This area is designed to share information about the enamel products of all manufacturers. Contributions are invited from everyone wishing to report their experiences with individual enamels, whether good or bad. Multiple reports of a single enamel will be included, as the requirements of enamellers may of course vary.
The reports are listed numerically under the heading of the enamel manufacturers, which, in turn, are arranged alphabetically. Information about how to contact the manufacturers or suppliers is listed alphabetically on the Suppliers page on the BSOE website.
Manufacturers’ comments will be posted just under the heading of their company. Since pyrometer readings seem to vary widely from kiln to kiln, no actual firing temperatures are recommended. Enamelling on silver is very different from enamelling on copper; what is high firing on silver is probably a low firing for copper. All the information below should be treated as hints about where to look for specific effects and enamel behaviour.
CATEGORIES OF ENAMELS REVIEWED
Categories of enamels are listed below, by manufacturer, then numerically:
Fluxes: Schauer 1W: Milton Bridge 232; Soyer 518, 619; Blythe C2
Whites and Creams: Milton Bridge 100, 102, 143: Soyer 59, 101, 148, 159, 625
Transparent Golds and Browns: Soyer 15, 30, 32, 173, 174; Schauer 7137, 7138, 7139 ( Schauer 104 and 105 are no longer available).Opaques: Milton Bridge 6394; All the information below should be treated as hints about where to look for specific effects and enamel behaviour.
To submit a report click here. Most of the reports below concern using these colours on copper. Where the report concerns their use on silver, they are annotated appropriately.
Reports on specific enamels and fluxes are shown below. Click a title to open an article in full, click again to close.
C2 – soft flux. Fired on copper, C2 is a bright, clear yellow, that mellows on repeated firings. Although it is classed as low firing, C2 can withstand extremely high temperatures and will not burn out. (Pat Johnson).
MILTON BRIDGE (LATHAM) ENAMELS
100 – opaque white, on copper. Previously this white easily produced a lovely opalescent pink when fired on copper. This happened at relatively low temperature. The new 100 will not do this, turning green when high fired on copper. If fired thinly on copper, a pleasant greeny spotted pink opalescent effect is obtained. For possible substitutes, see Soyer 59, Soyer 148 and Soyer 159. (Pat Johnson)
100 – fired on copper. There is no doubt that the new 100 is different – more opaque and finer ground. A small degree of translucency can be produced if applied thinly and fired in a gas kiln. (Evangeline Long)
102 – opaque cream, on copper. Formerly with the property of high firing to a lovely opalescent pink. The new C102 lacks this asset but will high fire on copper to produce a very pleasant motley effect which varies between a nice opaque green and a golden transparent, depending on whether or not the enamel is thick or thin. It will withstand several high firings without burning out and instead produces a nice black edge. (Pat Johnson)
102 – opaque cream, on copper. Looks different before and after firing. (Evangeline Long)
143 – a medium high firing white which does not go transparent on high firing but instead burns to a lovely green. Will not bleed through (very much) into transparent colours fired on top. A good white base coat. (Pat Johnson)
232 – flux, on copper. This soft flux that had the property of flowing when applied to bowls. It turned various shades of orange to red to brown when fired over copper oxide and burned to a wonderful transparent green when high fired. It was ground accurately to 80 mesh and so could be applied by sifting. Fired normally, 232 is clear, having neither a pink or gold cast. There is some break-through when transparents are fired on top. In my experience, 232 is a good finishing flux. (Pat Johnson)
6394 – opaque duck egg blue, on copper. Looks different before and after firing. It is much more turquoise after firing. (Evangeline Long)
1W – soft flux. Fired on copper, this is the nearest equivalent to the old Milton Bridge 232. A nice red develops over copper oxide at a fairly high temperature, the same at which sliding occurs on bowls. Very powdery texture, difficult to apply thinly with a sieve. The tone of normally fired 1W is handsome. (Pat Johnson)
The following three colours are transparent yellows, in order from light to dark. Note that Transparent Yellows 104 and 105 have been withdrawn.
7137 – golden yellow, tested on copper. On flux 232, a nice gold colour. On white, the colour of a light honey. On bare copper, a beautiful deep red gold. (Pat Johnson)
7138 – golden yellow, tested on copper. On flux 232, a lovely rich, warm gold. On white, the colour of a dark honey. On bare copper, dark, non-transparent brown. (Pat Johnson)
7139 – golden yellow, tested on copper. On flux 232, a flat, light yellow, near the colour of the flux. On white, the colour of grapefruit. On copper, a dull and dark transparent gold is produced. (Pat Johnson)
15 – a pale yellow, tested on copper. Fired on copper Soyer 15 produces a rather flat colour that is just slightly darker and more yellowy than Milton Bridge flux 232. Fired on 232, Soyer 15 makes a very lovely transparent yellow. On top of Soyer 59 (a good white under transparents as it does not easily bubble through) a very pretty light yellow colour is achieved.
30 yellow, tested on copper. A beautiful, clear transparent yellow (tending towards gold, when fired on bare copper. Becomes clear in a medium high firing, but retains its clarity in high firing conditions, even if repeated many times. (Pat Johnson)
30 yellow, tested on silver . Looks like a good replacement for LJE T213 Amber. It is acid happy and the fired surface is good. (Sarah Wilson)
32 pale yellow brown, tested on copper. Mysterious deep gold, with little dark brown spots that create a nice texture. On flux 232. A standard looking medium brown with a gold cast. Darker than Soyer 174. On Blue White 143: Again, a standard looking medium brown, with a gold cast.
Fired on copper bowls: 1st firing. On copper inside, first firing 1.5 min, 945. Lovely very dark gold. 2nd firing, same conditions. A lovely deep rich dark brown, with a hint of red.
Soyer 32, tested on copper. Over opaque creams produces a lovely transparent gold effect. (Pat Johnson)
59 white, tested on copper. High fires on copper to a cream colour. (Pat Johnson)
101 opal white, tested on silver. Very beautiful on silver. After washing and grinding, applied by wet packing and fired high for a minute. This produces a lovely opalescent white that can be further used as a ground coat. This is an enamel that I frequently use as a base coat. It is sensitive to any dirt/impurity in the silver, which should be prepared thoroughly for consistent results. It is a high firing enamel, my kiln (flamefast 1000) is set about 900 and the piece is fired for a minimum of 1 minute 10 seconds. The colour is best over a textured surface with a transparent colour laid over it. (Penny Gildea)
101 opal white, tested on copper. In terms of enamelling on copper, the lovely effects of 101 opal white can be achieved at a relatively low firing. This effect is best over copper oxide. This produces a rose pink copper surface with the opalescent white hovering on top. Refiring at the same temperature destroys the effect, turning the piece into a normal looking flux with a milky white surface. This is the case for both clean and oxidised copper. When trying this out on copper for the first time, if the result is an opaque white, fire higher. If the result is a nearly clear flux, start a new test and fire lower/shorter. (Pat Johnson)
148 white, on copper. A lovely white on copper, will flow into lines drawn into the enamel, turning the line green. If high fired, becomes dark and a bit golden around the edges of the lines. If several lines are drawn, the high fired white will be gold around the black lines and become an unusual green in between. The high firing occurs at a fairly low temperature. (Pat Johnson)
159 white, on copper. This is the best option for replacing the old Milton Bridge 100. Will become opalescent pink when high fired. Turns blue when fired over copper oxide or opaque black. The high firing occurs at a fairly low temperature. (Pat Johnson)
173 light brown, on copper. On the flat, after one firing, a pleasant gold colour, veering towards tan but mottled with transparent dots. On flux 232: A mild, light brown. On Blue White 143: An interesting medium dark cool purple brown. Fired on copper bowls: 1st firing. On copper outside, first firing 1.5 min, 945 – a dull yellowy transparent medium brown. 2nd and 3rd firings, same conditions. A dull medium tan. (Pat Johnson)
174 mid brown, on copper. A tan/gold colour, pitted with small transparent dots. On flux 232: A medium brown, darker than Soyer 173. On Blue White 143: A handsome dark brown, like dark chocolate.
Fired on copper bowls: 1st firing. On copper outside, first firing 1.5 min, 945 – an uninteresting transparent medium brown. 2nd firing, same conditions. A reasonable darkish tan. (Pat Johnson)
518 (finishing flux), on copper. This enamel needs to be washed or sieved before it will fire clear. If fired very low over copper oxide, a beautiful red or orange colour can appears which is stable in repeated low firings. For a normal firing on clean copper, the 518 melts at a fairly high temperature and needs good washing before use as a finishing flux. (Pat Johnson)
619 (finishing flux), on copper. A moderately high firing is required for this enamel to go clear. It will not burn out at a very high firing but will begin to slide a little on a bowl surface. A good all purpose flux on copper, but too high firing and cloudy to use as a finishing flux straight out of the jar. (Pat Johnson)
625 super soft white, on copper. Turns gold on high firing. With a line drawn through the 625 before high firing, the line will a thick black. Very low firing. (Pat Johnson)