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

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  #31  
Old 2008-08-05, 1:19pm
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A simple brass tool is just a brass cup holder screwed into the end of a dowel... put one on each end, bend them out straight... I keep meaning to grind one end down so I have a pointy brass end on one end of the dowel.

Sue
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  #32  
Old 2008-08-05, 1:50pm
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I went to a local dentist and asked about old dental tools....he gave me a new set for free!!! love it.
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  #33  
Old 2008-08-05, 1:58pm
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Ice cream scoup for frit. You want the big spoon kind, not the melon baller kind.
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  #34  
Old 2008-08-05, 2:44pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue in Maine View Post
A simple brass tool is just a brass cup holder screwed into the end of a dowel... put one on each end, bend them out straight... I keep meaning to grind one end down so I have a pointy brass end on one end of the dowel.

Sue
Umm, would you mind posting a picture? I'm having a hard time imagining this. Thanks! Lisa
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  #35  
Old 2008-08-05, 5:19pm
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I have seen people use sharpened pencils before as pokes so I have some woodless graphite left over from art school and it can be sharpened to all kinds of tips, has to be clean though.
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  #36  
Old 2008-08-06, 2:00pm
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hemostat tweezer thingys, the kind like surgical clamps that can lock closed (got some really Cheap ones, 1 a pair for mini ones at one of those cheapy shop places that has a 1 section)
and a piece of brass clamped into them, I just used a scrap and filed the edges. this makes a great flat surface, I used this for when I had some trouble using a reichenbach pink on a graphite marver, it chilled it too quick.

I guess you could cut and bend the brass to any shape.

I also had a little flaring tool that was basically a triangle of metal in one of those exacto knife handles, I wanted different angles of flare so I cut up some more brass and made different sizes

off to take pic...

these are what I'm on about ...

various re-purposed tools, nail pullers/pincers i use for breaking stringer, a selection of knives and spoons, for shaping and a giant spoon thats a spoon rest.

and this is a pea scoop, I use it to fish around in the vermiculite for things that aren't on mandrels(wearing a mask of course!)

hope this inspires anyone to see anything(well almost anything) as a tool(my local kitchen shop always asks 'what are you going to use that for?' knowing I dont want to use 3 ice cream scoops for ice cream...)

I also have a stainless steel tray(from a charity shop) sat on kiln posts ontop of my kiln for drying frit or leaving just joined together rods or prewarming or whatever.

Madeline
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  #37  
Old 2009-09-14, 8:43pm
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Bumping this thread back to life in hopes of seeing some new homemade tool ideas!
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  #38  
Old 2009-10-23, 3:59pm
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Check out Harbor Freight's website! They have all kinds of little tools and things that you can repurpose for lampwork! I love that store!!
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  #39  
Old 2009-10-30, 4:53am
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One of my favorite new things to do is to use an ice cream scoop for frit. I scoop it up and leave it until I need it for the bead and then use it and put what I don't need back into the jar, when it is cooled of course. But, this keeps me from having differernt frit all over the table and in the way.

I wish I had a better way for storing my longer glass rods. Nothing good has come to mind.

I can't find the area on ths forum that has the hand made base for presses that need a base. Someone came up with one that was pretty good. My husband made one for me that I used with only one press at the time because he made it in a way that made it hard to getout. I don't need a base as much for presses that require bases anymore so I am fine with that but it was a very good tutorial for hand made tools.

I also found some great gripping tools at harbor freight. They came in a box of 3 and were rounded at the ends. This made it great for grabbing my pieces with loobs and moving them to the kiln or out. The tools are called hose pliers or something like that on Harbor Frieght. I love harbor Freight.

Link to the pliers http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=37909
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Last edited by Rachel; 2009-10-30 at 4:58am.
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  #40  
Old 2009-10-30, 5:49am
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I don't know whether they are available in the states or wherever, but I use a box from the really useful box company, (think I got it at staples) for my longer glass rods, I think they sell it for wrapping paper or something, think its about 80cm x 30 x 20, and they stack.
they had them on an offer last christmas I think.
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  #41  
Old 2009-10-31, 12:45pm
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That is a great idea. I've seen them at all the stores around Christmas. Thanks!
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  #42  
Old 2010-09-13, 3:10pm
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Somewhere I read a use for contact lens holders, but darned if I can remember...anyone?
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  #43  
Old 2010-09-14, 10:36pm
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I use a 10 or 12 inch piece of stained glass channel to get my beads into the kiln without burning myself. Insert the end of the mandrel into the channel a few inches. Reach toward the back of the kiln and let the bead it self hang over the back of the rod rest. Pull the piece of channel out, leaving the bead draped over and behind the rod rest and the naked end of the madrel on the kiln floor near the front.
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  #44  
Old 2010-09-15, 4:07am
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Two of my Can't Torch Without tools are both made by Revlon. A 4 inch steel file/cuticle pusher and a steel tweezer with a slanted end. Another great find was a set of sculpting tools (steel) in the clay section at Hobby Lobby - one of the tools has a little scooper thing on the end that is terrific for pushing unruly dots and lines back into place.
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  #45  
Old 2010-09-15, 4:36am
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I recently found some little ceramic tea bag rests/holders. they have a really low lip and are perfect for frit. I also have someone with a set of twins that has been giving me the little plastic containers with lids that baby food comes in. perfect for frit storage. Char turned me on to a long brass shoe horn as a goodie for making barrel beads.

for ears on critters I use a pair of jewelers tweezers that that has 2 curved profiles that fit together, it helps to get the curve shape in dog ears etc.
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  #46  
Old 2010-09-15, 11:08am
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I use ice tongs for lentils, old painters pallet knife for sculpting, old garlic press for texture, and spoons I pick up at thrifts stores for rolling frit. My kids think I'm crazy for digging around in the old dinnerware bin but you can find great stuff in them to use.
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  #47  
Old 2010-09-16, 2:14pm
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I bought a 5-pack of 5"x12"x1" graphite plates (Thanks BZGlass for the info) off Ebay and have made a couple of tools. One is a rod rest made by epoxying a half-brick to one plate that's been cut with a short piece as the bottom and the long piece has channels drilled in the top edge for the mandrels/rods to ride in. Provides heat protection and rod rest at the same time.
To make mashers, I bought barbecue tongs at the thrift store for 50 cents, straightened out the ends, and epoxied small graphite sections to them.
I'm going to cut up another plate and make some shapers and a torch mounted marver.
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  #48  
Old 2010-09-18, 8:12am
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Fantastic thread!

My local Ace Hardware still has an old-fashioned shop, and the guys there will cut 1/4" steel rods into lengths and then fine-thread one end for me -- instant knob and fan pull mandrels. They also have stainless tubing, and all I have to do is to drill through one side near the end for a puffy mandrel.

Dental tools are *great!*

An old hanger and a flexible tool extender lets me hang my rotary tool from a hook--instant Flex Shaft.

For 3/32" mandrels, a rod saw blade snapped in half is THE best bead hole cleaner I know. $3--$4 lets you clean for over a year or more.

Ask at air conditioning repair companies for equipment they have pulled out of AC units people are replacing. When I was looking for a squirrel cage blower for ventilation, my local place wanted to know how many I wanted .... for free...and did I know anyone else who wanted any? (Cool Masters Air Conditioning in Tucker, GA, by the way.) Saved them landfill and disposal fees. YMMV on that one, as I live in a hot humid area where people use AC for at least half the year. The Ace Hardware guys helped me build a vent system. (BTW, find an Ace where the men are a tad old-fashioned about craftspersonship; they will treat you fairly and right. At my Ace, I was told I needed to have my vent fabricated -- which I really did. However, the fabricators tried to get more money off the deal, and the Ace salesman got steaming angry because That Was Not The Right Thing To Do--They Quoted A Price And Then Went Back On It--and he helped me rig a safe, appropriate, working system that would pass the Mike or Robert test.)

***SHAMELESS PLUG, WITH DISCLAIMER!****Buy frit from That Frit Girl (yes, she is my sister, we are related, I am not impartial, but I think most would agree that she makes FINE frit blends!). She works in a hospital and has bags of haemostats, and she gives away free tools with purchases.
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  #49  
Old 2011-06-21, 6:11pm
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I use a 4 sided cheese grater for making patterns on stuff. Roll hot glass on the cheese grater to get pattern, then fume - then sleve with clear. It makes a patterns that look like snakeskin.
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  #50  
Old 2011-06-22, 9:46am
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Tail stock holder - I've worn out two of the Smircich tools, so I made my own out of boro.
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  #51  
Old 2011-06-22, 9:48am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnehlers View Post
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!!
How about a nut pick as a rake ? would that work?
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  #52  
Old 2011-06-22, 9:51am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicoX9 View Post
I bought a 5-pack of 5"x12"x1" graphite plates (Thanks BZGlass for the info) off Ebay and have made a couple of tools. One is a rod rest made by epoxying a half-brick to one plate that's been cut with a short piece as the bottom and the long piece has channels drilled in the top edge for the mandrels/rods to ride in. Provides heat protection and rod rest at the same time.
To make mashers, I bought barbecue tongs at the thrift store for 50 cents, straightened out the ends, and epoxied small graphite sections to them.
I'm going to cut up another plate and make some shapers and a torch mounted marver.
I can get graphite plates but how do you get it so they don't give off a black mark on your beads?
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  #53  
Old 2011-06-23, 6:58am
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Do you mean when it cools the glass? That you can take back off with heat.
Or do you mean it actually makes graphite smudges on the bead?
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  #54  
Old 2011-06-23, 10:05am
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Jazarra,
Graphite comes in many grades and densities. the softer grades will shed graphite dust that may be a/or your problem. You can clean graphite with alcohol or hot water then rub it down good with a soft cloth. You can polish graphite with #000 or #0000 steel wool from the hardware store and burnish with brown papaer bag paper or newspaper. Lots of rubbing LOLOL!
PJH
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  #55  
Old 2011-06-30, 1:46pm
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I get brass thick strips at Hobby Lobby(train section) and grind them into knives for using on my glass. I've even gotten brass rods there and grind them for pokers, pushers to use on the glass.
Janet c.
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  #56  
Old 2011-06-30, 3:05pm
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The good thing about getting the brass at Hobby Lobby is that you can have any size and then shape it any way that you want - including trying to texture part of it.

Another thing for using as brass knives on glass - brass letter openers from thrift stores or wherever you can find them. Also, the "fancy" end might be useful as a marver or shaper.

Yvonne
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  #57  
Old 2011-07-17, 10:32pm
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I had the same idea about using a cheese grater. Found a stainless one at a garage sale for 50 cents, DH took off the wire holding the top and bottom square. Now it unfolds and I can use either the "inside" or the "outside" depending on whether I want innies or outties.
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  #58  
Old 2011-07-23, 8:46pm
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Outside Calipers...machinists use them....about $7.00. Work better than peter's tweezers!
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  #59  
Old 2012-03-12, 10:12am
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i found liquid graphite in a can online. I spray all of my little homemade or cheap tools (pushers, mashers, melon baller, dental picks,etc.) with it (twice) and let them dry over night, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol. They don't stick to my glass. I also sprayed a cooking tray with it and use it as a big marver and working space. I love the stuff!

Addie
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  #60  
Old 2012-03-12, 1:27pm
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ooooh liquid graphite! great tip!
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