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Studio -- Show us your studio setup

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  #1  
Old 2015-05-16, 2:51pm
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ccaronn ccaronn is offline
Christine
 
Join Date: May 16, 2015
Location: Chatham, Illinois
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Default Newbie, need advice, please!

Hi,
My husband and I took a beginner lampwork class this morning and we loved it. We need to buy EVERYTHING as we literally have nothing except a stainless steel table. We were advised to buy an oxygen generator not a concentrator and we're having trouble finding one. First though, if we don't have much money to start up, where should we go to purchase our tools, glass, torch, generator, etc., please?
We have a very good book with lots of info but it's dated 2002. I need to know where to start - what reputable company will give us the best bang for our buck since this will be a financial investment. I hope these questions aren't out of line
.
Thank you so much!!
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  #2  
Old 2015-05-16, 4:48pm
ESC ESC is offline
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Everyone starts from a different point, depending on how much money they have/want to spend on equipment/supplies. All we can do is tell you how each of us started and let you sort out how you want to go about it.
I started with a single gas torch, using just 1# propane/Flamex gas. I used it for 7 years before I even thought about getting another torch. It cost about $30 at the time (mid-90's). I plunged my beads into a can containing vermiculite to help them cool slowly, but I made such small beads that I could get away with that. I took them to my teachers' shop to batch anneal them. I used a lot of recycled glass for the first several months, from beer/wine/bottled water bottles, until I knew how the glass behaved and what it looked like at each stage of the melting/cooling process.
Once I had some time at the torch, I bought glass rods. I was still using tools I bought at the thrift store to manipulate the glass. Stainless steel butter knife, spoons, egg slicer, used dental pics, etc. I did not buy any professional tools for the first year.
After seven years, I bought a Minor torch, a kiln, and started buying professional tools, a few at a time. I've been melting glass for almost 20 years and still don't have a 'formal' studio, just the mud room at the back of the house.
I don't know if any of this will help you or discourage you, but just wanted you to know you can still melt glass without having to spend multiples of thousands of dollars right off the bat.
Most of the distributors I bought stuff from in the beginning have moved on to other types of business, but the ones still there are good people.
The commercial kiosk on this website is a really good place to start for distributors of glass, tools, instructional materials, etc.
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Soft glass on a Minor/concentrator since 1996
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  #3  
Old 2015-05-16, 5:01pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Squaring away sufficient ventilation should be your first priority.
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  #4  
Old 2015-05-16, 5:35pm
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2DogsPhoto 2DogsPhoto is offline
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I'm still on the hot head, (it uses 1# propane tanks, no oxygen added) and pretty much started out a lot like ESC. I'm still not using the minor torch I've picked up from someone selling their whole studio. You can do a whole lot, including getting through the initial learning curves, without spending too much money.
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  #5  
Old 2015-05-16, 6:39pm
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Speedslug Speedslug is offline
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As a technical type in the Navy I am still trying to find a working difference between an oxygen concentrator and an oxygen generator.

Near as I can see it is a matter of quantity of out put.

Since oxygen is an element the only generators I know of are the nuclear furnaces inside of stars.

What most are calling 'Generators' are spendy even second hand and concentrators can be found on craigs list for considerably less. Bottled oxygen can be rented as well for a chunk of change until you can get a machine to pull it out of the air around you.

The ventilation thing is the one place to start where you should get the best you can afford.

You don't say where you are located so I don't know if you can melt glass on the back porch half the year when the weather is decent.

Being inventive is one of the first traits of this addiction.
I found three pieces of pool table slate for free on craigs list and I used a wet tile saw and a 4 wheeled hand cart to cut it to the sizes I needed to make a fire proof torch bench. The left over pieces have come in handy as arm rests and marvers.



Bang for your buck is going to be one of those continuous shopping things.
Most glass sources have at least some lower cost glass but shopping around and getting to know what a good price is just one of those slog through it exercises.

Do get good eye protection and do your shopping there as well.
I just got a didymium bench shield (second hand from a craigs list on the other side of the country) to replace my bargain basement glasses and wished I had done that 7 years ago seeing as how the better quality glasses cost just as much and don't slide down your nose or interfere with my normal glasses.


Welcome to the addiction.

Think everything through.
Be safe.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2015-05-16 at 6:44pm.
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  #6  
Old 2015-05-16, 6:50pm
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Lorraine Chandler Lorraine Chandler is offline
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Here is something I posted for newbies years ago. Yes you can lampwork on a shoestring budget but I would not advise it, too risky for your health. Exhausted air with fresh air brought in to the work bench is the safest and best way to lampwork.

http://lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122124
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  #7  
Old 2015-05-17, 1:43pm
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ccaronn ccaronn is offline
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Join Date: May 16, 2015
Location: Chatham, Illinois
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What a great group. Thank you for your good advice! Will share with my husband (we live close to Lincoln's hometown of Springfield Illinois.)
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  #8  
Old 2015-05-17, 2:04pm
snoopdog6502 snoopdog6502 is offline
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Some people take classes/lessons then set up a home studio so they can get longer hours of practice.

Make a list of gear you will need and check them off. Unless you are rich most people cant buy it all at once.

A safe room, relatively free of fire hazards. able to be vented, good lighting, plenty of power for a kiln, ventilation and possible oxygen system.
Oxygen tanks or concentrator.
propane tank or natural gas stub.
Hoses and regulators
A glass torch. I like GTT torches.
eyewear for working borosilicate or your preferred glass.
ventilation fan, ducting and hood.
work bench
Glass tube and rods colored rod and frit
Glass cleaner
Fire extinguisher
first aid kit
A kiln, digital is ideal but not mandatory.
graphite tools marvers, rods and plates with handles
tungsten pick
carbide knife
V marver
tweezers
claw grabbers
.9999 silver and gold bars.
sweatband or do-rag to keep sweat from blinding you.
A stereo

It took me 6 months to round up all this stuff but I have a sweet setup at the price of $3,000.00

Ya might save your beer/fast food money because glass will cost money you every time you turn around.

Once you have all that stuff you just need the hardest thing to find and that is free time. Dogs,cats,kids,wife,friends, phone will foul all that up.

Hope this gives you an idea on the serious magnitude of it all. Its so worth it.
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  #9  
Old 2015-05-17, 7:27pm
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ccaronn ccaronn is offline
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Amazing, thank you!
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  #10  
Old 2015-05-18, 3:48am
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If you put a little vinegar in your quench bucket it will keep the critters in your place from drinking from it.
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