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

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  #1  
Old 2016-02-12, 2:27pm
Licorice_Panda Licorice_Panda is offline
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Default Just starting out

Hello I'm new to the glass working community. Im writing this in the hopes of some feedback to avoid common beginner mistakes. I hope to eventually build a carrier in boro glass blowing. My set up is as basic as it gets right now, just a hot head and an annealing blanket in the conner of my shed. Ive been making beads and laticino to build a basic foundation for working with glass. I've taken two courses in high school and have worked on a larger torch, but I have no experience blowing.
What things should I keep in mind while working up to a bigger torch? Currently I'm struggling keeping even small beads from cracking, as it is cold where I live. Also what options are available in terms of gas? I've been working with MAPP but recently found out that it has been discontinued. I've heard that propane can be dirty, and I'm not sure where to find propylene in bulk. In terms of equipment my next investment is likely to be a kiln but I have no idea where to start. Good ventilation will also be a concern, but I'm not sure if it's really necessary on the hot head.
Thanks in advance for any input, and I'm very excited to be part of this community.

Last edited by Licorice_Panda; 2016-02-12 at 2:30pm. Reason: Broken link, minor format tweeks
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  #2  
Old 2016-02-12, 6:31pm
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mandyjw mandyjw is offline
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Welcome!

I don't have any feedback for working up to a bigger torch as I tried that and failed. I think there is a quite a learning curve when you change torches and it can be really hard to switch when you have years of experience on the same torch. I just like my hothead too much and am happy with making small beads and soft glass so the switch just wasn't worth it. If working with boro on a big torch is really where you know you want to end up I'd work towards getting that setup as soon as you can once you've got the bare basics down and know the investment is the right thing for you. But even if you can't make it happen right away you are still learning for sure with soft glass on a hothead.

Good ventilation is still very important on a hothead. I've heard some say that hotheads are even worse then oxygen/propane torches but I'm not sure. Consider it just as bad though. Asides from the gases produced from the torch flame a lot of the concern comes from the fact that you are melting glass and the different metals used to color the glass itself being released into the air.

Bulk propane is normally not "dirty", especially if you run your hothead with a regulator. A lot of the so called "dirty" propane issues are caused by having too much pressure. In very cold weather it usually isn't an issue at all because the pressure increases the higher the temperature outside. Because propane is so cheap and so available it's definitely worth a try before looking into other fuels.
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  #3  
Old 2016-02-12, 8:09pm
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Speedslug Speedslug is online now
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If you really think you are having issues with "dirty" propane they do make propane filters for travel trailer systems like refrigerators and air conditioners.

It has been my experience that as long as I let the tank sit still for an hour after hooking it up what ever "dirt" there might be will stay put at the bottom of the tank until it gets refilled and even then another hour will allow it all to settle out.

Most often getting dirt in the molten glass is the result of having too much fuel to the available oxygen using a hot head or a mixed gas torch or (more often) working too close to the torch and this doesn't let the fuel get burned before it contacts the glass.


ETA: Just make sure that your hose is "T rated" to work with propane. If you use a hose made for acetylene the propane will cause the hose to disintegrate and you will get a gummy ooze as well as flecks of crap gumming up your torch and showing up on your glass.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2016-02-12 at 8:13pm.
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  #4  
Old 2016-02-12, 11:33pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Just jump in and upgrade your torch. You will be amazed at how much easier things work and if your going to work Boro, the hot head isnt really sufficient.
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  #5  
Old 2016-02-13, 5:46am
losthelm losthelm is offline
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Tanks, gas, regulators are easy to source from your local welding supply.
With gas tanks size maters.
Price per unethical of gas drops a lot with larger tanks.
A lot of Poole like air beads over fiber blanket.
Though a lot depends on budget for tools, equipment, and materials.
Setup can be a little expensive.
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  #6  
Old 2016-02-13, 7:45am
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FosterFire FosterFire is offline
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And read through this forum, there is great advice in many different threads, just search on a topic that catches your interest!
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  #7  
Old 2016-02-13, 7:49am
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It might help to know where you are located, to point you towards classes/studios etc

As said before, just start with an "upgraded torch" Minors, crickets, alphas are around $150-200 if you want to do boro you can do small items with these torches, it will also survive with out annealing.

Your cracking can be thermal shock, or incompatibly

And a good ventilation system is a must period

Good luck, we have all been there, and a tip, search Google and add lampwork etc to the item you search, it is easier than the search feature here
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  #8  
Old 2016-02-13, 2:17pm
Licorice_Panda Licorice_Panda is offline
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Thank you, very much for the feedback. I will certainly give propane a try, and look into those torches. And I will definitely get on the ventilation. I live in duchess county New York. I'm still convinced that I want a kiln before a new torch, any ideas about brand, style, etc?
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  #9  
Old 2016-02-13, 4:43pm
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Croft Eeusk Croft Eeusk is offline
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There are several reputable kiln makers. One is Glass Hive - which is what I have. Recommend the product & customer service very highly.

You might also check the Garage Sale here on LE for equipment etc.

dj
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  #10  
Old 2016-02-13, 7:18pm
losthelm losthelm is offline
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Ask around, you may find glass people in your area willing to batch anneal.
There maybe a few studios around also that teach or schedule torch time.
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  #11  
Old 2016-02-13, 8:45pm
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Craigs list can be a source of torches, kilns and lampwork collections from folks that have decided to change their plans as well.
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