View Full Interactive Version Of This Page : Having issues using Hot Head outdoors...

2006-10-07, 6:00pm
hoping other newbies or more experienced folks can set me straight.

I took a lampwork class/weekend workshop a few weeks back and used a minor bench burner, which spoiled me rotten. Last week I purchased a HH and have been using it in my backyard. I'm having trouble seeing the flame so my beads look really muddy. I understand setting up a background can help with that. The main issue I'm having is that it seems I can't get a decent gather of molten glass. One second there is a lovely glowing orange ball on my mandrel then just like that it my question-is it the wind causing this or am I just not holding the glass in the right part of the flame? Do I not have a good flame, maybe? This seems to happen without my moving the glass in any way (apart from rotating the rod). If it is the wind, what would make a good windbreaker? I apologize if this has been asked before, I did a search and didn't see anything.

Any help would be much appreciated-I first stumbled across a lampworking site five years ago and have been obsessed since then. I MUST LEARN. And until DH finishes my little workshop out back (w/minor) it's just me and my HH.

I figure if I can learn to make a good bead with a HH I'll be in much better shape when I do upgrade.


2006-10-07, 11:48pm
Hi ! , All I can think of is get in some shade with some shelter from the wind. This may help you see the flame.
Shade cloth would be good , I dont know what you call it where you live!
Regards and good luck Fiona

2006-10-08, 5:25am
Thank you Fiona! I'll look for shade cloth. Now I've just got to find something to use as a windbreak :) My fence and shed aren't doing the trick :(

2006-10-08, 5:46am
Can you torch in the garage with the big door open? You would be able to control the wind from three directions and face back to the door so you can see your flame. When I started, I had a hot head I set up on a plank across two saw horses in my garage.

2006-10-08, 10:25am
Go buy a tarp and rope it up between whatever is around you, but make it very taught so it doesn't flap around. A dark colored tarp would be good. It will stop the wind and some light getting thru. Also see if you can get a black colored background. If you have metal on your table you can buy the heat proof spray paint for fireplaces and wood stoves. It's a flat black and will help you see the flame against it.
Hope this helps!

2006-10-08, 12:11pm
The shade cloth is a great wind break and shelter!!! I dont think it would have to be a huge affair therefore it wouldn't be too$$$$ Cheers Fi

2006-10-08, 1:19pm
I don't have a garage, unfortunately. My husband is building me a studio/outbuilding but that won't be finished for awhile (my sewing stuff is taking over, and now glass on top of that) so I'm just trying to find a way to make it work in the meantime.

Thanks for all the suggestions! What a wonderful forum! I'll try some of these things tomorrow and tell you how it works out.


2006-10-08, 3:41pm
All the best Carrie! Cheers Fiona (loyal to the hothead!!)

2006-10-09, 1:34am
One thing I found helps IMMENSELY is NOT to wear Diddy glasses!!! That way you can "see" the soda flare & tell when the glass is "in the right spot" in the flame--vs. not in the flame!! I wear my polarized sunglasses if I'm torching in the daytime (they're safety sport glasses--so they're rated for impact if I explode glass, & they've got full UV ratings on them as well, but you could also just wear safety glasses from the hardware store, the local one here sells them in *many* shades, for anywhere from $5 to $20!)
If I torch in the evening/shade then the diddy's are ok, but in bright light (ie: invisible flame!) I find that the soda flare is *really* helpful :)--because that's the only thing I can "see" to tell me where I am....and in full sunlight, it's really not that bright (hoping someday I can get inside...or I'll be giving up torching when it snows...again :()

Torching outside, on a tiny computer cart, in the driveway!!!
love my hothead, finally making round spacers & starting to get my new presses under control!

2006-10-09, 2:11am
yes I would say it is the wind. i have an outdoor studio with a midrange plau and when the wind picks up I can't work!

2006-10-09, 7:49pm
Well, I tried the shadecloth/tarp and it worked like a charm, much much better...

Fiona, I looked at your work-you have good reason to be loyal to the HH-you make a good team! Your work is lovely! I've nothing against the HH really except that it's a bit loud for me. I do like things quiet.


Fran Carrico
2006-10-10, 5:20am
I use a hot head for demos at craft fairs and I think high humidity can affect your flame quality as well. It seems to cause less heat and more soot in the flame, which muddies things quite a bit.

2006-10-10, 6:05am
Yah, its really hard to see that HH flame when you're outside. Wind, humidity, direct sun, glasses, the way you're holding your mouth - it all can make it hard to control that flame. I still prefer the HH for demos though - its so much easier to set up and I like being able to tell people that they, too, can make glass beads without really spending a ton of money. Also... for a while I was using a propane tank with my HH - the propane certainly is dirtier than the Mapp gas.

2006-10-10, 10:41am
Black tiles as a background. I prop mine up with a can. :)

I worked outside on my covered screen porch for 18 months while I was on the HH. Only on the really windy days did I have trouble and I used a full piece of plywood to block out the wind.

I had my torch clamped to the end of a 6ft folding table, and I placed a fan (mine was a loud industrial one) backwards on the table about 2ft in front of my torch. This was to pull the fumes away from my face. Not the optimal ventilation, but better than nothing. You can use a box type fan on high, but make sure it's not going to fall down into your torch!