When I fired my first bead, it was the end of October and it was cold outside. I figured that I should have some kind of ventilation since I was burning off the binder and it was bound to create some fumes, but I also didn’t want to spend too much time in the cold. So, I opened the windows in my kitchen, set up my firing block near them, and held my breath when it started to smoke.
Yet I still felt a bit woozy for a few minutes afterward. The next time I fired a bead it was even colder, but I still opened the windows, and still felt a bit lightheaded after. To be honest, I can’t tell if the wooziness was real or just my overactive/worried imagination, but with it getting colder I couldn’t do much about it other than open more windows.
When the warmer weather finally rolled around, I tried my hand at firing outside. And discovered that it’s better to fire my pieces inside! You would think with the fumes and flames and burning that it would be better to do it outdoors. But, even a slight breeze can affect the flame, so it’s harder to keep the piece heated consistently. And, the brighter outdoor light can make it harder to see the red glow, making you think that the piece isn’t as hot as it is. I melted part of my bead because I couldn’t see how hot it had gotten!
So, back inside I went. But, I still needed something to pull the fumes away.
It turned out that there was a simple solution. Now I put my firing block in the middle of my kitchen stovetop. Not only is the surface meant to absorb heat to a degree, so any heat that isn’t absorbed by the firing block is safely absorbed by the stovetop, we have a built-in fan above it to pull fumes. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it earlier!
Even flame. No melting beads. No more wooziness.
Have you encountered any unexpected tips for one of your hobbies? Something that seems to go against logic, but makes sense in the end?