Repairing a Crack

Copyright 2019 by The Flow. All rights reserved. This is from the Spring Nature Issue.

They have given us permission to reprint it. It is a except from the book, “Parallels Between Hot Glass and Human Existence”.

The Village Iterate

  • Taking the time to thoroughly reheat a piece in a kiln before repairing a crack will allow you to merely kiss it away with the gentlest of flames. Attempting the same without preheating leads to cracking all the way through, which can cause the piece to fall off the pontil and completely shatter, or melt out of shape and create permanent scarring within the body of the piece, which will require physical removal. This is accomplished by heating the offending area until it is liquid and removing the bad material, then replacing it with new, often creating and undesirable visible artifact of the process.
  • The more frequent the reheats, the hotter, harder, quicker, and sharper they can be. The less frequent they are, the more time each requires in a cooler, gentler flame and greater thoroughness to get the heat to the center of the mass.
  • If you’ve got a long shot at saving a piece, take it. It might work, and the attempt will likely take much, much less time than starting over. And you’ll learn something – perhaps something important.
  • Dig out the crack and fill the gap with new material, then flatten the sport and flame-polish it, all which the glove on the hand you’re holding it with starts smoking and the heat penetrates to your burning fingers. It might work.
  • If it cracks somewhere else while making the attempt, put it in a hot kiln, bring it up to working temp, and hold a torch inside the kiln itself while the plastic handles melt off and your gloves smoke. Check it with a flashlight, and as long as you made some progress, let it soak and do it again and again until you save the piece. It might work!
  • If you’ve got a piece that definitely isn’t going to make it, go ahead and do something interesting with what you do have. What you have is much more advanced and developed and interesting that starting from raw materials, and since it’s terminal, you’re free to
    try . . . anything! It might work!!

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