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Looking for suggestions for glaze firing heavy beads and ornaments. I have a lot of them and using the standard bead trees/racks they will sag for sure. I have seen one option on YouTube from "Janice the Potter" who uses an extrusion with high fire 17g kanthal wire loops to fire her pendants. I am considering something like this (would have to slab build multiples of them since I don't have an extruder). I have also considered using stilt posts in firebrick/clay base made from heavy gauge nichrome/kanthal but am concerned it will sag and tip over at Cone 5/6. Has anyone had experience with this and what do you use?

Thanks.

Edited by susieblue
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I used to make fairly sizeable ornaments (10cm squared roughly and about half a cm thick) and I used hooks of kanthal wire, usually 1.4mm which supported the ornaments well. I bent them in to tight 'S' shapes and hung them from thick kanthal rods between kiln stilts, much like clothes hangers on a rail. A bit of a rough and ready method and took a little while to set up in the kiln but I was working with semi porcelain and was taking my ornaments up to about 1260, so about cone 8-9. I didn't experience any problems, as long as I was careful to ensure glaze wasn't in contact with the wire and the hooks were tight enough to compensate for very slight movement and sagging during the firing. 

I watched Janice's video to see more clearly what you are trying to construct. If it was a tree you were going for, I would just suggest making the diameter of the tree the right balance between wide and low to avoid tipping but I can't suggest more than that as I don't have experience specifically in that construction. If you wanted a different method of hanging altogether, kanthal hooks suspended on thick kanthal rods, supported in the middle as well as on both ends, works well and is robust. You could perhaps build a more robust version of the bead racks using kanthal rods and custom made clay stilts.

Nichrome works but is more brittle, less strong, sags more easily and can leave green flash marks on white clay. 

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Here are a couple of examples. The leaves are among the few that survived the attempt to fire with bead racks. They were on 6" wires which sagged and clumped together. (there were about 40 of these to start. It was a sad kiln opening.  I'll admit I didn't know to put ones outside ot the posts to balance the wires so that may have been why it happened. The lentil beads are definitely heavier than that and I am planning to make some larger ones as Holiday ornaments.

leaves.jpg

20171007_104950.jpg

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Your leaves are deja vu because I had a shop worker fire a dozen of my leaf ornaments into an unsolvable clump because he thought they had no glaze.  I saw a method online which seems sound but admit I haven't fully tried yet: Make a bar of fireclay, with Kanthal wire loops imbedded in the underside. She then hung pendants which had loops embedded from their tops onto the bar. She could use the bar over and over.  I've yet to try it but intend to. It occurred to me I could do the same thing with heavy individual beads hanging from short lengths of wire. 

In reality my addressing of this issue has mainly been a redesign of my work: more slip and underglaze deco as opposed to overglazes, and adjusting them to have less or no glaze in sticky places. Using dark clay bodies makes partial glazes look much better, as does going with white porcelain. So basically I'm designing the clay body to be part of the overall finished look to avoid beads and pendants sticking, but it works for me. 

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now that photos are retrievable, can you find the bead tree solution posted some time ago by Pugaboo.  she made something that might work and was fairly simple.  a computer geek-y photo seeker might locate it.

 

i was able to find a link to the original bead tree from which pugaboo adapted hers.  i searched for "bead tree" and Pugaboo and MAGIC!  IT CAME UP!:D

Edited by oldlady
found an old post with photo and link
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