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Old 2012-10-25, 8:44am
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bepnewt bepnewt is offline
Marble Lover
Join Date: Apr 16, 2012
Location: Broken Arrow, OK
Posts: 802

So, I tried this last night. I won't say it was an utter failure because in the end I learned something that has been messing with me in all facets of lampworking.

Right off the bat, I don't think I got my bead release dry enough because it shifted on me early. I was limited in time, so I decided to just do it w/o bead release and concentrate more on the air bubble and forget about ending up with a usable final product.

It was ugly. The gather I did looked like a 3-yr old did it. I was actually laughing as I did it, it was so bad. I was using a large rod ( 12mm ) of clear for it and I should have been using a smaller rod so I could control it better. I forged forward, however!

I got it melted into a semi spherical blob of molten glass and then tried blowing it out. I tried to put the smallest puff of air in there then stoppered the hollow mandrel with my thumb to see if it worked like blowing furnace glass on a pipe - where the heat of the glass will expand the air bubble, etc.

I couldn't get just a small bubble of air in the bottom of the gather. So, I superheated the blob, bubbling the glass of course, and I finally got an air bubble to go in. As you would expect, the glass wasn't evenly heated so it wasn't very centered. I held the air in with my thumb, hoping that the bubble would equalize since the thicker side should have been softer, but it didn't.

I messed with it more, heating, adding air, heating, etc. It was interesting, but I definitely didn't go well. So, I decided to make some basic beads. Making beads isn't that interesting to me, but I find that I can do it well enough that it gets rid of my "I suck" thoughts. And, since I am new, any time I melt glass, I learn more about it.

So, what I did learn between the pipe and the basic beads: I've not been using this torch to it's potential. On a whim, I decided to open it up more - more Propane and more O2, and I was able to do some things better than before. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night when I mess with ornaments again.

Before I shut down, I added bead release to the 4 hollow mandrels to get them ready for Friday's ornament attempts. I'll be going into it having a better understanding of getting the gather on the end of the pipe and also a "new flame" to work with that will help in the even heating that is needed for blowing a ball on a pipe.

Can't wait.

If anyone makes some of these ornaments, please show us some pics.

Brian E. Parker aka BEPNewt
Lifelong glass lover, now getting to work with it. Using a Bravo on an M20 & Natural Gas ( inner ), Tanked O2 & Propane ( outer ).
Grew up near
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