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Old 09-22-2018, 07:37 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Silica supply

I will begin batch trials and tests over the next couple months in attempt to use more local sources materials.
The silica source that I have has tested at
99.5% Si
0.2% Al
0.1%Fe
0.05%Zn
0.14%Ba

The Iron content can be lowered to around 0.05 through
Magnetic separation

As a beginer at batching I am wondering the opinions of others if this sand is worth pursuing.
The mine is only 30km from my studio
The price is 350 Canadian dollars for 2500lbs
Screened to -120 mesh

I'm currently using SP87
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:14 AM
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120 mesh is pretty coarse unless you plan to melt above 2400F. That in turn will be hard on your refractories. 200 mesh is my standard. 325 is simply overkill and expensive and tends to clump more. It all should be screened.

The iron content in the silica is really high. Preferably silica should be 99.98 or better.

It may appear to be cheap but the effort you will make to clean it up will likely defeat your cost effectiveness. The heat required to melt it alone will be expensive in a lot of ways. Fuel costs and refractory deterioration come to mind right away. If you use a crucible, it will have a considerably shorter life. Commercial silicas such as Sil-co-sil or Short Mt are available in the States. I can't speak to Canadian sources.

At .14 cents per lb, it's not really cheap but is clearly less than a commercial clean sand costs. So, looking at the cost per 300lb in a pot 24 inch diameter, the silica is going to run about $42.00 US as opposed to $66.00 US for the clean stuff, a savings of $24.00 US. For me, that savings is a false economy. You might consider Ron Mynatt's Sodium silicate which he periodically suggests here. That would indeed make your life easier if it can be brought into Canada without horrific tariff potentials. It requires decolorizing.

Otherwise, SP87 runs about .72 per lb, a real bargain compared to buying cullet that has serious supply issues. I make my own and it costs about .50 cents lb and I usually have it mixed for me by Spruce Pine. for .72 . I don't like having it mixed at Spruce Pine for glass I intend to color since the pellets make it hard to get the colorants into solution. As a clear, it works well and beats the snot out of not having glass at all, a condition most cullet melters are facing right now.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:32 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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The company webpage quoted 99.75% Si
And only 0.02% Fe
My tests somewhat differed in result.
If the quoted specs were to be obtained as well as 200 mesh, would that make the difference or would it still fall short of industry standard? I had a lot of hope that this source would work out to secure my base material for a lifetime of glass art
It seems if I need to import sand, that I may as well just stick with SP. it's the shipping cost, tarrifs and exchange rate that make it difficult for Canadian artists

Last edited by Curtis Dionne; 09-22-2018 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:29 PM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is offline
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You could decolonize it with erbium
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:30 PM
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I've never had my silica tested to confirm the iron content. You can see it really easily if you just do a single test melt. If you actually tested at .1 percent, that's a lot of iron and the color would be distinct. I have a number of color batches with .1 percent of the colorant in it and they're vivid. I still think the mesh size is a killer.

I don't think there's much savings to be had making up your own batch in clear at least. ( I do in color) . I still applaud the effort and at times like these where cullet is once again very hard to come by, internalizing your supply is great- but it comes at the price of having a good formulation, very good scales ( two), storage, a mixer, blah blah blah... Even then, you can make mistakes or have materials go bad on you. The rewards are great!. A much better glass than you can buy if you commit to potassium and barium. There's not a decent glass on the market that polishes well.


When I started, it was a necessity. Spruce Pine would not come into existence for another 15 years. There were a few hundred glassworkers in the country at most . Cullet was an issue at the time. I started off melting plate glass windows. Forty five years later, I'm glad I did it.
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eben Horton View Post
You could decolonize it with erbium
******
Erbium is not going to nullify .1 percent iron.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:07 PM
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"decolonize"?

I love it.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Greg Vriethoff View Post
"decolonize"?

I love it.
*****
My glass dictionary:
decolonize glass
incomparable glass
sofa Lime glass
bitch mixing

I already forget what the other one was. It will come back soon.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:29 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Thanks Peter and Eben. This is a great resource.
I will see if I can get a more clean and more refined product.
Either way I will try a melt and post the results. I'll have a few extra pots in the furnace anyway. I'm interested in batch color. I made copper blue, copper ruby, and cobalt so far using SP87. The manganese came out more of a smoke color though.
Is the SP color base much different from the 87?
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:25 PM
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Indeed. It does not have either the nitrates or the antimony in it. Tom took that class with me about fifteen years back.
Antimony is death to a manganese glass. The color base does however need to be mixed entirely after you receive it. It simply has the base ingredients in the bag. Don't ever try to run run a manganese glass in reduction. It will lose color very quickly.

As an aside, the coarser silica is far harder to remove the iron from than a silica flour as it's called in finer mesh. We use a profoundly clean silica in Shanghai but importing it is impractical.

I was looking back today in the early class prospectus and in the early classes, we had the SP formula as part of of the class so people could see how to color it. Times have indeed changed, part of why I don't teach anymore except in this format. .
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:48 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Well then, maybe I'll stick to the copper ruby then.
My furnace goes into reduction every hour when I charge fuel since I fuel it only with wood.
I purchased a very good lab balance but still need a floor scale if I want to charge that 24 inch pot.
Is there a thread on here for colors that batch well with SP87?
I use all of my scrap for the copper and cobalt glass
It's very effective and inexpensive color but I'd like to expand my pallet somewhat.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:41 AM
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Wow! wood. That's dedication. Use the search function for specific information like "color formulas". Try different approaches. How hot are you able to get the furnace on wood. Does it use forced air or just a venturi effect?

I think that wood and 120 mesh silica are going to leave you dissatisfied. In "Glass Gaffers of New Jersey" Adelle Pepper described the wood usage in Cap Wistar's shop at closing on ten cords a day. They moved the glasworks when they had to travel over ten miles a day to get the wood.

I have two scales on the floor much of the time. One checks the other. It seems I collect the things although I never meant to. I have a big Wells Fargo floor scale I would sell for 75 bucks. It's quite accurate. There are two actually. I used to have the things certified annually. They aren't shippable. The main thing you want is consistency. My biggest problem making my own glass is making mistakes at the scale.
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Old 09-23-2018, 11:42 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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I designed my furnace myself. I burn 1 to 1.5 cord per week.
But for 3 years I only used 2 x 90 pound pots from EC.
So I was cooking every 3rd or 4th day. Charging over night at 1200c. Then cook all next day at 1250c. Reaching as high as 1270c. Then 2 squeezes overnight. Getting the best glass of my 15 year career. Should hopefully save fuel with my new set of pots.
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Old 09-23-2018, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Vriethoff View Post
"decolonize"?

I love it.
I did that one on porpoise.. hehehe
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Old 09-23-2018, 01:33 PM
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When I was batching 1985-1990 I tried some locally mined silica here in Arkansas. It was only 100 mesh I believe. It wouldn't melt well if I used it for 100% of my silica but by combining it with some 225 mesh it melted ok. I would have to check records to see percentages for sure but it seems like I could only use 25-33% of the 100 mesh. It really wasn't worth it but it was fun to tour the mine and see the process. Most of their silica went to metal casting factories, now it goes for fracking.
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Old 09-23-2018, 01:59 PM
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I did that one on porpoise.. hehehe
Glad things are back to norbal. (points if folks can tell where that's from)
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Dionne View Post
I designed my furnace myself. I burn 1 to 1.5 cord per week.
But for 3 years I only used 2 x 90 pound pots from EC.
So I was cooking every 3rd or 4th day. Charging over night at 1200c. Then cook all next day at 1250c. Reaching as high as 1270c. Then 2 squeezes overnight. Getting the best glass of my 15 year career. Should hopefully save fuel with my new set of pots.
*******

It's still a lot of wood and I'm presuming hardwoods. Do you have to buy it and if so how much does that run or do you cut your own? I used to cut my own but age is stopping that so my forester cuts me about 20 cords and stacks it in the woodlot every three years or so. That cost 70 dollars a cord and they are my own trees. The bucking and splitting suck out about another five hundred dollars or moreand it still has to be stacked and moved to the basement, so, it's not cheap to do it.

There is absolutely nothing to compare with a wood fire for heat in an old rumsford fireplace or any of our four woodstoves or three fireplaces. It's good thing not everyone does it.
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:07 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Yes. I live in an area where there is plenty of wood and sustainable harvesting. I employ a wood man all summer bringing it cut up from within 10km.
The cost is 200 per cord. Its capable of melting 400 pounds of glass plus I work out of it as a very nice gloryhole.
Cost under 1000 dollars per month to run. It's a very rewarding feeling seeing my revenues go to local jobs as well. I've come to love the silence and peacefulness of the wood furnace. No blower, just a chimney. 50 cords lasts me a year.
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:10 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Cool ed. That is actually encouraging at this point.
I think I will try it. It could be very attractive to local people to own glass made with locally mined minerals.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:08 PM
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What a great attitude! I love where you are trying to go. I want to come north and see Nova Scotia and P.E.I. I'll try to show you what I know within my capacity to do that. I like the dog and pony show as I see it so far. You could try coming down here as well. There are a lot of ways to do this junk.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:24 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Sounds like an excellent opportunity for me.
Don't overlook NB in your travels. I'm located on the fundy trail near hopewell rocks. Home of the highest tides in the world.
Let me know and I'll put you up. Top notch accommodations just next door.
I'm currently partnered with the chemistry department at NBCC under an industrial research grant to look into the possibility of developing this product from Atlantic Silica Inc.
The college has also suggested the use of diatomite.
Of course that happened before I found craft web as well as some great info from dave bross and Henry Halems book. It's truly awesome to have access to the spectroscopy and other types of testing. I was honestly hoping to start mixing batch for a few other studios and maybe even cullet and color rods. Then again, I started out melting beer bottles and anything is better than that
Although I'm quite happy to just play with color, my business is partially dependant on colorless batch.
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Old 09-24-2018, 08:30 AM
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Making commercial color rods is an entirely different animal. The potential toxicity issues are overwhelmng on that scale, not to mention the tooling . I've done that.

With this particular silica, several things would be necessary. First the capacity to grind it into a flour of 140 mesh minimum. The iron eradication would be step two. The amount of erbium that you would need to decolorize would, based in cost alone, be sufficient to wipe out any potential savings if water white is not negotiable.

I started out with the notion of a color rod company thinking it would be really fun to do. It was anything but that.
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:01 AM
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What’s the saying? When you make and sell color rod, you are constantly judged by the inch.”
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:16 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Haven't heard that one Eben. During my apprenticeship we pulled 50 pounds every Saturday. Sold it by the pound
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eben Horton View Post
What’s the saying? When you make and sell color rod, you are constantly judged by the inch.”
*******
That's part of it , but just being able to achieve the expansion and relevant viscosities is haerd enough. We had six different base glasses for our rod.

When I was doing it, Hammond Lead was the only supplier of Lead Monosilicate which is the only form you can get on your skin without health issues. At the time, it was .90lb. The last price was 8.99 lb. Then they simply stopped offering it at all. There's a lot of colors you just can't make without some form of the stuff. Lead is still cheap in the Shanghai shop, supplied by Hammond of Shanghai.
Just look to what went on with Bullseye. Look to the Torit filtration it would take to be a decent neighbor. The BE class action suit gets going pretty soon now. I think capitalizing it would take one million dollars and only then do you get judged by the inch.
Reichenbach appears to have some price support externally so then you have to compete.

I think the best reason to make your own color is that it makes your own work look distinct. You can also use gobs of it per piece. Start selling it? I do it occasionally with the black or the silver opals but not generics. If it can't go for a minimum of $65 dollars a Kg, it's really not worth doing it.

And it isn't fun.
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