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

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  #1  
Old 2014-11-14, 4:25pm
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Default HH and newbie question

Hi. I'm a newbie newbie....less than 50 beads.

I want and plan to take a newbie class but it probably won't fit into the schedule until next month. (The nearest class is over 3 hours away...otherwise, I would do this sooner.)

In the meanwhile, I've been playing with HH torch in the garage. (Yes, I have an active ventilation system and proper glasses ---probably the only thing I've done right.)

A few questions ---
1. My hot head will be working fine and then suddenly just cut out. I have no idea why it is doing this. Now, the tank was on the low side (In fact the last time it cut out it was empty ---so I know why that happened! ) The garage is also cold. Any suggestions? It's frustrating when I'm working on a bead and the gas suddenly shuts off.

2. My beads are terrible. I know this happens to everyone who is new and you are probably laughing. But is it worth continuing to practice before I have a proper lesson? I really want to keep practicing....I just don't want to pick up bad habits.

Last edited by asiceloff; 2014-11-14 at 4:38pm. Reason: Took out the last question b/c I found an answer myself! :)
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  #2  
Old 2014-11-14, 4:30pm
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Have you read any books? See if your local library has Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins, or Passing the Flame by Corrina Tettinger for example.

Every time you practice you are learning something about how glass melts, flows, etc. so I would say keep playing. Also watch videos on youtube, read books, read the tutorial sections here, do searches on specific things (hint: If your search word doesn't have at least 4 letters you need to put an * to make enough or it won't search it)
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Old 2014-11-14, 4:33pm
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Eileen
I actually have been reading books, watching videos and searching! I must be the opposite of a natural at this!! LOL. I think I need about 30 minutes of handholding, and then I'll be fine. (: (I hope.)
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Old 2014-11-14, 4:39pm
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Eileen
I think I figured out what I was doing wrong with the holes....it helps to REREAD the book after you do some torching. Head smack.
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Old 2014-11-14, 4:50pm
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It is a lot to take in all at once, and the biggest thing is the practice even after you know the theory. Give yourself the same grace period you would give a good friend if she were learning
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Old 2014-11-14, 4:51pm
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Oh, and the propane getting cold is probably your problem with the dying flame. I'm pretty sure I remember that coming up before.
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  #7  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:00pm
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Thanks for the encouragement! You are right, I'd be so much nicer to a friend learning .... ah, some day, I'll laugh at my ugly newbie beads.
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  #8  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:07pm
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Asciloff - I'm also super new. I've been doing this for just a couple of months, and I seriously know EXACTLY what you mean! I usually pick things up pretty quick, and I don't know how many times I've questioned myself.. (and totally thought 'I have negative ability' and 'what was I thinking? I can't do this')
I've finally decided my biggest problem is that I'm comparing my crappy beads to the beautiful ones I see here. AND I expect myself to be able to do advanced things.. I have finally given up on making stuff I love (like marbles and aquarium beads) and I'm focusing on basics. One color, round. Is it boring? yes. BUT I'm getting better and can do them more consistently. So I've moved on to encasing those boring beads. And I've started making simple 2 color twisties. I'm ok at those and if I use them as my cane those one color beads have 2 colors
And each time I get crazy and think I should try a marble again, it's a little less hideous and I feel less like giving up on glass..
So in short, I think you should keep practicing. Just use inexpensive glass and look for those little improvements in your basics.
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  #9  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:27pm
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2dogs---YES! I try not to look at my gorgeous collection of lampwork pictures in Pinterest! On the other hand, it does give me hope since they all must have been newbies at one point!

My eventual goal is to make those awesome little sculptural beads --goddesses, fish, frogs, dragons.....but I realize that I won't be doing those anytime soon.

Nice shaped round beads....that's my new mantra!!

I did do one good thing...I only bought the very basic supplies and cheaper ($2 to $3 a quarter pound) glass. So, at least I'm not worrying about money when I make yucky beads!!
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  #10  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:31pm
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2dogs- Marbles and aquarium beads are good goals but yeah, a tough thing to start with LOL

Asiceloff- We've ALL been there, done that, promise! Keep playing and look at the process and learning how to shape and how glass melts. My advice is work on the shapes. Whatever else you do to the bead, if the shape is good then you can use the bead. If the shape is not so good, the bead is not useful, even if the design and colors turned out well.

Check for leaks in the torch as well, those are notorious for o-ring failures (where the head screws into the stem).

Apart from safety issues and things that don't work, like slanted mandrels or an over-reducing flame, there are not a lot of bad habits to pick up. Seriously! Everyone has their own working style, and it is whatever works for you.
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  #11  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:36pm
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Do not despair! We've all been there (well, most of us; there's a couple people I swear were born with a mandrel in their hand). I've been at this for a while and I still bork up badly from time to time. It just gets less frequent LOL

This is where I started:

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This is one of my recent beads, which I am pretty chuffed with:
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But so is this *gag*:
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So don't be so hard on yourself

And are you using canisters or a propane tank?

Alli
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Old 2014-11-14, 5:41pm
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WOW..those are fish in there! And at least I know that's a heart! Grin. I'm using Map canisters but I told my husband that I'm going to want him to hook me up a bulk propane system once I have some lessons. (Propane Outside!) He's my fix it guy, and he made me a sweet vent system. Amazingly, he told me the other day that he wants me to make him some beads once I get good at this ...I've made lots of metal stuff over the years and he's never asked for anything!
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  #13  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:43pm
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Kjohn...i'll check the o-ring tomorrow when I change out canisters...
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  #14  
Old 2014-11-14, 5:52pm
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Just a thought, I switched from map gas to propane for now. I'm in a location that small canisters are my only option, and I was tired of spending the $! plus I figure if I can get fairly clear beads with propane then when I go to good glass and map I'll be ahead of the game
Allicat - thank you for sharing! It's good to have hope! I love that aquarium
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  #15  
Old 2014-11-14, 7:08pm
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I can't even show you my first beads as they all suicided. Cracked all to pieces. I was using a fiber blanket and was putting them away too cold or not evenly warmed throughout. Whatever my issues were, I've improved a lot since then. Oh, I'm still nowhere near special but I really enjoy working with glass so I'm okay with that. There is always more PPP (practice, practice, practice) in my world.

Welcome aboard.

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Old 2014-11-14, 7:17pm
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My first two beads ever, and that was with an instructor helping me! Lopsided much?
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Old 2014-11-14, 7:18pm
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I want to add one more thing. Taking a class makes ALL the difference. This is a cut/paste of pic's I posted a few years ago. See what a difference taking a Trey Cornette class made in my working longer beads:

This is the "best" I could do before I took a wonderful Trey Cornette class at Playing with Fire in Rockland, Maine a few years ago.



After Trey was a veryyyy different story!



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  #18  
Old 2014-11-14, 7:19pm
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Hey! Also newbie (3 months). I tried 1# propane for the same reason and was REALLY disappointed. Everything was sooty and it took a lot longer to melt. FWIW. But $10 a can is a bit of a drag.

I was fortunate enough to have someone teach me. The first couple hours to learn how to do it safely and the basics of making a donut were invaluable. The other classes gave me a foot up on other basic techniques but could probably be learned with a book and trial and error.

A couple things I messed up were working too close to the bright blue/white candle (turquoise -> terra cota) and not heating the rod long enough/pulling to hard (bead breaks free).

Aside from that, have fun, try different things, and breath. I noticed I tend to hold my breath while making the base bead. Don't judge

Good luck!
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Old 2014-11-14, 7:33pm
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Wow, that's some change Sue! Although I'd scoff up the bead on the right in the 1st pic in a second *grin* very cool.

Now now Eileen - those beads have DIMPLES! I'd have killed for dimples for the first couple of months LOL

And I'm glad you guys like the aquarium bead Took me a while to get to that point, and I still have things I need to work on to make em even better.

I def understand the $$ issue with the canisters; I also use a HH with MapPro canisters cause I cannot use tanked propane here. It's pricy, but I tried the propane canisters and they were just too dirty for me; any color lighter than dark blue got grey and mucky (see my yellow bead above). Decided I'd rather have pretty colored crappy beads than muddy colored crappy ones LOL

Heh, and I don't hold my breathe laying the base Wayne, but I do grit my teeth!

Alli
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Old 2014-11-14, 7:43pm
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Alli, thanks, but I had no idea about dimples at that point. But with the instructor standing behind you it's easier to get lucky
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  #21  
Old 2014-11-14, 8:32pm
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I am on a hothead.. I used the canisters for about a case worth and because of the freezing canisters, running out of fuel and costs. I switch to a propane tank (barbque type). I never looked back.. the hothead is a great learning torch and can do amazing things once you get used to the feel of the glass and the sweet spot.. Try to make sure your torch is set up properly flame wise.. It will come..
Yes, check that there are no leaks.. leaks = very bad!
I have been at it for a little over 2 years now..
I am one of the bad girls.. I went for the hard stuff right away.. lol.. Do practice, practice and you will be rewarded.. I promise..
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Old 2014-11-14, 8:41pm
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The 1# tanks a prone to freezing and the associated pressure drop your experiencing.
The 5# or 10# tanks may be easier for you if the 20# tanks are difficult to transport.

The 5&10# tanks are often hard to find but your loca axe hardware or a welding/plumbing supply might order them in for you.
These tanks can be refilled at many local shops usually less then $10.

Your fuel costs will also drop quickly when you switch to refillable tanks.
Setup cost is a bit more up front but you cover your costs about halfway through the first refill.
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Old 2014-11-15, 1:59am
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Yes!
Go bulk propane or propylene, bulk will
Make all the difference in the world. I was on a HH for 10 years I never would have made it through w/o bulk gas (I would torch for hours at a time, 6-8 usually)!! Talk to a local AirGas or ABCO, or try any local welding supply company, they can point you in the right direction for a gas supplier.
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Old 2014-11-15, 10:42am
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Those are some great early beads folks! I wish mine had dimples! And I think a class will be invaluable....I'm scheduling one right now.
So, my torch is freezing up? ): Is there anyway to prevent that? And I'm assuming that doesn't happen with bulk tanks?
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Old 2014-11-15, 4:26pm
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I have heard of people somehow rigging up a bucket of warm water with the torch sitting in it, but I have no idea how to safely do it.
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Old 2014-11-19, 7:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asiceloff View Post
Those are some great early beads folks! I wish mine had dimples! And I think a class will be invaluable....I'm scheduling one right now.
So, my torch is freezing up? ): Is there anyway to prevent that? And I'm assuming that doesn't happen with bulk tanks?

The only way I got a 7lb tank of proplyene to freeze up on me was when I pulled an all nighter! I think my torch was on for like 14 hours, nearly conststantly. (I could not fathom doing that now!!!) and it had a good coat of ice on it (in summer) but never quit! I think they was for the hollows exchange....
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Last edited by jaci; 2015-04-06 at 9:15am.
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Old 2014-11-19, 8:36pm
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Yup...bulk tank is on the list....I'm going to wait until I have my lesson (mid-Dec) and then make some equipment decisions after that.
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Old 2014-11-25, 10:52am
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When I used Mapp gas, my Dh talked to the hardware store where I purchased it and arranged to buy it by the case (4 to a box) for about a $1 a canister less then buying it one at a time. He made me a 'Quick change' holder so when one can would fizzle I could pop in a fresh one lickity split and sometimes save the bead. Basically it was a piece of PVC tubing with an ID a little bit larger then the canister and an end cap that he mounted with the L bracket and clamp just like you set up the can. He shimmed the inside with a strip of weatherization foam so I had a snug fit and the canister wouldn't wobble. That way I didn't have to mess with the clamp every time I had to change my fuel, I could just slide one out, and pop a fresh one in. (I hope this description makes sense) Ideally I'd have had 2 hot heads so when I had to change, I wouldn't have had to switch the torch over.
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Old 2014-11-25, 12:23pm
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Chocake...I like the idea of buying mult cans at a discount.....I'm not sure my local hardware store would go for it though! I did change my canister and I had MUCH better luck torching and no cutting out of the flame. I think at this point I'm either going to try a bulk MAPP tank or start saving for a propane/oxy torch....but in the meanwhile your idea is pretty clever.
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Old 2015-03-23, 1:07pm
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Asiceloff, now you are 4 month "older newbie" and made (I am sure) a good progress, but learning something new is ALWAYS about trying, wasting time, materials, whatever. But it is not really waste. It is investment in the end.

Taking a class is a good thing. But in the very beginning it is not that necessary - the very basics can be trained on your own. Learning curve develops pretty fast in the very beginning but polishing techs is what takes time and effort and deserves professional advice, support and coaching.

In addition almost all starters (I think so because I have the same approach) lack learning plan and want to try everything right from the first #1 map pro canister "LOL". This is because it it really exciting and "you want it all, you want it now"

Long story short - I am passing completely the same stage - want it all - even dots, clear encasing, stripes, triangles, implosions (you will laugh but I've tried it as well)..... In one day or two Got scum, uneven dots, not perfect shape, whatever I was supposed to get. Now I'm changing strategy to the one supposed by 2DogsPhoto - step by step But is was really impossible to resist, to fail and to get hooked.
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