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Mirror Silvering On Fired Glaze


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#1 Jerry

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:39 AM

Hello all. I am curious about the possibility of mirroring a piece that has been glazed. The process of which I am wanting to try is the dipping method. That is where you would normally place a peice of glass into the solution of silver nitrate and the silver deposits upon the surface. I am familiar with glazes and glazing techniques due to my mother owning a ceramic shop for 20+ years, but I had never come across this particular project while she owned it, so I can not experiment with this and was wondering if anybody could shed some insight on this for me.

Thanks

#2 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 10:06 PM

Hello all. I am curious about the possibility of mirroring a piece that has been glazed. The process of which I am wanting to try is the dipping method. That is where you would normally place a peice of glass into the solution of silver nitrate and the silver deposits upon the surface. I am familiar with glazes and glazing techniques due to my mother owning a ceramic shop for 20+ years, but I had never come across this particular project while she owned it, so I can not experiment with this and was wondering if anybody could shed some insight on this for me.

Thanks


There are many article on the web if you search "re-silvering a mirror" however if you want to silver a fired item that you can not get to the back face of the mirror the processes won't work. In astronomy most reflecting telescopes use what is known as a front face or first face mirror. The only way I know of making a first face mirror is by sputtering. In sputtering you put the object in a bell jar with an aluminum filament and draw a deep vacuum and then pass a high voltage through the aluminum filament causing it to vaporize. The vaporized aluminum will deposit on any surface inside the bell jar and produces a very bright mirror finish. Unfortunately its not very durable; the aluminium is very soft and extremely thin. Using the chemical silvering it will oxidize. the mirror stays bright because oxygen is excluded from the mirror surface because it is sealed by the glass. The mirroring eventually breaks down and that is when antique mirrors start to have black spots. I have had luck creating bright metallic surfaces with metallic lustres but those are usually lowfire and again not very durable. Good luck Keep checking back because someome else may have another idea on how to do it.

Best regards,
Charles

#3 Jerry

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 12:22 PM


Hello all. I am curious about the possibility of mirroring a piece that has been glazed. The process of which I am wanting to try is the dipping method. That is where you would normally place a peice of glass into the solution of silver nitrate and the silver deposits upon the surface. I am familiar with glazes and glazing techniques due to my mother owning a ceramic shop for 20+ years, but I had never come across this particular project while she owned it, so I can not experiment with this and was wondering if anybody could shed some insight on this for me.

Thanks


There are many article on the web if you search "re-silvering a mirror" however if you want to silver a fired item that you can not get to the back face of the mirror the processes won't work. In astronomy most reflecting telescopes use what is known as a front face or first face mirror. The only way I know of making a first face mirror is by sputtering. In sputtering you put the object in a bell jar with an aluminum filament and draw a deep vacuum and then pass a high voltage through the aluminum filament causing it to vaporize. The vaporized aluminum will deposit on any surface inside the bell jar and produces a very bright mirror finish. Unfortunately its not very durable; the aluminium is very soft and extremely thin. Using the chemical silvering it will oxidize. the mirror stays bright because oxygen is excluded from the mirror surface because it is sealed by the glass. The mirroring eventually breaks down and that is when antique mirrors start to have black spots. I have had luck creating bright metallic surfaces with metallic lustres but those are usually lowfire and again not very durable. Good luck Keep checking back because someome else may have another idea on how to do it.

Best regards,
Charles


Hi, I have read quiet a few postings on mirror silvering, that is the reason I posted here. If I am not mistaken, glaze is a form of glass after being fired. The method of front-face mirroring is exactly what I am referring to, not aluminium surfacing. One of the methods was to dip the glass in a solution of silver nitrate that deposits onto the surface of the glass. It has to sit in the solution for about 15 to 20 minutes then let dry. Yes, unfortunately it has to be re-silvered almost every 6 months, but I can live with that. I just need to find out if the fired glaze will react like the glass and accept the silvering. I would prefer not to waste time making the mold and pouring the slip ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... without knowing how the fired glaze would react first. Posted Image

#4 JBaymore

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:38 AM

Maybe just find a small piece of glazed ceramic and do a test. The chemistry of the glaze MAY affect the deposition..... but it is a simple start to answering your questions.

best,

.................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#5 PeterH

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:02 AM

Hi, I have read quiet a few postings on mirror silvering, that is the reason I posted here. If I am not mistaken, glaze is a form of glass after being fired. The method of front-face mirroring is exactly what I am referring to, not aluminium surfacing. One of the methods was to dip the glass in a solution of silver nitrate that deposits onto the surface of the glass. It has to sit in the solution for about 15 to 20 minutes then let dry. Yes, unfortunately it has to be re-silvered almost every 6 months, but I can live with that. I just need to find out if the fired glaze will react like the glass and accept the silvering. I would prefer not to waste time making the mold and pouring the slip ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... without knowing how the fired glaze would react first. Posted Image


I haven't done it myself, but I believe that you can silver quite a lot of materials. If you are using a glaze, I would pick a fairly glassy/shiny one,
as a matt one might have a micro-crystalline surface rather than a gassy one.

AFAIK you will finish up plating the sides of your plating bath as well as the item you want to plate, so you will need enough silver to allow for this. Probably
the material the bath is made of will influence the depth of the deposit, so it might be worth trying a few difficult-to plate materials (plastic?) rather than glass.

I assume you are aware that the depositing solution contains more than just silver nitrate, and that many people advocate that you use a 'sensitizer'
solution before the plating one. You may do better with some sort of kit, at least to start with.

FYI a quick search gave:
kits:
http://angelgilding....irror-kits.html
sensitizing solution blurb:
http://angelgilding.com/A2117.html
details of one DIY plating solution:
http://www.instructa...trate-Sugar-Am/
copy of a book chapter from www.sciencemadness.org:
http://tinyurl.com/d396djx
another book chapter:
http://www2.bren.ucs...oplating/05.pdf

Regards, Peter

Health & safety: If you are really unlucky some of these chemicals can turn explosive:
http://en.wikipedia....minating_silver
AFAIK this is mainly mentioned in patents:
http://tinyurl.com/d77245p
... two message I read into these:
- dilute strong solutions before mixing them
- don't let solutions start to dry out, as deposits form as they are doing so.




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