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

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  #1  
Old 2014-03-26, 12:14pm
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Adrolak Adrolak is offline
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Question A Grave Mistake?

Hey there guys, so, I suppose I should give you all some context for my issue. My father, being the wonderful man that he is, thought he'd get into lampwork, and decided that I would enjoy it too. So, we bought a hothead, and he ordered some marvers, mandrels, and glass from a company called Devardi. I've done a little bit of research, and found that there are some pretty bad reviews for Devardi Art Glass. I was wondering how you guys feel about the company, and their products? Is their glass sub-standard? Am I ultimately ruining my future work by learning with bad glass? Now that I've been experimenting for a while, I've run into a few problems.

My father bought some bead release from Devardi, as well, and I usually let it air dry on the mandrel, rather than fire drying it. I let the bead release get to about orange got, as well as the stainless steel mandrel, before putting my glass onto it, and beginning my work. I've found it immensely difficult to actually separate my bead from my mandrel after working, and it cooling off. I've tried soaking it in water first, I've also tried coca cola, because I read somewhere that that will help, too, and even vinegar. They help, but not much. Is it a possibility that I'm just using crappy bead release? Or is there something wrong with my process?

My last query is about annealing. We don't have a kiln, we don't have the space, nor feel that our output warrants purchasing one. For now, I've been using a ceramic wool blanket, that my father got from work. (He works in power plants for an energy corporation). I realize that it's not the best way to cool down my beads, but is there anything else I could be doing to help? Should I just wait to buy a kiln, or what? Thanks in advance, guys!
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  #2  
Old 2014-03-26, 1:04pm
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Personally, I like SLUDGE for bead release. It works great both for soft and boro. Get a small inexpensive crock pot and fill it with vermiculite (can be found at gardening places) or you can use annealing bubbles. After working, leave the beads (on the mandrel!) in the crock pot until they are cool. Ultimately, you will want to purchase a kiln. Look for sales with some of the vendors (I like Wale or ABR Imagery; Frantz is also very good) or even on craigslist. But the vermiculite and annealing bubbles will get you thru until you both decide this is what you want to do.
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Old 2014-03-26, 1:10pm
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Lots of people don't like Devardi but lots of people do. They have great customer service and decent tools, especially for the price. I suggest you form your own opinions based on your personal experience with them. (I have a lot of Devardi glass. Awesome colors but most of it is super shocky and needs to be preheated.)

I've never used their release, but if you do a bit of research, you'll see that stuck beads can be an issue with several brands. There are a few different methods for removing them (freezer, vinegar, water softener, etc...). You might want to invest in a rivet tool to use for removing stuck beads. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbZmRuoKO8k

I highly recommend annealing bubbles for cooling beads. They work better than anything I've use before (other than a kiln, of course). http://www.artcoinc.com/annealing_bubbles.php
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  #4  
Old 2014-03-26, 2:08pm
nevadaglass nevadaglass is offline
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First, you came to the right place - if you ever have questions - come to LE and post - you will get answers.

Having said that -
I say ditto what Shawnette said - Form your own opinions . I have some of their glass and have ordered tools from them. Great customer service. I too find the glass really shocky so I warm the ends up a slowly before using.

Once you get really into this, you will find that for every one that says something good about "something" or someone, there are probably going to be two that say the opposite so it can be frustrating at times - read, research and ask lots of questions then experiment and decide for yourself.

Also from what you said in your post, sounds a little like you are getting your release and mandrels too hot - but again an opinion - which could also be giving you problems and causing your beads to not release.

Try just getting the release itself to glow slightly then apply your glass and see if that helps - no need to get the mandrel itself to glow.

I take two bead releases - sludge and the mud that Frantz sells - gone blank on the name - and mix them half and half which I find works great - but again there are a lot of ways to get to the end of the journey. It's the adventure along the way that will make you wise.....

Last edited by nevadaglass; 2014-03-26 at 2:14pm.
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  #5  
Old 2014-03-26, 2:32pm
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I agree with what everyone has said about Devardi. The company is great, but the glass is shocky. Since there are many inexpensive colors of Moretti glass I would recommend buying small amounts of a few colors to use while you are learning. Transparent colors are stiffer than opaques so try a bit of each.
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  #6  
Old 2014-03-26, 2:36pm
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Love the annealing bubbles pre-heated in crock pot. Same kind Shawnette uses.
Good wishes on your glass adventure!
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  #7  
Old 2014-03-26, 4:10pm
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Fiber blanket is fine for cooling, but if you want your work to last or to sell any of it, you will need to kiln anneal. You could have try local studios for renting kiln time until you have something more permanent.

As for Devardi, I don't use the glass, but I buy frit, tools and other supplies there and everything that I bought has worked fine. Good prices and terrific customer service!

Welcome to you and your dad!
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  #8  
Old 2014-03-26, 4:40pm
queenofsheba52 queenofsheba52 is offline
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Welcome, Adrolak and dad!

There are some grave mistakes in glass -- burning the house down, LOL -- but seriously, you have not made a grave mistake with the Devardi stuff. I have some Devardi colors that I love and use even though the glass is known to be shocky. You will learn how to work with shocky glass. You will learn patience.

If there are any funds for more glass, please consider buying a few Effetre colors. Light or dark ivory, regular black, regular white, transparent topaz or aqua will give you lots of options without breaking the bank. Just a quarter pound of any of these colors will be enough for lots of experiments. I spent a whole summer making beads just using red, white and black.

I used a fiber blanket at first too, I think the annealing bubbles are better. You can find crock pots in garage sales or tag sales too. Before I had saved up enough money to buy a kiln, I used to pay a friend to batch anneal my beads for me.

I am so glad you and your dad are doing this together. I hope you stick around here on LE and discover all the cool tips, tricks, advice, and encouragement that can only come from other glass lovers.

--Helene
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  #9  
Old 2014-03-26, 4:42pm
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I use FosterFire bead release and have used Dip & Go in the past as well.

I usually air dry, then use the flame to "fire" the release onto the mandrel, if you look closely you can usually see that the release gets lighter in color as the flames heat it up. I don't usually get the release or mandrel red hot as that can actually cause the release to start cracking (looks like a mud flat in summer).

After cooling/annealing I put them to soak in plain water in a cup. I usually let them soak overnight, not sure if it takes that long, it's just convenient.

To actually remove, I find that I need to grasp the bead in my hand quite firmly (usually using a glove or towel, just in case the bead breaks in my hand) and grab the mandrel with pliers, then twist and pull, twist and pull until the bead comes off. Sometimes this takes a fair amount of force to accomplish.
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  #10  
Old 2014-03-26, 4:48pm
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I tried Devardi and found it too shocky (also known as "insta-frit, just add fire") for my taste, but others use it and like it, and usually advise pre-heating the rods on something like a George Foreman grill, curling iron warmer (beauty supply store item), etc. I believe Devardi even sells something along these lines.

There are often sales on this site in the Garage Sale section of people selling their "shorts", meaning glass rods that are usually too short to hold in the hand. These can be a gold mine of different colors and brands. It's pretty easy to melt the end of rod onto another rod so you can use it without any special tools, although there are also some very nice rod holder tools for sale by various people/companies.
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  #11  
Old 2014-03-26, 4:49pm
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I actually started with devardi glass. I ordered their start up hot head set and away I went. They have great value on tools and frits. I use their bead liners for my pendants. I found their tutorials to be extremely helpful too. Glass is very stocky but great for someone starting out because you learn how to slowly heat rods. Most of my start up beads cracked because I didn't have a bead annealer. I will say that their annealer really didn't help me. When I make beads.......I make a lot of beads and the annealer only held like 6, so I started using it to preheat the stocky rods. Enjoy your journey....mine has been going for the past 7 years and I wish I would have found this creative outlet 20 years ago. You'll find lots of information in this forum, but definitely get some of the books from Corinna Tettinger and Cindy Jenkins and others than practice practice practice.
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  #12  
Old 2014-03-26, 5:08pm
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I started with Devardi as well, their starter kit with the hothead. I liked it enough to keep ordering from them, just not glass. It was too shocky for my taste. I would warm the rods up on a grill(george forman) or my toaster over(the top got hot enough) and that usually helped with the shockyness. I would also suggest trying Effetre. I tried it and loved it instantly. I will say this, and agree with others, Devardi's customer service is pretty amazing. And the prices for their tools are very reasonable. Didn't care too much for the bead release since it just kept cracking for me. I started using Robin's FosterFire bead release and loved it the first time I tried it.

And you definitely came to the right place. I just started in October and had tons of questions and for the most part I was always given great advice! I would post my "beads" in the newbie S&T thread and everyone gave me tips on what to do to get them to come out better! You'll love it here.
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  #13  
Old 2014-03-26, 5:09pm
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Ditto for what Jo Ann said. They were the first company I bought glass and supplies from. Best prices and even better service. I used their bead annealer until I was able to get a kiln, now I use it to warm up my rods. When I went from a hothead to a dual-fuel torch, I bought their Spartan and hoses/regulators and have been very happy with them - especially for the price. I also think I have watched all of their videos on youtube at least 3 times each! I now use more Effetre, Vetrofond, CIM and DH glass - but still use my Devardi glass at times. The thing that has provided the most ideas / help / encouragement is being part of this forum! Everyone is so supportive and willing to help when you need it.
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Old 2014-03-26, 5:30pm
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To add to what Helene said, you have NOT made any grave mistakes by using Devardi. Burning down the house is a biggie, but there is also keeping the propane tanks inside your home, having poor ventilation and kicking Chuck Norris; all big safety no-no's (check the safety forum for more info, although Chuck may not be mentioned LOL).

If you aren't having problems with shocky glass (glass that explodes when it hits the flame), then I wouldn't worry. As your skills improve, you can expand your addiction, erm, glass variety.

Do know it is strongly not recommended to sell your glasswork unless it has been annealed. While all glass breaks, unannealed glass is much more prone to cracking and breaking, as the stresses from working the glass hasn't been eased.

I use some Devardi glass, along with just about everything else LOL hopefully one day you guys will too!

Alli
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Old 2014-03-26, 7:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrolak View Post
Hey there guys, My father bought some bead release from Devardi... I let the bead release get to about orange got, as well as the stainless steel mandrel, before putting my glass onto it, and beginning my work. I've found it immensely difficult to actually separate my bead from my mandrel after working, and it cooling off. Thanks in advance, guys!
Welcome!
I try to never let the release get orange. I just waff the mandrel in the far "cool" flame to warm the release/mandrel as I'm twirling a gather of glass on the rod. Seems the glass has no problem sticking to the "warm" mandrel and I find afterwards that the bead just slides off. Maybe you are getting the release way too hot from the start?
Be safe and have some fun!
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  #16  
Old 2014-03-27, 5:12am
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I agree with Shawneete, form your own opinion. Customer service is great. There glass can be shocky but not all, I do like their smaller clear rods. I have a lot of their tools, you cant beat the price. I used their bead release, I would not recommend it, I now make my own. As was said above their frits, silver leaf and tools I do use.
Bob
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Old 2014-03-27, 6:58am
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There are a lot of vendors divardi glass is a little tricky to work with but you can learn fairly good heat control and patience. The snap crackle pop of divardi scares a lot of people and it seams to pickup carbon grime a lot more then other glass.

Look around at peoples profiles and look at the various facebook lampworking groups to see if you can find someone local to talk with.
I find 90% of the members hear are willing to share space in the annealer if you ask nicely and toss a few bucks to offset electric.

As for removing reluctant beads look for a pop rivet gun use a rubber washer or piece of leather between the rivet gun and the bead and it should help it pop right off.

Some people also try putting the mandrel/bead in the freezer or dragging the mandrel across a rough surface to help loosen the bead a little.
less than perfect beads can be donated to a few organizations like beads of courage or utilized for decorative purposes. I have a small jar full of uglies that get used for all sorts of things.
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  #18  
Old 2014-03-27, 12:09pm
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Whoa, thanks for all the feedback guys! I really appreciate it! I'm glad to hear that we didn't just waste a bunch of money, and I'm definitely grateful for all the tips! I wouldn't dream of selling any of my work just yet, most of them are pretty crude, and they aren't annealed! All in good time, though!
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Old 2014-03-27, 3:32pm
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A nice thing about Devardi is it's stiffness, for learning manipulation of glass shapes and ect I think it would make a great starter glass for beginners, except the shockiness. Usually I think the most common mistake is working too hot for most people who are new to glass. Using stiffer glass makes it harder to make wonky beads. You really should get a kiln, not just for annealing, but components, shocky glass ect. ...I use mine to preheat Devardi by cutting it into inch long pieces and toss them onto the kiln floor and use a punty to pick up the pieces which can go straight into the flame, no shockiness.
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Old 2014-03-27, 3:59pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losthelm View Post
As for removing reluctant beads look for a pop rivet gun use a rubber washer or piece of leather between the rivet gun and the bead and it should help it pop right off.
.
Great idea losthelm. Just shows how every thread helps, I hadn't thought about a rubber washer orpiece of leather to protect the bead with my rivet tool. I have lost so many beads that chipped because of this.
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  #21  
Old 2014-03-27, 6:09pm
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1. Oh joy another Devardi thread, the lovers and haters will be swinging at each other soon
You can repurpose many things around the house for tools, much of the effetre/vetrofond can be purchased for the same as Devardi glass

2. Bead release (just don't ask what clear to use), everyone has their favorite, what works for one person may not work well for another, heat, humidity and working atmosphere being factors

3. Fiber blanket is fine for small beads, Annealing bubbles (Artco) are a better bet, FORGET the CROCKPOT crap
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Old 2014-03-27, 8:03pm
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Yes as others have said many people on this forum have a love or hate relationship with Devardi, I have never used it. I didn't get a kiln for several years, I had my beads batch annealed by a friend. I would be happy to anneal your beads for you if you feel like mailing them to Michigan. Howaco glass sells glass by the rod if you want to try different colors and brands. I like fosterfire bead realease, again everyone has a favorite. Here is my advice, read the safety information in the safety room, that was a big eye opener for me. Try to resist the urge to by every tutorial that comes out, practice using the free tutorials then buy the tutorials that address what you are most interested in learing. Don't practice on the most expensive glass! If you can take a class.

Enjoy the addiction.
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Old 2014-03-28, 6:44am
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Welcome!

Have you tried to make a clear bead to see what is happening to your release? You may be overheating it and that will cause it to crack, as others have said. It's possible your glass is sticking to the mandrel. It's important to remember to treat your bead release gently because even the best won't stand up to heavy abuse, especially if you cook it from the get go.

Over time on a very intense bead, it may flake off above and below the bead. This is okay as long as your primary bead core does not shift. In fact your best bet is to lay down a thin barrel of glass, and take care of the ends right then. Ideally from that point forward, your ends and your bead release underneath the glass should never be molten or heated to bright orange. Great beads are often done in layers, even if it's just two.

Lastly, how are you dipping your mandrels? Pulling them out very slow actually leaves more release than pulling them out fast. If it's too thick of a coat, again it doesn't matter how good the release is, you'll have cracking issues.

Like I said, make a clear bead, just like you always do. See what's going on underneath. If you see mandrel, or glints of grey, or white flecks (the release) mixed in your glass.... There ya go.
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Old 2014-03-28, 8:16am
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Here's my 2 cents. Devardi is great. Tools and glass are reasonably priced. I have found that tools, bead rollers, marvers, etc. are great.

Yes, the glass is shocky, but it is very usable. Just takes a few seconds longer to preheat the rod a little. Watch their videos and see how she waifts the rod in and out of the flame before using it.

I've bought a bunch of "stuff" from them. Their service is fantastic.
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Old 2014-03-28, 8:43am
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Welcome to LE! I've ordered from Devardi a few times and have had good experiences with expedient shipping and customer service. I bought a bunch of glass and really liked it- like others have said it's stiffer and good for sculpture. Some of the colors are really pretty too.

I also have some of their bead release and it was too thick. I don't know if that's what you are experiencing, but you can thin it down by adding a very small amount of distilled water, mix, check consistency, and repeat if still too thick.

Maybe others can chime in, but aren't those annealing bubbles a type of gardening silica that you can buy at the local hardware store or garden center?
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Old 2014-03-28, 1:34pm
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Welcome to the addiction.

Make up your own mind about the Devardi glass. Some like it, some don't. One thing is for sure, you won't ever be afraid of any other glass someone says can be shocky if you can work w/Devardi. And there's a lot of cool glass from other companies that can be very shocky too.

Also, if you don't mind your address being available, go and fill in the RAOGK/Random Acts of Glass Kindness info. Who knows, somebody might send you bits of other types of glass so you can give it a try too.

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Old 2014-03-28, 3:39pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bshelle View Post
Welcome to LE! I've ordered from Devardi a few times and have had good experiences with expedient shipping and customer service. I bought a bunch of glass and really liked it- like others have said it's stiffer and good for sculpture. Some of the colors are really pretty too.

I also have some of their bead release and it was too thick. I don't know if that's what you are experiencing, but you can thin it down by adding a very small amount of distilled water, mix, check consistency, and repeat if still too thick.

Maybe others can chime in, but aren't those annealing bubbles a type of gardening silica that you can buy at the local hardware store or garden center?
No, you're thinking of vermiculite or perlite. Annealing bubbles are different (wayyyy better). Definitely worth ordering, even if you have a kiln (I have 2).
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  #28  
Old 2014-03-28, 6:54pm
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love the "annealing" bubbles, batch anneal even thou I have a kiln as I don't make enough at one sitting to warrant running kiln. Have been playing a bit with Devardi which was gifted to me.Have found it too shocky to use with out the warmer which I did buy. First one sent was defective, great customer service, they immediately sent a replacement and didn't even make me go thou hassle of sending the defective one back. Some really pretty colors, many not produced elsewhere. Am finding it difficult to work with though.
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Old 2014-03-29, 8:19am
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bshelle bshelle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnette View Post
No, you're thinking of vermiculite or perlite. Annealing bubbles are different (wayyyy better). Definitely worth ordering, even if you have a kiln (I have 2).
Thank you, yes, I was thinking of perlite.
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  #30  
Old 2014-03-30, 8:11am
tonips tonips is offline
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Agree with all of the above. Glass is an expensive hobby, and starting with the very workable tools and equipment from Devardi is a great start, as their prices are wonderful.

As for glass, there are wonderful sales weekly, and if you watch, you can find great deals in order to try out new colors. Frantz is now offering a "try before you buy" program, which is great if you're not sure you'll like a particular color but want to try it.

My only other advice is to work with the less expensive glass until you feel confident in your basic skills before investing in the more exotic and exciting silver colors and designer glass. Lots of folks have already used the word addiction, and it is indeed that. Ask me how I know! Welcome, and I hope you get as much joy out of working with glass as I have.
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