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

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  #1  
Old 2014-12-03, 6:18pm
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RockinRobyn RockinRobyn is offline
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Question Newbie needing guidance! please help :)

Hi Everyone,

I am a newbie here. I would love to get more info on lampworking. I havent done lampworking as if yet, but I have worked on large scale hot glass for 4 months at a college. I am now addicted to playing with glass, and thought some lampworking could feed my addiction.

I wanted to give it a whirl at a studio, but they wont let me without a highly expensive class :/. Does anyone ever start sans lessons? I have most of the equipment already for it just not the torch, and glass. Some guidance would be greatly appreaciated.
Thanks in advanced
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  #2  
Old 2014-12-03, 6:37pm
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Welcome aboard! I think you started in the right area ( tips and techniques). Check out the other areas here as well- you'll learn a lot in other places too. Other members also sell glass, tools, sometimes DVDs in the garage sale area.

I strongly recommend putting yourself in the RAOGK ( top of screen next to members) and include your contact info and address. This way any other member might send you random glass and goodies...thus the name, Random Acts of Glass Kindness!

Have fun

Duane
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  #3  
Old 2014-12-03, 6:40pm
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There are a lot of videos on YouTube, and check your library for books on lampworking.
Cindy Jenkins & Corrina Tettinger are just two of the authors to check.
From what I have heard, avoid the Fireworks torch, but the HotHead is a reasonably priced yet reliable place to begin.
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  #4  
Old 2014-12-03, 7:55pm
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where do you live?
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  #5  
Old 2014-12-03, 8:24pm
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Many of us started without lessons. Both authors Eileen mentioned are good ones for beginners. Do pay particular attention to safety, then have fun!
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Old 2014-12-03, 8:40pm
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Fellow newbie here waving hello! I started in my garage with a hothead and a ventilation system (cheap but functional) set up. I've made about 60 beads so far --you can learn solo --but sometimes its frustrating! HOWEVER, the folks here are awesome and super supportive.
Some newbie suggestions ---
1. The search button on lampwork etc is your friend ---I've used it a thousand times so far....
2. Be sure to watch the youtube videos too.
3. Don't get too caught up in the pretty beads on Pinterest....I've seen huge improvement in my beads (I can make dimples and less wonky each time) but I'm no where near the Pinterest level yet....just give yourself time and lots of PPP (practice, practice, practice).
4. Keep your beads from each session on a cord and date them. Even over two weeks, you can see a huge difference. Very encouraging when you think you're never going to learn (and learning solo does have a decent learning curve)
5. Oh, and frit ---love it ---its makes even my newbie beads look great.
6. And yes, sadly you need a kiln early on and they aren't cheap. I don't have mine yet ---but if you want to sell your work, you've got to get one. Glass Hive gets great reviews ---as does chillipeppers (I'm sure there are more great ones out there).....
7. If you are like me, you'll find the HH slow ---but I think its a good way to learn ---I'm hoping to switch to a bulk tank soon (read the safety section before you do this ---propane/propylene etc. belong outside....)

And welcome to the magic of melting glass!
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  #7  
Old 2014-12-04, 9:56am
Robin Passovoy Robin Passovoy is offline
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I'm entirely self-taught. Schools in my area are remarkably spineless when it comes to teaching people about fire and sharp objects, so I had to learn just about everything from books. Using a Hot Head torch is a great way to start, since the fuel (usually MAPP gas) is easily obtained and fairly cheap. That wide, bushy flame is excellent for your first adventures with dichroic and aventurine glass. Later on, you might want to invest in something like a Minor Bench Burner, a dual-gas torch that runs on oxygen and propane, although getting an oxygen concentrator is a very good idea. They aren't cheap, but they pay for themselves after a while. As for glass, there's plenty to choose from. Effetre is the most common, but CiM has awesome colors that you won't find in the Effetre color palette. You can use 104 COE (Effetre, CiM, Devardi, and several others), 90 Coe (Bullseye), 96 COE (Spectrum), or delve into the mysteries of Boro and Satake. You can even smash up your beer bottles and use that. There are a million miles of information on this site alone on each one. Just make sure that your ventilation is good and that you aren't wearing anything flammable, and enjoy!
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  #8  
Old 2014-12-04, 3:09pm
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Welcome to LE! I started without lessons too. Pieced together what I needed based on info online.

Here's a great starter kit: http://www.mountainglass.com/Mountai...6#.VIDaKdJ0xQs

Or if that's too much, if you live hear a Hobby Lobby they have a starter kit and you can use their 40% off coupon on it:
http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/...ng-kit-146662/

HOWEVER if you buy that kit, be warned; the torch sucks. I mean, use it one day and it sputters and dies sucks. Definitely buy a Hot Head torch instead: http://www.artcoinc.com/hot_head.php

Or, and this is what I did for awhile, I went to Home Depot and bought a torch head for propane off the shelf. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bernzomat...4458/203665003

Yup, I used something like that for awhile. It was fine.

Be sure to have ventilation. I had a high powered fan in a window blowing out, and my torch facing the window/fan. You have to have make up air too, so make sure you are not cutting yourself off from the rest of the house (like in a room with a door shut).
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  #9  
Old 2014-12-04, 8:37pm
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First update your area usually a area code or nearest city is enough.

The Cindy Jenkins book will help a lot.
Your local library may have a copy available through inter library loan.

If you find someone local they may be a good resource to learn from.
Or simply pay them a few bucks to anneal your beads.

Using A recycled bottle glass can work but being of unknown Coe you have to use the same bottles for the entire bead.
A case of wine usually work together but different vintages or brands often are less compatable.
It takes a bit to learn how to cut and use recycled glass but its doable.
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  #10  
Old 2014-12-04, 9:49pm
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Thanks everyone for the guidance, it so much appreciated. Keep it coming the more I can learn the better! I have bought the book "Passing The Flame" by Corina Tettinger from a near by lamp working place ( the studio that wanted me to take the class). The part of lamp working I'm most interested in is creating figurines, which the class only covers beading. They have kits with the hot head torches, but I was wondering if it's worth upgrading to a midrange torch like a mini CC torch?
I have used a regular propane torch in my college classes for the really thin piece of glass. Is using a legit lamp working torch similar?

I live in AB, Canada BTW I am a genuine Canadian eh
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  #11  
Old 2014-12-04, 9:50pm
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Also I would love to know what you do for ventilation
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  #12  
Old 2014-12-05, 9:36am
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Ditto on the Cindy Jenkins book, it's a good basic book for starting out. I started out after reading a craft magazine article about making beads with a plumber's torch, stained glass shards and a wire coat hanger coated with kiln wash. I've never had a class (not much on traveling unless it's in my RV). Lampworketc is an excellent way to learn how to melt glass, and if you search for ventilation, you'll find a lot of information. I'm a slackoff on that subject, I've got a fan in my skylight to pull the fumes out.
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  #13  
Old 2014-12-05, 10:32am
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I began w/one class from adult education - that's all it took to know I was hooked. No lessons other than a few hours of basic info. The internet & books are how I've learned everything else. This forum is a great place to ask any questions.

As to ventilation - we tried the box fan bit - didn't really work all that well. So I got an exhaust fan fairly cheap on eBay meant for indoor gardening & it has enough power to clear out anything I might do in the studio. Be sure to check the info for how loud the fan is rated.

dj
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  #14  
Old 2014-12-05, 11:30am
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I have never taken a class and learned everything from books (those mentioned above), you tube and here. There is soooo much information on this site. Pretty much any question you may have the answer is here. Lots of free tutorials and tips. Just get busy and play!
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  #15  
Old 2014-12-05, 3:00pm
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Get a torch regardless of classes. Get a hothead to start.

I work boro and have a GTT Bobcat, love it. Oxygen/propane is needed for boro.

I was of the school of thought that the big expensive torch was necessary, after looking around this site I found out there are people doing work with a hothead that is absolutely incredible.

So it is the skill of the operator more then the price of a torch.
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  #16  
Old 2014-12-07, 11:57pm
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I live in AB, Canada BTW I am a genuine Canadian eh [/quote]

Hey! Where in AB do you live? I'm in Calgary and there's a lovely glass house here where you can rent studio time.... Lots of fun and comeraderie if you're close by!!
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  #17  
Old 2014-12-08, 4:14pm
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Is it Tiffany House? If so they have changed their policy and wouldnt let me try without a $200.00 course
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  #18  
Old 2014-12-08, 7:27pm
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In my opinion, the class cost is a worthwhile investment. It'll save you a lot of time in figuring out how to do things and a lot of frustration. A bead class is a decent starting point, even if your goal is to do sculptural work. Glass is glass.

It's not unusual for a studio to refuse to rent to someone who hasn't taken a class. Equipment is expensive and can be damaged to say nothing of safety and liability issues. I teach classes and rent on occasion at a glass school in Seattle and they require a 6 week class (with exceptions for those who already have experience) and then an orientation followed by an equipment test before you can rent.

From what I hear, a mini cc is a good torch for sculptural work and it's reasonably priced.
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  #19  
Old 2015-02-17, 7:43am
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I have a nearly new mini cc as well as a mini-milan (made by Nortel). I wish to sell them because I can't do lampwork anymore.

I would like to get 325.00 plus actual shipping costs. I also have lots of tools and boro rods
and Frits.
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  #20  
Old 2015-02-17, 9:47am
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There is a thread about studios here that has lots of pictures of folks lampwork bench set ups and the pictures of the ventilation systems can answer a thousand questions in a few minutes of taking in the details.

The safety threads can get a little thick but you only have to learn it once and it really will be worth the effort of reading it all so don't short change yourself. Some of the bigger mistakes in safety can render your home insurance contracts into worthless confetti so getting up to speed on the details is going to let you sleep well knowing you understand how things should be done.
Lots of good cross references to other molten glass forums and knowledge sources here also..

Oh and the only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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  #21  
Old 2015-02-20, 6:27am
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I torched for a year with no class too! But classes were very helpful when I did finally take some.

I also started on a hothead, but there's nothing wrong with starting out on a dual-fuel torch. I would have if I had known more. I was pretty frustrated using the hothead, but maybe it's just me.

You might be able to find a used torch in some place like the Garage sale here on LE. Ron has a couple of minors for sale right now in the GS...

Good luck!
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  #22  
Old 2015-02-23, 4:08am
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My first oxy fuel torch was a welders kit I bought in a mall.

I think I used that for a year (a couple of hours a month) before the Cricket came out and then it took me another year to setup my house hold natural gas to get the cricket upand running.
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Old 2023-08-13, 6:36pm
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Interested to know your journey its been a while
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  #24  
Old 2023-12-07, 2:15pm
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I am entirely self-taught, been doing it for nearly thirty years now so it can be done.
My biggest recommendation would be to get yourself an oxygen concentrator and a Nortel Minor torch, I was buying tanked oxygen and it nearly wrecked me financially, the concentrator was a total game changer. One thing I can tell you for sure is that self-taught sucks, everything, even the basics, are like these huge epiphanies.

I remember one time when I first started out, I went into the local glass shop and was asking them if they sold what I called pencils (stringers). The lady there said come here and I will show you something, fired her torch up and to my amazement, pulled a stringer. I was so excited to learn that, I went home, totally forgetting to buy any glass that day LOL.

About a year later I ran into a batch of scummy clear, and my beads and marbles were terrible, so I got on youtube and low and behold, you can pinch that crap out with a simple pair of tweezers. I felt like a damned fool, but this is stuff you would learn like day one in a class. I feel like a total hypocrite saying it all these years later, but those classes are worth it in the long run.
Youtube turns out to be a goldmine for some of the more complex stuff, and there's a wealth of tutorials out there you can get, a lot of them are free. Thirty years ago, before the internet was really much, it was hard to be self-taught, but now I am sure there's so much material out there you shouldn't have much trouble finding stuff to do.

Don't sweat the tools, they come over a period of time. It was a long time before I bought my first kiln, and I'd buy a graphite shaper or a marble mold here and there over a period of years. Unless you are wealthy or hit the lottery or something, those tools aren't cheap. I built my studio up over three decades, and there's still things I don't have. You'd be surprised at what a junk drawer and a dremel can make for you though.

Learn everything you can and take advantage of the internet. Glass art, for hundreds and even thousands of years was one of those secretive arts you had to be initiated into, or learn from the masters. It's only been in the last little bit that this stuff has leaked out into the public, but it's just about all out there in some form or another. Soak it up, every chance you get and everyone who is willing to share it with you and be patient. I don't know how many times I told myself I wasn't any good and threw some really ugly stuff into the bin before I got to where I felt ok selling anything.
Oh, and don't try to do any glass work at the Flea Market, the universe doesn't like that apparently. LOL

Oh wow, this is an old thread... I bet that dude is selling stuff by now.

Last edited by jesnbec73; 2023-12-07 at 2:27pm.
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