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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2018-01-16, 3:29am
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Default Newbie separator problems

Hi all,

I finally got everything set up (Hot Head torch) and had my first go at lampworking on Sunday. I was a little bit nervous about the torch the first time I lit it, but once I'd got my first burn out of the way (only small and the aloe vera dealt with it!) I was fine with it.

I'd prepped about 50 mandrels on Saturday, using the kiln wash I already had as I've read that it works.

Nope!

It coated ok but is floury to the touch on the mandrel and drops off if the mandrel is tapped. I did clean them (they weren't new anyway) and rubbed them down with fine wire wool. The wash is about the consistency of thickish pancake batter.

Any ideas what went wrong please?
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  #2  
Old 2018-01-16, 7:01am
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I have never heard of anyone using kiln wash, so have no advice, just didn't want to leave you hanging
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  #3  
Old 2018-01-16, 7:30am
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Thank you Eileen - that's most considerate of you.

The kiln wash thing is in Cindy Jenkins first book. She advises mixing it 2:1 with water and doesn't seem to add anything else to it. She doesn't say what type she used, however, and mine came with my kiln a few years ago and was nameless.

Never mind. I'm teaching myself to pull stringer until I can get usable mandrels!
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  #4  
Old 2018-01-16, 7:40am
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Oh that's too bad! I've only ever used commercial bead release myself so I have no advice to give you regarding kiln wash.

I did a quick search and found tons of info here on bead release in general that includes a recipe that uses kiln wash along with some other ingredients. Might be worth a look.

There are vast amounts of very useful info on this site

Last edited by PattyK; 2018-01-16 at 8:17am.
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  #5  
Old 2018-01-16, 8:01am
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That link was really useful PattyK, thank you.

I'm gradually working my way through this site and yes, it is a powerhouse of good info indeed. I have a slight problem in being in the UK, so many of the products and suppliers mentioned and recommended aren't practically available to me, so I'm looking for substitutes over here.
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  #6  
Old 2018-01-16, 12:34pm
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I'm a fan of Tuffnell's own brand:
http://www.tuffnellglass.com/content...d_Release.html

It's a powder, you can just mix it up as you need it. A pack costs 8 and lasts for a very long time. It holds well but is easy to clean off the mandrel afterwards.

Or they can sell you two small tubs of Fusion for 5. Plus post of course.
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  #7  
Old 2018-01-16, 1:29pm
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I have used Fusion for the last 14 years and it's never let me down.
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  #8  
Old 2018-01-16, 6:31pm
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I would have to look and see if I can find my notes.
The recipe I used was
High temp kiln wash
Graphite powder
diatonomus earth (this may have been baked in the kiln first)
and enough water

As you found out the kiln wash on its own can be flaky.
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  #9  
Old 2018-01-16, 6:32pm
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Thanks for posting about this! It's just what I needed as well. After not using my torch for 7 years I can't remember lots of stuff! I think eventually I had a powder I mixed with water but I think it required a dedicated blender. I can't find so much of my stuff. But I was just investigating ready-made bead releases today. So I'd love to hear from others, what you use, what you like, and why!
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  #10  
Old 2018-01-16, 9:04pm
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I use a mix of Alice's kiln wash and Krag? Mud. About 20% krag, or other commercial bead release, and the rest Alice's.

I started doing it to save money. A bag of Alice's kiln wash makes about a gallon of bead release.
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  #11  
Old 2018-01-17, 1:36am
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I use Foster Fire now but I have used one or two others in the past.

Don't like any of them as much as the Smooth and Tuff from Foster Fire.

I will also mention that I found my bead release doesn't dry out as fast if I keep it upside down.
The wet bead release keeps the seal on the lid wet so it seals better and slows down the evaporation a ton.
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Old 2018-01-17, 7:35am
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I use Dip n Go Sludge. I've tried others and didn't like them as well, but I do live in a very humid climate and I think that might affect it.
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Old 2018-01-17, 7:57am
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Thanks to everyone who answered my query and it's nice to e-meet you all, especially Moira, who's also from the UK!

Speedslug - I always store my paint tins upside down too. They keep much better.

It looks like I might be better off investigating proprietary brands of release to begin with, as I'm getting really itchy fingers to get bead-making.

However, I'm not wasting my time - getting lots of practice in pulling stringer. I'm pleased to say that I've gone from two or three very wobbly inches when I started, to really nice long, even stringers from about 1.5mm to hair thickness (not in the same one!)

One other question while I'm on stringers - is it possible to pull thicker ones, more like murrini, using a Hot Head, or isn't it possible to heat a large enough gather properly? I've had a go at stamen cane but can't pull it long enough. It ends up thick alright, but uneven and very short.

Perhaps I'm trying to run before I can walk??
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Old 2018-01-17, 9:07am
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Yes, we had a member (she passed away in 2017) who made murrini on a Hothead to sell. It just requires patience.
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Old 2018-01-17, 9:55am
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Work on twisties too, as welll as stringer and murrine. They are loads of fun and you can get some nice effects right away.

Kiln wash on its own won't work but you can find some things easily enough in a local pottery store, or order online. I tried making my own ages ago, but it was easier in the end to buy and use my time for something else. Lots of info online, I think I used a recipe I found here on LE, with search.

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  #16  
Old 2018-01-23, 10:39am
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Well, I ended up buying some Tuffy from Tuffnell Glass and it is indeed easy to use and easy to get out of the beads. The data sheet that comes with it actually gives the composition and percentages thereof, so I might have a go at making my own one day.

I say 'beads', although mine look like they've had a hard time and aren't anything I'd want to make jewellery out of! Lop-sided, sharp holes on one side, very dodgy 'flowers' and taking about half an hour each (still not sure the torch is set up optimally). I've made 6 so far and can't wait to get to the torch each day.

I will try twisties too. I've managed stripey green ones, although it seems that having two colours of glass makes the stringer-pulling revert to the original short and lumpy situation, for some reason.
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Old 2018-01-23, 1:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neagle View Post
I use Dip n Go Sludge. I've tried others and didn't like them as well, but I do live in a very humid climate and I think that might affect it.
Ohhh. Hadn't thought of that. I live in the desert.
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Old 2018-01-23, 4:32pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handyann View Post
Well, I ended up buying some Tuffy from Tuffnell Glass and it is indeed easy to use and easy to get out of the beads. The data sheet that comes with it actually gives the composition and percentages thereof, so I might have a go at making my own one day.

I say 'beads', although mine look like they've had a hard time and aren't anything I'd want to make jewellery out of! Lop-sided, sharp holes on one side, very dodgy 'flowers' and taking about half an hour each (still not sure the torch is set up optimally). I've made 6 so far and can't wait to get to the torch each day.

I will try twisties too. I've managed stripey green ones, although it seems that having two colours of glass makes the stringer-pulling revert to the original short and lumpy situation, for some reason.
Sounds like you're having a good time, and learning what you need to practice is a big thing, so you're well on the way!
When you make a roundish/donut one and it is lopsided, try putting it in the flame to heat, then pull out and continue turning a bit, back in the flame a bit, out a bit (all while turning, not too fast, but making sure it is horizontal) and try to get in a zen space of just letting the heat and glass work together, and watch it to see if it begins to round out all on its own. Sometimes that relaxed and slow attitude works great at teaching me what the glass needs.
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Old 2018-01-24, 3:39am
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Thank you Eileen. Such good advice. I must admit, I'm finding the response of the glass to the Hot Head quite slow. That's probably a good thing for a beginner, but it does make me wonder if I'm doing it correctly.

Those donut beads tend to end up with a thicker bit on the radius from the mandrel to the edge, as if the bead has drooped. No amount of heating and turning seems to even it out again. Marvering just flattens the edge, takes another age to curve out again and is still uneven.

Learning lampworking is being good for me, I think. Not boasting or anything silly, but I've always picked up new craft techniques pretty easily - I'm one of those people who makes the last and most complex thing in the book first, not always a good thing - but this is proving to be a definite learning curve which is making me slow down. Luckily, I'm stubborn and will stick with it until I get there!

Many thanks for all the helpful advice here - it's invaluable.
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Old 2018-01-24, 7:23am
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The Hot Head is slow. You can always add a dollop of glass to the thin section, and slowly melt it in. Just be patient, and it will come There is a thread on here somewhere with tips, and one of them is about ends on barrel type beads. It might have some good stuff in it for you, I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 2018-01-24, 7:57am
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You folks are amazing!

Eileen, I've just had an hour on the torch and have made 8 beads which, whilst nowhere near perfect, I'm not ashamed of. That's down to the advice you gave on slowing down, taking the bead out of the flame and letting it do its thing. I've been trying to force the glass to do what I want it to by keeping it too hot all the time.

Thank you so much!
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Old 2018-01-24, 8:27am
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You're welcome, just passing along what others helped me learn.
I bumped up a couple of tips threads in the tips and techniques folder that might make good reading
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Old 2018-01-24, 9:25am
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As for making thicker stringers; it is really really good practice at heat control and it is possible to make stringer as thick as you want.

You will find different glass colors and opaque versus transparent will have different melting characteristics.

Learning a lot of it now on a hothead will prevent scorching the glass.

Remember that the yellow glare that the eye glasses filter out is actually sodium burning off so an hour in the flame, even a hot head, is going to change the chemistry of the glass and it will change stiffness and color.

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Old 2018-01-25, 5:16am
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The thread on advice for newbies has so much good stuff in it. Thanks for pointing me to it Eileen.

Thanks too for the advice on thicker stringers Speedslug. I'll try again and perhaps use a punty instead of tweezers. Maybe the larger area will help me not to pull it so thin.

Now I've actually managed to make a few beads worth the name, I'm having so much fun and am encouraged. I know there'll be a heap more disasters along the road, but at least I've got a bit more confidence. I might even post a pic of my first babies (when I can figure out how!)
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Old 2018-01-25, 8:17am
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Looking forward to seeing your baby beads!
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Old 2018-01-25, 12:01pm
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Be sure to save the first beads you made! String them together and keep them around so when you're feeling like your beads are garbage, you take a look at them and see how far you've come.

Speedslug mentioned it but I wanted to reiterate, different colors of glass flow at different rates, in my experience white is almost goopy while clear is one of the stiffest, and when mixing them together you can get frustrated if you don't take it into account and try finding a work around. All part of the obsession! ;D
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Old 2018-01-28, 6:42am
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Thanks Beatrix, that's a good idea. Even now, just a few days in, I can see a marked improvement in the most recent beads.

I'm still trying to sprint when I should be learning to walk, but that's my nature, unfortunately. I'm trying to learn stringer control and finding it tricky. If the stringer is painting nicely (for the second or two that it actually works right!), the bead is overheating, and if the bead's ok the stringer is like cooked spaghetti. I've read lots about it and watched some videos, but it seems hard to find just the right spot with the Hot Head. I wonder if it's because it's such a wide flame?

I've made some pretty good (for me) base beads the last couple of days, then made them very ugly with awful stringer work but, hey it's all practice!
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Old 2018-01-28, 6:53am
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Small footprint, is the key to shaping those beads, It will help with the ends.
Lots of practice, we have all been there. We leap and bound and we turn out ok. Don't worry, lets see some pics
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  #29  
Old 2018-01-28, 8:43am
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Default My first babies!

After lots of blood, sweat, tears and a burn or two, these are the first 'beads' I've made. Lots of things wrong with them, mostly unbalanced and a couple with a sharp hole.

The random colours were the first lot; the plain periwinkle, the one with the dots and sharp hole and the 'cherry blossom' and horrible raked bead were day 2. The dreadful stringer work was day 3, although the beads under the icing weren't too bad for shape. The two with the cherry blossom design are a bit blobby-looking. I saw a video on good old YouTube on the blossom design. They were much better than mine, of course.

Can you tell I've got a lot of periwinkle?

I ran out of propane last night so am 'lampless' today and already getting withdrawal symptoms!
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Old 2018-01-28, 9:39am
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Try working further out from the flame if you can.

Play now and let your body slowly learn how much time to soak insurance heat into the core of the bead and then slide off to just the outer edge of the flame to add stringer for the few seconds you have until the bead cools too much to let the stringer attach with a good foot print.

It's a repetitive muscle reflex to learn to reheat the bead and sneak out of the flame to add stringer and then back into the flame to get a good seal.

The hot head is deceptive because we think we should work closer to the flame and that that would put more heat into the bead but too close is actually cooler and captures soot and unburnt fuel.

You are doing much better than I did when I started out.
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