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Re: [Orchid] Preparing a new crucible
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Rex & Gabrielle Merten Saturday, November 20, 1999
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          Dear Jim, when I was an apprentice it was called "dressing" the
          crucible and it was the apprentice's job - along with sweeping
          the floors, picking the cigarette butts and broken sawblades out
          of the dust - no, I won't go on. Anyway, back to the crucible. We
          always used ceramic crucibles in that workshop.  Some of the
          crucibles didn't have a very good pouring spout, so one would
          have to grind a slightly deeper groove in one side, usually
          with an old coarse handfile, making sure there were no sharp
          corners or edges around the spout.  Once the shape and depth of
          the spout was correct, one warmed up the new crucible, applying
          the heat evenly all over its top, sides and underneath  until it
          was hot enough to make sprinkled borax melt and stick to its

          The next step was to liberally sprinkle powdered borax all over
          the hollow and continue heating until the borax went clear and
          syrupy-runny and covered the whole of the hollow with an even
          thin layer. The last step was to pour out the excess borax so
          that the spout was also glazed with the molten borax. Then it
          was ready. It was quite simple and straightforward. I discovered
          that it was best to keep separate crucibles for specific
          metals. My best melts have invariably been out of clean
          crucibles. Hope this helps. Kind regards, Rex from Oz 

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