Meet the Artist
Outa Torch Glasswerks
is it called lampworking?
What type of glass do you use?
What is annealing?
How does the hole get in the bead?
How do you make marbles round?
Can I play marbles with the marbles?
I played with my marbles and now it has a chip or crack in it, can it be fixed?
Do you sign your pieces?
Do you take custom orders?
Why is it called lampworking?Lampworking is also know as flameworking which is a more accurate term. Back in the 1700s glass workers would do their glass work at oil lamps (thus the name lampworking.) These lamps had a foot operated pump to supply more air to make the flame hotter. The torches (designed to be hand held) or burners (designed to be mounted to a table) use a fuel gas, such as propane or natural gas, and oxygen to create a much hotter flame. There are also single gas torches that work with MAPP gas that don't require oxygen. The term glassblowing is also used by glass workers making scientific apparatus which is also done at a torch.
What type of glass do you use?I use Effetre (Moretti), Lauscha, and Vetrofond glass. Effetre and Vetrofond are from Italy and Lauscha is from Germany. All three glasses are compatible with each other and are soft glasses. For glass to work together they have to be compatible, which means they expand and contract at the same rate when heated and cooled. (If the glasses are not compatible they will literally rip each other apart when cooling.) There are primarily two types of glass; soft and hard. Soft glass is also known as soda/lime glass and has a lower working temperature and longer working time. Hard glass is also known as borosilicate glass and has a higher working temperature and short working time.
How does the hole get in the bead?When a bead is made, it is made on a stainless steel rod called a mandrel. The mandrel has been coated with bead release which keeps the molten glass from sticking to it. The hole in the bead is where the mandrel was.
How do you make marbles round?One you get the colors and the design in the glass you want, you put it between your palms and roll it really fast... No, just kidding (dont try this at home, I'm not going to be responsible for burnt palms.) To make round marbles you use a marble mold. This is a piece of graphite or hard wood (cherry) that has a half sphere cut into it (there are other variations of molds; some have a hole all the way through them, others have a cone shape like the molds by Drew Fritts). When you first look at them you say oh, you make one half of the marble, then the other, but that doesnt work. You actually use just the rim on the next size smaller hole, thats what took me six months to figure out.
Can I play marbles with the marbles?Yes you can, but I dont recommend it.
I played with my marbles and now it has a chip or crack in it, can it be fixed?This can also happen if the marble hits something hard in just the right way. The answer is maybe. I have repaired a number of marbles with no problems. Other times, if the crack is large and goes into the marble, a bubble may form during the repairing process where the crack ends inside the marble. This is due to the outside becoming liquid before the center. If there is a chip, that glass is gone and more than likely the pattern cannot be replicated, so there will be a scar there (the repaired marble will be round.) And there have been times when the marble has exploded all over my workbench; in this case I will give you the pieces back, as there is no way to put the marble back together. I offer no guarantee on repairing marbles.
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© Copyright 2004 James Henke. All rights reserved.