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I'm planning to buy a Hothead (or actually a Conkinect as the equivilant is called here). But I still have some doubts about the time it will take to make the glas melt (I will be using Moretti and Lauscha).
So my question is: has anybody used both a Hothead and a Minor and can tell me how long it will take to make one simple bead without decoration on both burners? I keep reading that the Hothead is slow, but how slow is slow? :???:
I have been using a hothead and got very fustrated on it. I took a class the other day and used a minor for the first time. What a difference for me! I would say don't invest in the hothead, go straight to the minor. It wasn't just the speed difference, but also other differences. With the hot head i would run out of mapp gas in the middle of a bead, it would get too cold and i had no control over the flame, also, with the cost of mapp gas you could upgrade and still be saving. I've ordered my minor and can't wait until it is here. These are just my experiences.
Thanks for your reply, but could you be more specific? How long did it take you on your Hothead to melt enough glas for a simple bead?
By the way: I won't be using map gas but a propane tank stored outside.
Although the Minor is hotter and faster than the HH. How fast do you want to work?.... Is you goal to just pump out beads as fast as you can or learn to manipulate the glass..... A Minor setup is going to cost you 4-6 times what the HH (Conkinect) is going to cost you.... Are you ready to invest big money into a big torch and find out in 3 months or so that maybe glass is not for you...
I learned on a Hothead, had a borrowed National 8m here for almost a year, and am now back on Hothead... There is something about the slow manner of the hothead is kind of soothing... Maybe its you don't loose control of the glass in a heartbeat from excessive heat.... Maybe its you have time to design the art...
A big hot torch is not going to help you make better beads, only practice can do that, A big hot torch just guarantees you can melt a lot of glass, faster.
The speed at which you can create a bead on any torch is dependent on the size and difficulty of the pattern on bead..... You may take only 10 minutes to create a bead on a hot head yet same bead can take you 15 minutes on hotter torch (minor) because you spend more time out side the flame cooling the "molten glob" of glass back down to workable temperature.... How long to make a bead in beginning is relative to bead makers experience...
I'm not against the idea of getting a minor or larger torch, I just think one needs to look at ones experience and desires and monetary factors in making a selection and not just go by time/heat.
Thanks Dale, this al makes much sense to me. I just wandered about the slownes of the torch because I thought I read somewhere that it could take minutes to just let the glas melt... But maybe I've misread that?!
Actually, I think it would be better for me to go with the Conkinect, just to learn the different techniques and see if this is what I really like. At this moment I can't imagine that I will not like it though!
I started with the Minor.... I bought a Hothead recently and that was a mistake because after working with a oxy/prop torch yo can't go back. It seems as slow as molasses.
If you have no comparables the Hothead would probably be ok to learn on but it is sooooooooooooooooo slow if you tried a Minor or such.
I have to now get a Minor. I worked on the Minor and the bead I came up with was one I'm proud of but the hothead beads lol well..... they suck.... they look like petrified hamster droppings. That hissing mad snake is giving me ringing ears lol.
I do know with fiddling with it you have to turn the heat down until you loose the fiery hissing sound then keep your glass about 1 inch from the blue cone in the center otherwise it's like waiting for water to boil lol.
Save up for a Minor or other it's well worth the money. You will be so enthusiastic when you see what it can do.
I totally agree with Dale.
I've spent the last year on a Hothead and only now am upgrading to a
I spent a year experimenting, learning, playing.
The hothead was a good investment for me and got me through my first year... but now, as I learn and grow... I'm just outgrowing it!
A hothead is a small investment until you're absolutley sure it's what you want to do.
Hope this has helped.
I am also going to agree with Dale! I spent over 2 years on a hothead and I could do almost anything on it. And no it does not take minutes to melt your glass rod. I feel it was a great learning experience because of the lower heat, I did not lose control and have melt downs. You have the time to think about what you want to do and how to do it. And that is a good thing when you are first starting. And it left me the money to be able to get a kiln so that I could anneal. I switched to a bobcat about 6 months ago and I love it, not so much for the heat but the pinpoint flame and being able to adjust the oxygen and propane. I would definitely say try the hothead and then ppp till you decide you love it and can't live without torching.
Using the bulk tank will make a difference too. The small canisters were frustrating. I took my first class in early Jan. and the studio had mini cc's set up with liquid oxy. I couldn't afford the whole set-up right now for the mini so I'm learning alot on my Hothead in the meantime. I have a bulk tank of propylene(same as Mapp) .....yes.....stored outside...have a hose coming in my back porch window where I torch with several windows and the back porch door open even when its 20 degrees outside.:p When I was just practicing small spacers with no decorations I could get about 10 beads done in an hour or so. The transparent colors tend to take a little longer to melt. Theres quite a few people on this board who have been using a hothead for years and have no intention of upgrading. I'm not "frustrated" by the slowness. Its a good learning curve...but thats me...I really think you'll be happy to start with the hothead especially with the intention of using the bulk tank. Hope this helps.:-o
I'd go with a hot head first, then upgrade in a few months or so. And a lot of people keep their old hot head to take with them traveling or to shows, or to do stringer work, so it's not a waste of money. (Of course, a hot head isn't very expensive anyway, it costs less than a pound of some glasses!)
I can make a plain round spacer on mine in about five minutes or less. It's not *that* slow for smaller work. Larger work is slow, though. But for beginners, it's a very good torch.
I have just gone up to a Mini CC from a hothead. I do think learning on the hothead is actually good because its easier to control the glass once it is heated. On your question of a simple bead with moretti glass I would say you would probably take 5 mins on a HH and 1 min on a mini cc . I know my biggie was to make encased florals, on the HH it took my 1 hr (yes I did say 1 HR) now on the mini cc about 20 mins or less. I know I had a learning curve of controlling the heat when I first got the CC and if you went straight onto something as hot it would take you longer to get a nice rounded or donut bead as I think the glass would be a bit droppy to a learner. I like to play around with my stained glass scrap and it took forever to melt on the HH and just melts like butter now on the cc. Moretti/Vetrofond are the quickest to melt on the HH Bullseye takes a little bit longer and Spectrum even longer again. Depending on where you are if you are in the US a HH is very cheap and also the gas - but I would go a bigger tank than the 1kg cannister if you could - I have a 9kg and it lasted me 6 weeks and that was with torching everyday.
I've been torching for a year on a HH with 1 lb Mapp canisters and here are my thoughts:
1. I plan to upgrade to a minor (probably) and an oxycon, when it seems appropriate to go through the machinations of cutting a hole in the wall and all the rest of the construction it takes, BUT I will keep my HH for certain things as every disadvantage has an advantage, I suspect.
2. Takes me about 60 secs to make a sm simple bead - or 30-45 mins for a large complicated, many layered floral. The speed is not the major thing for me.
3. I appreciate not melting stuff too fast esp when I'm trying to learn new techniques - like hollows. I've actually posted recently that I've been using stiffer glass (Bullseye & Uroboros) so that when I'm doing hollows and sculptural work, the bushy flame of the HH doesn't melt stuff too much.
4. Ah - the bushy flame - in many cases a drawback for detail work, but I can get pretty big focals with it - i.e. at least 30mm
5. My first BIG investment in this craft was an Arrow Springs kiln that includes a rod warmer that I use all the time for the larger rods (over 4mm) and I LOVE IT - no spitting or breakage. Also put a pizza pan on top of the kiln to keep other glass warm. This speeds the bead making up considerably.
6. I would say that the main drawback is that the HH flame is not adjustable either in size (other than cranking it up) or composition ( of oxy&propane)
7. MAPP is expensive - cheapest I've found is Home Depot @ $6.99 per. I have learned to gauge what I'm making by how full the tanks are.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that. although I'm probably ready to get a different torch one of these days, I really respect what the HH can do and have been very surprised at how much I can do on the torch coupled with my kiln.
I have used a fireworks torch for the last few weeks and it did the job. Slow meaning a small spacer been took about 3-5 minutes to get the perfect shape, I just got my minor set up last night and it took all of about 30 seconds for the same bead.
I did not like the fireworks because if I was making a vessel or other bigger bead, once the tank got down about half way there was no point in using it and then I had a ruined mess! Now you may not have that problem with a hothead but I am not sure.
If you can afford it I would buy the minor torch and then beg borrow or steal your tanks! I got lucky and the good ol father in law let me take his oxygen tank off of his welding outfit. I just have to return it in a minutes notice if he needs it.LOL
I can agree however that if this is your first time lampworking a hothead will give you some time to learn the techniques before you jump in to it. and they are only about 30$
Let me add my 2 cents, ok? I have been working on a hot head for a year, and I love my hot head. Eventually I will move up to a minor, but for now- my hot head is fine for me. I also use a 7 lbs MAPP gas (propelyene) tank- and it is the idea solution for me. I do NOT - not at all- suggest the Fireworks quiet torch- it totally sucks compared to a hot head. Mine died within a month- and it had about half as much power as my hot head.
My glass begins to melt within second with the HH. If I am going to make a spacer out of a harder transparent- it takes maybe a minute from beginning to end. Some beads take me as long as 5-10 minutes- but that is with tons of layers and decoration.
I encase almost everything I make. I have no problems with encasing- BUT- do not buy Morretti clear when using a HH- only Lauscha- and get a smaller size diameter rod- like 4MM- this is PERFECT for encasing- melts like butter- and crystal clear.
I totally respect my HH. It offers me wonderful control that I can not achieve right now with a minor.
Hey- there is a learning curve- everyone has one- go visit wetcanvas and find their "Loud & Proud" HH thread- it is invaluable.
If you want to see what you can do on a hothead, look at these beads--all done on a hothead, with BULK fuel (no, she doesn't use those silly little one pound tanks). You can learn to do tiny stringer work just fine with a hothead--I've seen Nikki write tiny words, make Kanji symbols, etc. on her beads....
here is a link to a thread that may help, I will also post another link that may help.
I hope these help you!
Have fun with which ever torch you choose!!!
My first torch was a mini cc which I still have - but I bought a HH a few months ago to work with dichroic glass and really like it. I was having a hard time burning out the color on dichroic glass with the mini cc - I could get good results - but it seemed as if I were working against the torch. The HH is much better for dichroics.
I use the HH for different things than the mini cc - so it is difficult to directly compare speed. But for what I use the HH for (smaller beads, dichroics) I can't really say the the HH is noticably slower overall - in fact in these special cases it may even be faster because I can exercise more heat control. With larger beads you do have to spend some extra time getting good "heat insurance" built up - and that could cause a slow down.
So its hard to give a decisive recommendation - I love my mini cc but I have respect for how it can overheat glass. I am also loving my HH for what I got it for.
An aside: I am using the small 14 to 16 oz propane canisters. I could easily hook up the HH to the bulk propane tank I use for the mini cc but I do not feel that is is safe to have high pressure gas entering my house.
I started out with a HH, and I probably would never have tried making beads otherwise -- the tanked O2 scared me (this was before I knew about concentrators). As several people have mentioned, if you haven't done much torching and aren't sure if you'll like it, the HH is a whole lot less expensive.
If you find that you like torching, you can move up the ladder as you see fit (and as expenses allow). Or maybe never move up. I am continually amazed at some of the HH work I see - absolutely gorgeous!
The HH was great for me as a learning tool. I learned to control the glass without it being drippy. (When I moved up to the Bobcat, I dropped molten glass and burned through mandrels while getting used to it.)
I still have my HH (two, actually) but threw away my quiet torch after two weeks. Although I don't use my HH at the moment, it's nice to know it's there for me if I need it. Or if someone comes visiting and wants to try torching. I'm lucky enough to have two of the old adjustable HHs, so I'm keeping them!
I have a conkinect on a propane tank and I'm happy with it, it probably does take longer than an oxycon set up but it's great for learning. I do have the feeling that sometimes it's hotter than other times but that could be me not finding the "sweet spot" every time.
I've heard lots of people complaining about beads that crack, with my HH and a crockpot I've only had about 8 beads crack in the last half year, and those were the ones that I had worked a lot. I'm now doing hollows and lentils, works fine.
A few times I've wished for a hotter torch, but more often I wish for less heat = more control ;)
Where are you located btw. Are you in Europe?
I third, fourth, fifth, one hundredth what everyone has said. I am still on my HH; I am moving OVER (not UP) to a Bobcat, but I plan to keep my HH for Satake or for precision stringer work. Okay, okay, put "precision" in quotes! Anyway, the HH gives me a slightly slower environment to learn control, especially for smaller beads, which are 99% of what I make. I use bulk propane, so I don't have the "Run out of gas" problem on a regular basis, and I do have a kiln, so bead cracking isn't a problem. When I was using a fiber blanket it wasn't that much of a problem, actually.
My three reasons for moving over to the Bobcat are 1) It takes too long for me to work with raku and get ANY color; it can indeed be done on a HH, but I am too lazy and I want something with an oxidizing flame. 2) I love listening to NPR news and to my opera collection while I torch, and the HH is noisy enough that I have to turn it all up loudly enough to disturb the neighbors, and 3) I want to start trying larger focals without taking all year over it.
My sister made some very large lentils--palm-sized--on her HH, but it took her three hours. By contrast, a small lentil takes 1-5 minutes (+ decoration / thinking time!).
As someone else posted, go take a look at Dale, Nikki, and Naos' beads--all done on a HH.
So: a manifesto--Don't succumb to torch envy! And don't think of it as starting slowly--think of it as starting with more control, so you can learn technique, and see what heat / speed combo is right for what you do. Even if you move over to a dual-fuel torch later, always keep that trusty HH.
I used my HH for 18 months before I got the Bobcat. It was a matter of cost back then, but I still knew I was going to love this. If I had the $$$ I may have started out with the Minor and a concentrator. From what I know now about certain glass types and applications, I'm glad I didn't go for the hotter torch.
This is something I haven't tried yet, but will soon! You will be able to melt Satake, a very soft Japanese glass (not sure of the COE) on the HH quite successfully without burning or boiling it. It's quite a bit softer than the Effetre aka Moretti glass. My recommendation to you is to start out with 104 COE Effetre and/or Vetrofond, and then try Uroboros 96 COE rods, and then Bullseye 90 COE rods. The lower the COE the slower the glass is to melt with the HH flame but it can be done.
When I got the money later on, I went "whole hog" and got the upgrade torch and an expensive oxygen generator to run it. Very hot with the Bobcat and sometimes too hot. Even though I've been working with the oxy/propane torch for the last couple of years, I miss the HH.
I just found a new MAPP supplier in my area and I can get the bulk tanks again! I'm so excited to go back to my HH because I can get wonderful pinks again without turning them brown or "bleaching" them out. That was the trouble with Bullseye pinks and my Bobcat. Several types of my beads are just a whole lot better when I make them on the HH.
It's slower, sure. But this is to your advantage and it will allow you to learn and advance. You will know exactly when you are ready for more heat. Trust me on that. ;)
If I had to do it all over again, I still would have started with the HH. I have two and will never part with them! :D
If you can make a round bead perfectly in a few swipes a HH wouldn't be much of a drain on your time.
Most of MY time on a hh is correcting wonky "supposed to be' round beads. It takes a tad longer for it to become runny hot so you can do this.
It's great however for things like spiral disks and encasing, because you can control how sloppy things get. Usually things don't get so liquid so fast.
I've been using one for 5 years on bulk fuel. I can make up to 50mm focal beads (tabs) on it in 20-30 minutes. The only thing I cannot do with it is make encased florals but that's because *I* suck, not the torch. :)
If you don't want to blow through a lot of expensive glass, I'd start on a HH first, get a feel for different types of glass and then upgrade if you to. If you want to make round beads, regular size lentils, maybe some larger focals, the HH is great. If you want to work with boro or do larger sculptural pieces, this is not your torch. :)
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