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I have a hollow mandrel no hole on the sides just openings on both ends of the mandrel. How do you blow a vessel on one of these things? I can use all the help I can get!
Here is how I do it.
Hold your finger over the end you want to blow into and dip the mandrel into bead release. Holding your finger over the end will keep the tube from filling with release...although that isn't a travesty if it happens...it is just easier to keep the release from flaking off into the inside of what you are blowing.
Let this completely air dry thoroughly. Yes...some releases should be able to be flame dried, but I haven't had much luck with it.
When you are ready to work, you want to slowly and evenly preheat your release to glowing, just as if it were a solid mandrel. If you heat too fast, or get one side glowing while the other side is cool, you will possibly have release cracking issues which are no fun.
Now, (as close to the end of the mandrel as possible) start winding a disk of color. Use a dark transparent for your first coupla goes. Wind a disk, wind the disk, wind the disk. Build it up pretty good sized. Shoot for almost 2" diameter if you are using a pipe less than 3/8".
Once you have a nice round, disk (doesn't have to be all that thin...you will be blowing it out) that is uniform thickness with no holes, you will tilt the mandrel down so that the disk starts to drape down over the hole of the mandrel. You just want to get the general cone shape, don't try to close up the end by stretching the glass. The key is to keep nice thick walls for now.
Now, use your rod of glass to make more coils to close the end of this 'gather'. Make these coils of glass the same thickness as the rest of your vessel.
Once you have the vessel closed off, you are going to heat the whole thing slowly to an even glow until all the coil lines are gone and it is smooth. Take it out of the flame, hold it straight down and blow a few light puffs while still turning the mandrel. Get it back into the flame and evenly heat again. Repeat the blowing until your vessel is the size you want and the wall thickness is what you were looking for.
Now...some people leave their gather close to the flame and still horizontal while they blow, so you might find that more comfortable for you. Try it both ways. I like how gravity keeps my vessel on center while I am blowing if I put it straight vertical, but you do lose heat really fast this way.
Now you have your base to which you can add decorations, surface treatments and pay attention to the lip. You don't want it to be sharp and jagged...even if it means adding an extra wrap of glass and marvering to get a smooth edge. You are going for the same affect as a dimpled bead hole. You can punty up to the bottom of the vessel and pull it down into a longer shape, or perhaps twist it..whatever trips your trigger.
It is very important to evenly heat your finished vessel before garaging in the kiln. I cannot stress this enough. You are going to have several different thicknesses of glass in your final vessel. 1) the area of the lip; the only part actually touching the mandrel. 2) the thinner walls. 3) the thicker tip or bottom of the vessel. This lends itself to uneven cooling, so invest some heat into the thicker areas...and the last thing you should flash through the flame before you garage it are the thinner walls.
If you wanted a more traditional type of blowing, you could gather up some glass on the end of your blowpipe with no release, get it nice and evenly hot, blow it out, shape it, jack it, punty it, flame-polish it, snap it, garage it...but I've never done that before so you will need to get that from someone else. Doing it this way is just like blowing big stuff...it is just on a smaller scale and you use your torch instead of a glory hole.
Yep! What she said!! :-D
Thanks Mary for the help!! Just one question: Once you get your hollow the way you want it, should you plug the other hole so air doesn't release out of the hollow when you re-introduce it into the flame?
Penny it will not "release" because the walls are solid. It's not like a balloon, when your flashing in the flame, your not heating it up hot enough to turn molten. So it will not collapse. Clear as mud?
Try it and you'll see:)
Now it's clear as mud, because I was thinking it was like a balloon. I had a hard time trying to read everything you were writing in the chat room. Thank you for the clarification.
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