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

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  #1  
Old 2013-01-16, 8:31pm
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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Default Help/advice needed

I want to start lampworking but am not sure what equipment I need to start. I was told a gtt bobcat is a good beginner torch.. I also want to know if I should start with soft glass or can I start with boro? What other equipment do I need?? Any advice is greatly appreciated
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  #2  
Old 2013-01-16, 8:41pm
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What do you want to do? Beads? Sculpture? Pipes? Marbles? Etc. That might be a good place to start, as different things need slightly different supplies.

Alli
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  #3  
Old 2013-01-16, 8:50pm
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Hi Chuck,

Have you ever tried working glass at all?
Before you get too much invested, if you haven't actually tried it you might want to find a place to take a lesson just to see.
If you can't find a place, you can get a single fuel torch (Hot Head for instance is the most common that people use) instead of one that needs oxygen too and melt some soft glass.
You need didymium (sp?) glasses to protect your eyes and cut the sodium flare so you can see what you're doing (for soft glass.)
You need a way to anneal your work, either someone to do it for you, or get a kiln that can be temp controlled at the correct temps and times.
glass of course, and you have to figure out which COE you want to use, and not mix them.
If you are making beads you need mandrels and bead release.
some basic tools - There are a ton of tools, but you don't need them all, especially not right away.
the area has to be ventilated correctly so you aren't breathing the fumes.
There are some books that give you a good idea on a lot of this, and hopefully your library has a few if you don't want to buy them.

If you want to do boro, you do need a dual fuel torch capable of the higher temps, and an oxygen source.
Eye protection for boro.
the kiln, glass, etc. of course.

There are lots of threads here on studios and safety that might be helpful also.
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  #4  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:00pm
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If you want to start out with making lampwork beads, I recommend starting with a Hothead and a sampler of soft glass 104 COE, like Effetre (Moretti). Do you have a welding supply near you? Give them a call and see if they carry propylene or its equivalent. Or you can try the 1lb MAPP canisters to start out with before you switch to the larger tank. I always tell new lampworkers to start out with the Hothead because it melts the glass slower and you can make some really beautiful beads with it. Then after learning many of the basic skills on it, you may want to go hotter with a propane/oxygen torch, and either stick with soft glass or try boro.

You can get your supplies for the Hothead here, and you could talk to Jamey Lynn on the phone too. She will ber very helpful with putting together an excellent beginner's kit for you.

www.howacoglass.com
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Last edited by Lisi; 2013-01-16 at 9:06pm.
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  #5  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:14pm
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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I want to start with beads and pendants and eventually id like to do sculptures. Unfortunately where I live there are no studios or places to take classes.i live in northeast pennsylvania. i no experience what so ever.. Ive watched almost every video on you tube I can find and have ordered the contemporary lampworking books..
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  #6  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:16pm
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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I have made a couple ornaments at corning and at thames glass in ri.
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  #7  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:20pm
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Just a thought because I don't live up there, but maybe there is a group in that area that you could join. They might have some ideas, and have meetings where you could meet other flame workers.
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  #8  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:38pm
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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Eileen, any idea where I could find a group.. Ive checked craigslist and tried online but am having no luck..
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  #9  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:43pm
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Hrmm. Then I'd start with Lisi's suggestion and start basic. Once you are comfortable with your skills and have a better handle on what you want to go, then decide if you want to continue with COE 104 or move to boro, which torch is going to suit your needs best, etc.

And where in NE PA? I've some family bout 25 mins from Matamoras.

Alli
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  #10  
Old 2013-01-16, 9:58pm
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I'm not sure if anyone in this thread is near you or not, but they might know if there is a group nearby:
http://lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235022
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  #11  
Old 2013-01-16, 10:07pm
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I don't know if this is anywhere near you, or doable cost wise, etc. but figured I'd post it here just in case.

http://www.hillhomeforge.com/index.html
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  #12  
Old 2013-01-16, 10:09pm
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One more link:
http://www.isgb.org/regional-informa...datlantic.html
scroll down for info that might be useful
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  #13  
Old 2013-01-16, 10:43pm
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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Eileen your amazing thank you. Jim thorpe is only an hr away and well worth the trip to see if I will enjoy it or not.. I live about 20 miles from wilkes barre
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  #14  
Old 2013-01-17, 3:01am
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One of the reasons I suggest starting with the Hothead is because it truly is a wonderful torch, and you very likely will want to hang onto it even after you upgrade to a hotter set-up. I as well as many other lampworkers still use it to make certain beads that just don't turn out as nice with the oxygen/propane torch set-up. Some lampworkers have used nothing but the Hothead for more than a decade, and they do absolutely gorgeous work.

Here are some of the beads I made with the Hothead several years ago when I was still pretty much a beginner, and I like them better than most of my beads I make with the Bobcat. My specialty is classic rounds in literally "zillions" of color combinations, most all of them do-able on the Hothead. You will be able to create many other shapes using the torch, as well as sculpture beads, and some off-mandrel as well.





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  #15  
Old 2013-01-17, 5:04am
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Chuck,
It may be a bit of a drive but the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY has weekend lessons as well 40 minute programs during regular hours.

http://www.cmog.org/programs/classes#.UPfogGdyGSo

Up coming bead class
http://www.cmog.org/class/bead-basic...0#.UPfqh2dyGSo
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  #16  
Old 2013-01-17, 6:33am
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Hi Chuck,

I've taken classes from Kris Schaible at Noodlesaurus in Palmerton - she's great!!
Here's her website: http://noodlesaurus.com/

I did a quick mapquest, and she's only about an hour from Wilkes-Barre.

Lisi: BTW, Beautiful beads! In particular, I love the effects you got with frit(?) on the red and black beads. I remember admiring them in another post and wondering what that did that! Very cool!

Judy

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  #17  
Old 2013-01-17, 7:51am
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You're welcome, but it's Google that's amazing
I just went to google, clicked maps, and then searcjed fpr lampwork near Scranton PA since I didn't know where you were.
Sounds like you've got some options now, have fun!
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  #18  
Old 2013-01-17, 8:22am
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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Thank You all for the advice and help...
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  #19  
Old 2013-01-17, 8:25am
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Hi Chuck,

I just started several months ago. I ordered a Hot Head starter kit for around $100 and I used 1 pound MAPP canisters from Lowes; the MAPP gas only lasts for a very short time for me, maybe 3 hours at $8-$10 a bottle. I too live in a rather remote area for supplies and lampworking resources. So I have depended on the internet and just fun playing around with the torch.

But after trying and really loving it, after three months, I purchased a Nortel Mega Minor, along with two new 40lb propane tanks and two new super large torpedo shaped oxygen tanks to keep me running. I am only using soft glass, but now feel like I can do a whole lot more with my new torch. My addiction is alive and well!

I'm slowly adding tools as I feel like I need them or want to try something new. The basics are your mandrels 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, or 3/16 (I have an inventory of all sizes, but use mostly for now the 3/32 and 1/; mashers; pick/rake; paring knife or Xacto knife; bead release; marver (I finally just bought one to go on top of my torch). I also bought a heavy duty stainless steel sheet from Lowes to put under my work surface. A lot of tools you can improvise as you learn I am finding. Although I like to have nice things!

Good luck and have fun!
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  #20  
Old 2013-01-17, 11:14am
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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If i start with the hot head torch do I need a kiln???
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Old 2013-01-17, 11:36am
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you'll need a kiln to anneal your beads/marbles/whatever, but for a little while you can use either a fiber blanket or vermiculite to slowly cool off your work.
this does NOT anneal your beads...you'll still need to batch anneal everything you bench/blanket cooled eventually, especially if you plan on selling any of your work.

but you can start out using just a fiber blanket until you decide on whether you're going to continue in this hobby or not. your kiln is like the most expensive piece of equipment you'll buy (unless you buy a gtt torch lol).
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Old 2013-01-17, 1:13pm
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Yep, you can use another way to cool down the smaller ones until you can batch anneal them. There is a limit to how large they can be before they crack cooling them that way, but as long as you are staying on the smaller side it's a good way to get started.
There are fiber blankets, annealing bubbles, and vermiculite that you can put the hot beads in (after you cool them enough that the surface won't mar from touching the blanket, bubbles, or vermiculite.)
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Old 2013-01-17, 1:16pm
chuckb32 chuckb32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istandalone24/7 View Post
your kiln is like the most expensive piece of equipment you'll buy (unless you buy a gtt torch lol).
I'm actually looking at the bobcat if i dont go with a hot head
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Old 2013-01-17, 1:25pm
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Are you thinking oxygen tanks or an oxygen concentrator if you go that route? I've not used the tanks, didn't want to have the refill bills, but I've heard it is really nice. I've been fine with my concentrator but someday I want a bigger one.
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Old 2013-01-17, 2:19pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckb32 View Post
If i start with the hot head torch do I need a kiln???
Even if you don't plan on selling your work for a while, you still might want to anneal your work if you want to save it. Here is a good kiln and they have a really good selection of sizes to choose from. Plus a lay-a-way plan that is very flexible:

www.theglasshive.com
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Old 2013-01-17, 2:23pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlassTorturer View Post
Lisi: BTW, Beautiful beads! In particular, I love the effects you got with frit(?) on the red and black beads. I remember admiring them in another post and wondering what that did that! Very cool!
Val Cox's Cashmere, I love the stuff!
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  #27  
Old 2013-01-17, 3:40pm
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also, i've successfully made soft glass marbles up to 1.5" and cooled them in fiberblanket with no cracks at all. boro up to almost 2".
i still anneal all my stuff, but i only make a marble or two at a time during the colder months (no heat in garage) so i don't start up my kiln for just a mib or two.
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Old 2013-01-17, 3:41pm
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i think beads are a bit different....idk if it's due to the mandrel that runs through them but any bead bigger then 1" has cracked on me with fiber or vermiculite cooling.
marbles though, no issues.
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Old 2013-01-17, 4:10pm
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Thank you Lisi!!!! I just received some Val Cox frit, and I don't think I even considered that one!! LOL. Can't judge a book by it's cover, that's for sure!

Judy

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Val Cox's Cashmere, I love the stuff!
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  #30  
Old 2013-01-17, 7:46pm
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So funny; I just left a message on LinkedIn for Nic. Thanks Eileen, I knew you guys were close to Wilkes Barre (close in GlassLand is under an hour!).

Nolly
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