Separation enamels come in both dry and premixed liquid form. I am using the dry form in this tutorial because I like the control I have over the thickness. I’ve been told that the premixed separation enamel is mixed with pine oil. It definitely has a very strong odor. The premix has seemed a bit thicker than what I prefer; however, either product should work for you.
*Torch Information: Try the hottest torch you have available for this project. Separation enamel requires extreme heat for a longer-than-usual period of time in order to work. I was not able to achieve suitable results with a butane torch and therefore used either a propane or map gas torch on my pieces. I did not have access to an acetylene torch, but believe this would be fine also.
Following a great deal of effort and experimentation, I felt I was not getting enough heat for the separation firing. I was always left with a definite ochre spot in the separation enamel indentions and felt I should achieve something lighter. I had seen pictures of pieces done by other enamellists on which separation enamel spots didn’t show. I learned that the ones about which I inquired were fired in a kiln allowing for a constant hot temperature. Based on this information, I made a temporary “oven” atop the fire brick. You will see this in the tutorial. It made a nice difference in what I was able to achieve with either the propane or the map gas. I was never, however, able to completely get rid of a center colored spot in the indention. (It is possible that you may not need this little oven with an acetylene torch.) You do not need it if the ochre spots don’t bother you.
Note: The procedure explained in this tutorial may not be what you usually use for your enameling; however, it is what works for me. For example, I place my trivet atop a fire brick while others may use a tripod. Use what you are comfortable with if it works for you.
Pro Tip: Safety: Please use appropriate safety precautions. I advise wearing a fire-proof apron and appropriate safety glasses when firing. It is important to wear a mask at least while sifting enamel to prevent inhaling the fines which can’t usually be seen, but are definitely out and about. It is, of course, important to have a fire extinguisher nearby.