Another early morning with no coffee and no music. I have actually been awake since 5:00. I tried to get back to sleep till 5:30 then gave up in disgust and got up. Since then I have been futzing around trying to figure out iPhoto so I could get this picture up.
I tried another combing this weekend with obviously mixed results. Some people say that they never get big bubbles from their mulite shelves. I do with every piece except strip-pieced work unless I follow one rule: never go up faster than 400 degrees/hour above 1250 degrees. In strip pieced work--like the last combing I did--the strips of glass are placed on their sides leaving a surface area only 1/8" wide for each piece of glass. The air has plenty of room to escape this way. For the firing yesterday I went up at 600 degrees per hour and had three large bubbles by 1569 degrees.
Since the piece was already ruined, I decided to trying combing there. The glass wasn't soft enough and the top center dragged down into the piece. Then I decided to really have some fun and do a little temperature experimentation along the way. I went up to 1600 degrees for the next pass. It is possible to comb there, but there is a chance of deforming the shape of the piece and you only get one pass before you have to heat the glass up again. At 1600 degrees I also had a lot more bubbles. Typically I use 1/8" fiber paper on the shelves in this kiln to avoid bubbles, but that would not work with combing as there is too much risk of pulling the fiber paper into the glass.
I combed left, right, up and down intentionally dragging and deforming the glass. The result at the end of the day is that I find 1650 degrees an optimal comb temperature. And I didn't even almost set my combing stick on fire this time!
Now I am going to sort through my massive Siyeh Studio To Do folder and pay all the bills. While I am in bill-paying mode I will also do the household bills. Then it will be time to get the Sprout up and off to school and go into the studio for the rest of the day. I cleaned it yesterday for the first time this year. I still can't see the top of the desk or one work cabinet--and forget the shelving unit that holds chemicals, tools and hardware--but the floor is swept and the only things on it really belong there.