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

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  #1  
Old 2008-03-28, 10:24am
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Default Homemade tools

Hi,
I was hoping we could start a thread with homemade tool ideas. Things that are easy to make at home without welding, etc, or that you can pick up for cheap at a hardware or grocery store. For instance, someone told me you can use stainless steel bbq mashers instead of buying the ones for lampworking - $10 rather than $40. And maybe a bent ice pick would work for poking and raking. Stuff like that.
If there is already a thread like this I'm sorry - I searched and didn't see anything.
Thanks!!
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  #2  
Old 2008-03-28, 10:45am
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One of the first places to check is the kitchen - knives for shaping, spoons for frit, small gravy bowls for frit, pinch bowls for frit & enamels, all kinds of stainless steel items for whatever use you can imagine. Cheese knives/sets offer lots of opportunity. And check the toolbox, too. It's just a matter of looking around.
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  #3  
Old 2008-03-28, 11:36am
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I think it's a great idea! Everyone comes up with different variations of "tools" for lampworking that are basically household items. And being a newbie, I love reading other folks ideas on the subject.

For example, a friend of mine told me she uses the heavy foil cupcake cups for frit! They are cheap, disposable and it works really well - I've tried it. I've also started raiding my father's tool box (laugh). I recruited him to make me a set of armrests (I have a bad neck) for when I'm torching, and he also made me a great mandrel holder for my dipped mandrels. He's very handy!

I would love to read other peoples' ideas for tools etc.
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  #4  
Old 2008-03-28, 2:47pm
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Great thread!
Here's a couple.
Plastic pudding/jello cups for frit, misc. The ones that come in the 6 packs.
Little fondue/ olive forks. lightly sharpen the edges for poking/ raking.
Brass rod. Our local hardware store has these brass rods, about 12" long, I cut them in half, sharpen the ends. Makes a great poker/ pusher. About $3-$5/ rod. Lasts forever.
This one is great! I found these neat "tic-tac" boxes at Hobby lobby. They come in a clear case of 22 boxes for around $7! I keep small custom frit in multiple sizes in them. Great for powders too.
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  #5  
Old 2008-03-29, 9:15am
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Great thread!
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  #6  
Old 2008-03-29, 10:58am
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My favorite cheap tool is a butter knife. Big Lots had inexpensive steel dishes and gravy boat shaped things that were tiny enough for frit. I use pieces of 6x6 stone tile samples for my graphite pad.
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  #7  
Old 2008-03-29, 12:16pm
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Heat sinks (like for a computer) are great for making stripey indents. Flower frogs are also good for making a pattern of indents to make bubbles out of. I like dollar store ceramic snail holders for frit on my bench, and lee valley watch maker cases for shards and small bits. Most of my frits & powders are kept in spice jars. I was using a piece of wood with some nails ppounded through it as an optic mold for a while, but I burnt out the bottom & haven't gotten around to making a new one. I have a spoon I use for shaping, too.
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  #8  
Old 2008-03-29, 1:02pm
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an ice tong for lentils works great
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  #9  
Old 2008-04-03, 6:40am
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This is great - lots of really good ideas! I'd love to read more!
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Old 2008-04-03, 8:06am
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For texture, i love my commercial meat tenderizer - bought it at a restaurant auction for a couple dollars and I can flip it and have a flat surface
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  #11  
Old 2008-04-03, 9:01am
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this is what I found at a paint store. I use it to make cuts in my flowers ect.
It cost about $3.50
I like using this alot better then the other razor blade holder
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  #12  
Old 2008-04-03, 11:57am
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I use a revolving spice rack for frits and enamels. I just label the top, it takes up less space and is easy to access.
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  #13  
Old 2008-04-03, 12:17pm
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I use small terra cotta saucers (the kind that go under plant pots) for frit. At first I used the top side, but then I started using the bottom because I preferred a smaller lip.

I also discovered that these are great for holding silver leaf sheets. Just dab a tiny bit of water on the saucer bottom (or spray with a water bottle) and your leaf will stick really well, as long as it's not directly in front of the kiln. (The water evaporates too fast, in that case.)
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  #14  
Old 2008-04-04, 2:06am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoutycat View Post
Heat sinks (like for a computer) are great for making stripey indents. Flower frogs are also good for making a pattern of indents to make bubbles out of. I like dollar store ceramic snail holders for frit on my bench, and lee valley watch maker cases for shards and small bits. Most of my frits & powders are kept in spice jars. I was using a piece of wood with some nails ppounded through it as an optic mold for a while, but I burnt out the bottom & haven't gotten around to making a new one. I have a spoon I use for shaping, too.
Dumb blonde here, what the heck is a Heat Sink ?? I'm lost on that one..lol
I use sushi dishes for frit.. it's ceramic and has three divided areas in it...
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Old 2008-04-04, 2:47am
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Default Frit Holders


http://www.amazon.com/Steeltek-Stain.../dp/B000FZXKAC

Also, you may want to check out this thread I started. It's about getting oddball stuff we all use. It's called "Where do you get?"
http://www.lampworketc.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=82927
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  #16  
Old 2008-04-04, 10:49am
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I picked up a set of three of these for $3 at Big Lots yesterday. Because of the way the bowl is rounded, with a smaller lip, I think they'll be good for applying frit or enamel to small beads.

http://www.amazon.com/Steeltek-Round...331039&sr=1-67
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  #17  
Old 2008-04-04, 10:57am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizabeads View Post
Dumb blonde here, what the heck is a Heat Sink ?? I'm lost on that one..lol
I use sushi dishes for frit.. it's ceramic and has three divided areas in it...
These are heat sinks - they cover the CPU in your computer...



I think some glass places sell them and call them something else....
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  #18  
Old 2008-08-04, 10:19am
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I wanted to pop in and mention that I just ordered the little sauce boats mentioned above (from amazon) and they look perfect! They are nice and tiny, and look to be the perfect depth. I also ordered these:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00117F20Y
and they are fantastic. They hold about 1.5oz and are perfect for those little baggies of frit and powder. They come in sets of 6 and they all screw together (the bottom of one is the top of the other, though, so you can't have six separate closed containers). You can even scew together more than one set. They save tons of space and they are clear plastic so you can easily see the color inside. Plus, when they are screwed together, you can put your labels on and all the labels will line up even after you open and close them again. If anyone wants to buy them, though, be sure to click on the "2 new and used starting from 1.99" link, and buy them through Amazon to get the $1.99 price and free shipping.
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Old 2008-08-04, 2:08pm
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My favorite thing to do is find things and tape them to the end of tweezers with metal tape. The tape is not flammable and I've attached all kinds of things to the end of tweezers to make flower petals and stuff like that. I cut a pair of ice tongs I got at Target and taped them to the tweezers so that they both were lying with the scoop part going in the same direction. This way, I could heat up the ends of glass and grab it with these hand made tweezers and I had a nice flower petal. I will try to take a photo of them but I have also attached some kind of tiny metal ball to the end of tweezers to use for making teddy bear ears and stuff like that. I have some bigger ones that I use for flower petals too. My favorite home made tool is anything I can tape to tweezers. LOL
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Old 2008-08-04, 2:49pm
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Quote:
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My favorite thing to do is find things and tape them to the end of tweezers with metal tape.
Could you explain/name the metal tape? I'm having a hard time imagining it, it sounds exactly what I'm looking for! Thanks. Lisa
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Old 2008-08-04, 3:15pm
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It is tape that you can buy at any of the home centers like Lowe's or Home Depot. It is like a really thick aluminum foil with something on the back you peel off. I am sure the guys know what I am talking about. When my husband gets home, I will ask him what it is called but I am pretty sure if you went to one of the hardware stores and asked for metal tape, they would probably know what you mean. It can cut you so be careful with it. I use it for all taping including taping down torches when friends come over and all kinds of things since it is not flammable. I love that stuff. It is super sticky and I don't think it is very expensive. If you can't find it, I will see if I can dig around on Home Depot or Lowe's website or I will snap a photo of what I've got so you can see what it looks like. It is basically strong aluminum foil like stuff that is thicker than aluminum foil with something on the back you peel off and then you can stick your metal tape anywhere. PM me if you don't have luck finding it. If you don't need very much, I can send you a few strips.
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  #22  
Old 2008-08-04, 3:51pm
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If anyone has a 99 cent store around them~ GO

I found a mellon baller with a nice cup and a hole in the middle~ perfect to hold enamel and drag the design.

works great!
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Old 2008-08-04, 6:21pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel View Post
It is tape that you can buy at any of the home centers like Lowe's or Home Depot. It is like a really thick aluminum foil with something on the back you peel off.
Rachel, thanks. I'm sure I can find it here in Phoenix ... it just helps if you know what you're talking about when you get confrontated by THE STARE after you ask for something in the hardware store.
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Old 2008-08-04, 6:37pm
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I taped the enamel cone shaped applicator from thompson enamel to a used kids toothbrush for a homemade...you know what kind of tool. kind of feel guilty sharing that : )

crystal
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Old 2008-08-05, 5:22am
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my latest eureka repurposed tool item is a scissors type cigar cutter. makes a great pair of mini diamond shears for lampworking. I also use a pizza cutter on my glass lathe to get fine lines. I have taken a switch plate/metal and cut a deep V into it and mounted it on a block of wood. You can put hot glass or bead down into the V shape and get a fine line/division in the glass. Especially nice for making avolios. A paring knife is my most used tool, and a broad blade butcher knife or cleaver makes a great hand held marver. I use all sorts of tandy leather punches for textures like scales o fish or dragons, and they have one that makes a perfect almond eye shape, in several sizes too. And the standard set of dental tools are gotta haves for beads. Sushi dishes are nice with a low lip for frit and powders.

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  #26  
Old 2008-08-05, 5:37am
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I've been looking for stainless barbecue mashers.... I can't find anything that's flat and I think most of what I've seen has actually been aluminium... Any store suggestions where someone has seen them this summer?

I use escargoe (sp!) servers for frit... they tend to mix the frit though so if your anal about keeping your frit sorted don't use them!

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Old 2008-08-05, 6:04am
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Great thread. I found out that the hospital where I work would discard broken or dulled surgical tools, so I went shopping there. Joan
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Old 2008-08-05, 8:14am
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I haven't used it in a while but a large phillips screw driver makes an easy + mark in dots of glass for a flower effect
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Old 2008-08-05, 10:56am
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Stainless steel spoons...of all shapes and sizes! Hubby thinks I'm weird...I always go to look and see if there's any new spoons when we go shopping. They make great barrel marvers. I must have a dozen different shapes and sizes now. What to look for? Different curvatures, widths and sizes. Soup spoons make a deeper, wider barrel. Shallow teaspoons make narrower beads. Demitasse spoons make great baby barrels. It's a super cheap alternative to the more expensive tools out on the market.

Another great tool I use every torch session is my split end cheese knife. It's absolutely PERFECT for straightening the ends of tube beads or any other bead with a wonky end for that matter. The cheese knives are a little harder to find and can be pretty pricey, though. You can expect to pay as much for a good stainless cheese knife as you can for a decent graphite marver...sometimes more.
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Old 2008-08-05, 12:54pm
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Thanks for the thread... Great idea.
I use a paring knife, exacto knife set for shapping.
I use old film containers (35mm) for storing frit.
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