Glass Line
February / March, 1999 - Vol. 12 No. 5


Glass Bytes
by Candice King


Greetings my fellow glassaholics. Since my last column, we have settled into our new digs in the mountains of North Carolina. I am now only a short half-hour away from my beloved Penland School. In the last issue of Glassline, there was an article about treating burns. I have used this technique for years on finger burns, and it has worked for me. I learned it from an old timer in the neon trade. I had burned a fingertip and was whining about having to work all day with a very sensitive finger. Before I knew what he was doing, he grabbed my hand and stuck it very close to the flame and held it there while I wriggled in amazement. To be honest I thought he had lost his mind. But low and behold, it worked. No blister, no pain, no kidding. In the neon trade, we often burn the soft inner part of our forearms. I do not use this technique r those burns, or any burn that is severe. I only use it for fingertips. Now for the disclaimer… I am not a medical doctor, and I am not offering medical advice. I am only relaying my personal experience, and can not suggest you try this at home. It is always best to seek professional assistance.


Stretching Your Northstar Colors -
Try striping the glass over a clear rod to encase it and melt it in well. This will make your color go much further. Do it an inch and a half or so at a time and then pull the length out into about a 6mm rod again. As you get some practice in you can do about 4 inches at a time. I generally stripe over an 8 or 10mm clear rod. When you melt the striped color in, start from the end of the rod and gradually work back toward your hand (after attaching a second handle) this will help to squeeze out any air bubbles you may have trapped in the striping process. Air bubbles aren’t pretty and they can make your rod POP later, always at the worst possible moment. Candice King


Better Vision -
My husband and I have found a really neat trick for the slightly vision impaired lampworkers among us. Last summer on TV I saw ads for turning your sunglasses into reading glasses with the addition of some little self stick lenses. We bought a pair and adhered them to my husband’s didymium lenses. They come in various reading glasses and are molecular in adhesion...water mounted if I've termed that wrong. They were a lot cheaper than new prescription didymiums and work out quite well he says. Too bad for me...I still have to get mine specially made. Sue Stewart


Fusing Metals -
I have used nichrome and it has worked quite nicely. Maintained its shape and did not oxidize at all. I even examined it under a stressometer, no signs of stress. The nichrome wire that I have is the kind that is used to wire persons jaw shut, as from an accident or surgery. (I work for a dentist, what a great source for toys!) I think that ligature wire, used to secure arch wires to brackets when one has braces, is nichrome. If you have a friendly orthodontist see if he / she will let you have some. Aline

Try and get hold of some brass shim stock - gauge 3 thou. Can be cut with scissors or a sharp knife, and fused between two layers of glass. Works well in Bullseye - makes a sort of 'gold nugget' bumpy finish. Metal must be well cleaned before placing between glass layers. Fuse to the usual Bullseye temp, with reasonably slow annealing down fire. Have not tried it with other types of glass. Thin brass wire also can be tried. I think the secret always is that the metal MUST be very thin, otherwise the glass might crack, or form a lovely big air pocket over the metal piece. Must always have small areas of metal to allow the glass to fuse without trapping the air, and does not create too much stress. Stanley and Heather Graham


Making Pen Nibs -
This is in response to a question about using the pre made nib stock available from suppliers. The secret is to not over heat the glass and pull it kind of cold. This will keep it from loosing the grooves. But there is also a way of making your own nib glass. Try using a sharp kitchen knife and impressing grooves into the rod. This is done after it is sealed to the pen body. Then you pull it out slightly and form a point. When the pen is finished, sand the nib a bit with regular sandpaper. This is a technique I learned from Sally Prasch, and it works well. Candice King


Dremel Tools and Glass -
So far I have used my Dremel for cleaning bead release out of bead holes and the insides of core vessels, deburring the edges of bead holes, some light faceting work on beads and a couple of marbles (time-consuming, but possible), and the usual cleaning/finishing aspects of glasswork. I can also use a beadmaking mandrel in the Dremel and spin it at varying slow-ish speeds with the glass very hot and molten to get some very wild, cool effects with my beads. I have used the engraving bit for signing some of my stuff, and some of the larger engraving-type bits and wire brushes for etching deep lines or designs or producing a matte finish. There are (of coarse) certain bits that should be used for glass, like the tungsten carbide bits. I also have a flex-shaft attachment which is very useful in giving me a smaller piece to hang on to (I have carpal tunnel syndrome, and I can't hold a large or heavy tool for very long), while being able to hold all the same bits and allowing me so see my smaller work better. And that's just a start... I'm sure there'll be more to come! Carol Wiley Burch

Note: Be very careful anytime that you are creating glass dust. It is very dangerous to breathe. Wear the proper respirator, and make every effort not to contaminate your shop area with glass dust. It is best to use some sort of extraction device to remove the dust as it is created, or to work wet when possible. When all else fails, do it outside of your studio, but still protect your lungs.


Outdoor Demo Dilemma -
The following are responses to a flameworker who has to do an outdoor demo by the sea. She asked for suggestions on how to set up her workstation to minimize the effects of wind.

I do tons of demos at shows and the only thing that I find helps is a REALLY huge crowd around me (no kidding!) or working in a tent. And the tent does not always work! Jeff Eckes

I use a plex shield. I make it high enough on 3 sides, so those watching can’t get any flying glass in their eyes. This is a tough problem, and my best suggestion is to plex 3 sides of your workstation. I pull all my

points ahead of time to avoid your dilemma (not having enough clearance to handle long sections of glass). I have a folding table that I constructed for just this purpose, but with the plex sides you have a high wind problem. Since you have more surface area, the wind can catch it and BONK, the whole table topples. I bought some fence stakes made of steel and drive them in at all 4 sides to avoid this happening.

For anchoring the plex to the table top, I had 2 boards of 2" x 2" cut with groves in them to hold the plex <slots> I drilled through all layers and placed screws through. I also bought some small "L" brackets and predrilled the plex and table to accept those also. Works pretty well. For those oxy torch users, I have also seen an extra lil plex shield attached to the torch to stop some of the draft from behind, but found that to be a pain if you intend to actually blow things, and not just sculpt. Candice King

    Make it Molten !!!    Candice King

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