Enamelling on Steel - with John Ball

Lesley Miller

We began with a little background information. If you want to start from scratch with your own sheet steel, you should use a low carbon steel (e.g. mild steel) otherwise you will have problems with fumes in the kiln. The thickness should be between 0.75mm and up to 1.5mm for larger pieces. With commercial steel the enamel is usually applied by spraying and the exact thickness of enamel is important. John had an instrument for measuring the thickness of the enamel coating (try elcometer.com if you are interested).

The advantages of steel are that it is much less likely to warp and produces less firescale and after its initial ground coat it provides a very stable surface for enamelling. John provided us with plenty of steel, a variety of flat shapes, shallow dishes, and a large quantity of the ground coat. He also gave each of us a sample set of liquid enamel colours to take home.

The process is as follows:

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