Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson
magellanic

Lampworking today

Melinda and I and our friends Greg and Rebecca spent the evening at Public Glass, practicing our lampworking skills. Greg and Rebecca have recently taken the same intro to lampworking class at the Crucible that Melinda and I took and they now wanted to get going with their new-found hobby.

PG's studio is really sorta just barely held together. It's raining today, inside and out: the skylights leak, there's a puddle on the ground in the warm shop, and the drip is right behind where the lampworking benches are. It's also cold because the doors are open while someone is spray painting plywood in the back and while we're burning propane in the shop. If only I had my own house...

I spent the first half of the session making turtles: a flat disk of glass, four bits for the legs, one bit for the tail, and a large bit for the head. I followed instructions in a book I've been reading, and I chose to work on this piece because I wanted practice adding bits to a work in progress and on adding handles (the head and tail of the turtle both are handles during the work). My first turtle is sort of a neolithic representation of a turtle but by the third or fourth I was pretty happy with the result. I stopped at four turtles and let the little turtle family cool on the edge of the table.

I did some maintenance work today, too, mostly of my own things. I halved three sections of tubing and polished the ends; these will be used for implosion marbles when I have the chance. I cut several more punties from my stock of 30 or so 3' lengths of clear rod. And I put some 19mm stock on punties. I also learned some maintenance tricks at PG. We needed a new oxygen tank, which was wheeled in from the other room. The regulator gets tightened with a crescent wrench to be pretty tight but not Atlas tight. Leave the regulator in full-closed (all the way out) position to relax the spring when not in use. Open the tank all the way, because there's a lot of pressure in it and that's what the regulator is for. Listen for leaks; Greg heard one and a bit more tightening fixed it. Turn the propane on only 1/4 turn, so it's easy to turn it off quickly if something catches fire. The regulator on the propane tank doesn't show the tank pressure correctly; it shows 0 psi. The other gauge also seems probably broken, because it showed 0 psi on the regulated side even as gas was flowing.

When four torches were on at once the gas didn't quite keep up. I'm not sure what was the problem: was the regulator set incorrectly? Were we low on gas? Was one of our torches set too high, burning off too much gas? Hard to say. It got progressively worse during the 4 hours we were there, to the point that, at the end, I couldn't melt a 19mm rod at all. Good time to pack it up for the night.

We used the annealer, which was a first for me at Public Glass. The center annealer has a control box that reads the current temperature and set temperature. I set it to 1050F and it heated up. The annealer had a tray and supports in place, which someone must have put in for slumping, as Herb (someone who's at PG often) guessed. We took those out to leave the annealer otherwise empty. As we left we turned off the annealer; it'll cool down gradually and will be room temperature by the time I come back Monday to pick up the pieces. I left a note saying I'd do as much.

In addition to the turtles I also made:

a cane (white core with emerald and clear stripes). I pulled it, but probably too thin, as the details are hard to see. I liked the white core more than the clear core, though.

a marble, from the same cane.

a tapered icicle-like thing, with a loop. I wanted to create something that Joe and Sangeeta made in December but I don't know how they did theirs. I tried using some blue along a clear core with some frit, but the frit didn't melt well (this was at the end when the flames weren't very hot) and I couldn't get the taper to be smooth. I made a loop at the top but it was cumbersome: I pulled a thin bit of glass, melted it slightly, just enough to be lucky to bend in a loop shape, then attached it to the top. I need more practice with making loops.

Oh, and, I practiced making cold seals. My cold seals have been too hot, so they don't break off cleanly. The fix is to let the working piece cool off a bit and to let the punty cool off to an orange to dull orange color. Pink or brighter will integrate the punty glass into the working piece, which is exactly what you don't want to do.
Tags: fire arts
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