the other Lotus colors, best strikes come after the glass cools then ‘blushes.’

A milky green rod that really likes it hot. Jelly Opal is a striking glass that primarily strikes amber, but also gives wispy opalescent blues and greens, especially with cycles of striking and reducing. This glass generally responds to repeated deep heating, followed by long cooling cycles. Benefits from rapid cooling, too, with brass tools. Try heating the gather until white hot, wrapping your bead, deep heating again on the mandrel, marvering into shape, cooling, and then striking. You can get different effects from striking right on the candles of your torch, or with encasement.

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