• Art Glass Resources, and some business information
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Lampworking, in the beginning....


, oxygen concentrator, propane, safety, stringer, torch

So today I thought I'd post a picture of my lampworking area - for fun.  As you can see, it is pretty messy.  I usually keep the glass rods that I am currently using, right in front of me on my work bench.  This isn't always the best thing to do, occasionally a piece of hot glass will pop off a glass rod that I'm using and "stick" on a cold rod sitting in front of me.   

My torch is a Nortel Minor Burner, as you can see in the picture.  I use propane and an oxygen concentrator for fuel.  There are many different types of torches and a few different types of fuels.  Next week I'll blog about some torches available for lampworkers.  

I also like to use frit (ground up chunks of glass) and I keep it close to me on my bench.  I don't have a graphite torch marver attached to my torch, something a lot of glass artists use.  But I do have a piece of graphite next to my torch.  And I use it for a lot of things, like putting frit on it.  

I have a metal work surface laying on my workbench for safety.  I have a lot of small burns around my workbench where hot glass has scorched the work surface.  The metal work surface is laying in the area where most of my hot glass flies when it "pops" off a rod,  which occasionally happens to me.

Also for anyone reading this blog that has no idea how people make glass beads, the glass rod is what most lampworkers use to make beads.  Some people do use thin strips of other glass, like stained glass to make beads.  I haven't ever tried doing it that way even though I have a lot of stained glass.  Glass rod can be purchased in various sizes, the larger diameter rod is the hardest for me to use.  Also very thin glass pieces, which we call stringer can be pulled from the tip of a molten glass rod by using tweezers or pliers--or stringer can be bought.  Stringer is then used by lampworkers to decorate glass beads with dots and lines.  Some glass rods melt easier than others too, but easier melting glass isn't always good!  It can be difficult to work with.  Plus, I have found that certain colors melt easier than other colors!   

Basically a lampworker gradually heats up the glass rod in the flame of the torch, until it is molten, and from there they begin to create a bead by wrapping the glass around a mandrel (something else I will explain later)!  P.S.  I am totally self taught.  I have learned all I know about making beads from reading books and researching online.

This wonderful video is showing how to make lampwork glass door knobs and a ring.  The artist used boro glass to make these.

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