Tools of the Trade

Every trade has a specific set of tools they use. Glass Blowing is no different. (Although some of our tools get pretty creative) We are going to discuss tool of the trade and terms that we use daily.

In our last post we discussed what glass is made from, and temperatures to get the consistency we need to work it. When visiting us these are terms that you will hear quite often, and we explain them while you're here also.

Terms: (that are used daily) Follow along with the pictures-

Frit= Crushed colored glass (is made mainly in Germany, purchased from a reseller in the States) Frit comes in many different sizes from a powder to a little larger than a pebble size.

Finishing Table= This table is where we crack off the finished piece. We put a flame to the bottom of the piece to melt off any sharp edges from where it was cracked off the pipe. We would stamp Ron's insignia in the piece if possible (the backwards RH). Not all pieces are able to be stamped (those ones will be signed and dated with a dremel tool after the annealing process) If you notice in the picture all of the tools are neatly arranged and the finisher knows where each tool is at, this way he is not reaching around or over hot glass or pipes.

Pipes= In the next picture are all of our pipes, these include different size blow pipes, and different size puntys. Blow Pipes= Hollow Pipes that we gather molten glass from the furnace with, and are able to blow a puff of air through to form a bubble inside the glass. Glassblowing blowpipes are long enough to keep the gather of molten glass at a safe distance from the glassblower, and rigid enough to support the weight of the glass when the pipe is held horizontally.

Puntys= Pipes that are solid not blow pipes (used for sculpture pieces, paperweights, and to attach to a blown piece that we would have a top to finish like a vase)

Marver= Our marver table is a part steel and part graphite surface. Each surface has it's own unique uses. A marver in general is used for shaping the glass, helping to balance the glass, and taking some of the heat out of the glass. The material the marver is made from is so that the glass doesn't stick to it.

Dummy= (not the person sitting next to you) This is a stand that you step on to and insert the hot glass that is on the end of the pipe into a mould that is attached to the stand. It has a foot lever to open and close the mould. There is also a water sprayer that is turned on between blowing pieces which allows for the mold to cool between uses.

Annealing= A heat crontrol process in which the newly created piece of glass is slowly cooled inside a Kiln where temeratures are maintained at 850° F throughout the day then ramped up to 925° at the end of the day for an hour long soak. Finally it starts to cool gradually all night long. Annealing alieviates theremal stresses in the glass and keep it from breaking.

Some of our creative tools include, a butter knife (used for raking the glass and making leaf patterns), a pic (used for creating dimples in the glass and also raking), tweezers (for pinching and manipulating the glass), we also use a tool that is made of barber clippers...

This has been a small look into the world of Glass Blowing Tools, and Terms.

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