Pure Copper Casting

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I'd like to know more about copper casting if anyone can fill me in. I have a few days of reading behind me and no experience.

I recently got a kiln dirt cheap and would like to try out sand casting using pure copper. I just wanted to know if anyone here has tried this?

refractory cement

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I want to build a speciality furnace. I have the resistor wire. I am looking for the white cement that one sees in kilns or laboratory furnaces. It is similar to pumice. You can cast the resistor wire inside of the cement. Does anyone know what the cement is called and where can I purchase it. Many thanks.

large mokume gane billet

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large mokume gane billet

Here is a picture of my latest mokume billet that I have fused. I fused it using the James Binnion/ Steve Midgett method that is talked about in Steve Midgett's book. Mokume Gane, A comprehensive Study.

tempering stainless spring steel

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I am hoping to start working with stainless spring steel soon but had a question about heat treating it. Annealing is not a problem, but when doing some research I saw that you need to bring the kiln to 900 degrees and maintain that temperature for a specified time. Does anyone know whether you put the piece in the kiln then bring it up to temp, or do you allow the kiln to pre-heat to the specified temp then insert the piece?