Lampwork Etc.

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jsknow4445 2018-05-14 8:25am

Rod Heaters
I have encountered some colors both 90 and 104 that just seem to shatter no matter how careful and slowly I enter the flame. Pre-heating rods are a way to solve this problem? The heaters are not cheap - are they considered necessary equipment by most beadmakers?

Just curious how hot do the rods need to be to make a difference - would laying them on warming tray or something similar be helpful at all?

Thanks June

Eileen 2018-05-14 8:49am

Not all have them by any means, but some do have one thing or another to warm the ends. Put it this way, it won't make it more shocky, and may help, so if you have anything (coffee warmer, beauty tool warming oven, whatever) give it a try and see if you like it. I have heard that some people stick the rods either on the top of their kiln, or put the end in the kiln.
Just remember that whatever is at that end may be hot when you are picking it up!

If you don't have anything like that, do warm the end of the rod further out in the flame at first, then bring it closer (especially if it is a color you know is apt to shock and spit glass at you.)

5betsy 2018-05-14 9:03am

I've been considering an electric griddle for this purpose. In the kiln door is really awkward for me and kiln top is not hot enough.

jsknow4445 2018-05-14 11:04am

I was also thinking about a crock pot full of vermiculite on high - stick the rods in and they should be at least half covered. Would probably need to wipe them off before using them. I have an extra crock pot so won't cost much to try it.

RenaInTN 2018-05-15 3:37pm

I have one of the rod warmers (gifted from a friend) and it does make easy work of shocky glass IMHO. I have used vermiculite in a crock pot to keep beads warm before I had a kiln (or when I only have time for a few beads)... It could probably work as a pre-warmer, but would probably have some 'dust' residue on the glass.
One other comment... in pre-warming the glass, it seems to take less time to get it to melt.

Speedslug 2018-05-15 9:42pm

I see a lot of the Italian Masters with big racks at the end of their torch flame warming the tips of the rods they want to use.
It's that very last inch or three of the flame.

28676bhe 2018-05-17 12:53pm

I run into rods that have an air bubble all the way down, and there is nothing that I can do to get rid of it. Sometimes, I collapse the rod by reannealing it at about 20 degrees above the temp suggested for that brand. Yes, it flattens it out a bit, but it does help!

Lampwork49 2018-05-26 4:33pm

Rod warmer
Try Delphi Art Glass. They have a couple rod warmers and not that spendy

Lampwork49 2018-05-31 6:57pm

Rod warmer
Hi I apologize for my mistake. It's Devardi glass that has the rod warmer. And not a bad price either. Sorry for the brain fart

beadforever 2018-07-01 10:59am

You can buy a ceramic heater from Amazon which is what Devardi glass is basically selling . Amazon ceramic heater are sold in the beauty department normally used to heat a non electric curling iron.

KJohn 2018-07-01 9:20pm

I use a kiln and stick a few rods in partways. I dislike the residue I get on the ends but for me it is much safer than one of those heaters. I had one for about five minutes and they get scorching HOT. I couldn't put it anywhere safe on my bench. If you don't have a kiln, it would certainly be an option, but I would recommend to set aside a space you won't reach over or have anything fall against it. Also set it on a tile or something to help with the heat.

Ravenesque 2018-07-15 10:09pm


Originally Posted by 28676bhe (Post 4989601)
I run into rods that have an air bubble all the way down, and there is nothing that I can do to get rid of it. Sometimes, I collapse the rod by reannealing it at about 20 degrees above the temp suggested for that brand. Yes, it flattens it out a bit, but it does help!

Great tip, because yes, some rods preheating won't help if there's an air bubble through the rod.

Floorkasp 2018-07-16 7:00am

I use a rod warmer. But not electric one, but a rack to hold my rods and preheat them in the back of the flame. It really speeds things up.

I have used a Czech cast iron rod warmer. You can see the set up here. You point your torch downwards towards the metal holder. I do not think these are available in the US.

I now also use an Italian portacana. Same principle, different set up. I think some versions of these are available in the US.

kansassky 2018-07-16 7:37am

Just checking.

I still see many lampworkers preparing to use a room temp cane by dipping the end in and out of the flame or waving it back and forth in the flame tip.


By waving and dipping, you are actually shocking the cane with heat.
You are not “warming” it gently.
Rapid-fire high-temp shocks, are still shocks.

Try this.

Introduce the end of the cane WAY out in the tip of the flame where you cannot even see it.
Hold. Wait a few seconds and roll the cane in place with your fingertips, to get all sides warm.
Move the cane tip, one-inch closer to the torch.
Hold. Wait a few seconds and roll in place.
Repeat and move closer until the cane tips starts to glow.

Essentially, you will be “stairstepping” or sliding down the flame towards yourself, to gradually introduce higher and higher heat.
If your cane shatters, move out are moving too fast.

This method really only takes a few seconds longer and I can’t tell you how much glass it saves.
It is rare that I have a cane break from heat shock, and even rarer that one is shattered to smitherines.
If one DOES break, I understand that I am trying to work too quickly...don’t rush the warming process.

This warming process has been a key “aha” for me.
It forced a more zen (and less frenetic) approach to making beads, and has caused me to slow down and become much more attentive.
I now see subtle changes and behaviors of glass that I missed earlier.

Try it. See if this doesn’t work for you!!!!

(PS, I will also say that sometimes YOU DO start with a crap cane of glass. You will know after three shatters that you need a new cane.)

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