Hot Glass Bits 2002 Notes

(Hot Glass Bits #44)

Rev. 2009-08-27

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2202-12-31 2002-10-06 2002-09-29 2002-09-19
2002-09-14 2002-07-23 2002-06-28 2002-06-23
2002-06-11 2002-05-19 2002-05-02 2002-04-25
2002-04-11 2002-03-31 2002-03-21 2002-03-13
2002-02-27 2002-02-24 2002-01-30

Unlike most previous issues of HGB, this one is in reverse date order (for online reading of the newest stuff at the top.)

2202-12-31 23:50 - On this last eve of the year, with occasional fireworks and gunshots ringing outside - I find a long gap from the last entry with almost nothing done.  I took vacation with the in-laws, then batch(elor)ed it for a week while my wife got her guide dog back, then came down with the chest popping crud which has lingered on with a slow recovery in the wet chilly weather.
I have just gotten an e-mail from this guy - OOOMINGMAK Foundry & Glass Studio saying he will do bronze casting for glass artists, but I have had to request more info.  I am curious about the size of his pieces and have asked.  All the best for the new year, 2003 -- remember how strange it was to write 2000 just a couple of years back?

2002-11-04 I finally got the controller chip working. Notes in controller.  Got a nice note from Josh Simpson on blowing into metal.  Sent an e-mail to Olympic Color Bar to get in on a Photosensitive Glass symposium June 11 in the G.A.S.f

2002-10-27  I am embarrassed to report that when I began a long delayed step-by-step analysis of problems with the controller chip board, I found that when double checking the CMOS chip, I was using a 74HCT14 chip, having chosen the CMOS for voltage flexibility, I had voided that with the HC because that version is limited to TTL voltages. Duh. Ordered some 74C14 since Radio Shack doesn't have any.

2002-10-23  SOFA is having the Corning Museum Roadshow in for glassblowing demonstrations tomorrow and the weekend, as shown at this link. SOFA - Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art Exposition Chicago and New York

I blew some neat stuff today, the bad news being I was able to do it because I came home from work early after a temperamental outburst at my chatting in the aisle boss.  The reason, I have concluded is my failure to blow glass on several recent occasions when I could have, but had other things that "needed" doing. 

When I got out in the good weather, riding the bus home, I knew I was going to blow glass no matter what.  As it happened, everything worked, although I was prepared to melt in the glory hole if the furnace sludged out.  A couple of weeks ago, I tore down the furnace burner and cleaned out the orifice, found a piece of plastic sealing tape.  Today the thing worked great.

Cast brass stem and surround for glass gobletThe real success is the first piece I worked on, although the first try at blowing did not work.  I cast goblet bases in brass meltmetl.htm and fixed them on my special punty.  The second casting was fantastic, the first less so.  I started with the narrower second one and was able to blow into it, break off, work the edge and put it in the annealer. (The first attempt I didn't the glass hot enough and it was solid before it formed to the inside of the brass.  I let it chill and broke out the glass.)

I was lucky in choosing the narrow goblet form, because I had problems with the wider form and never got the glass to stay in three attempts.  I don't have the results, obviously, but the attached image shows the casting rigged to put on the punty.

I also did a partitioned bottle and a nice (I think) marble.  Also burned hand painfully - only 1st degree - hitting end of yellow hot glass when pushing with jacks to make partition the first time.

I will be 60 on Nov. 13th.  I now have decided for sure what I am going to do next after Elliott's - glass and make some money from it.  Now it is a question of timing and getting the equipment in place. 


Cast goblet showing mount to punty2002-10-10 Today I finished the casting I started before.  The aluminum was a total failure, draining out the bottom.  In hindsight, I should have imbedded the invested shell in casting sand, but I had thrown the failure in the bucket of water before I thought of it as I was making a sand bed for the brass.  The brass casting came out absolutely beautiful.  It isn't dark like the first one, but is a brilliant bright brass and very nicely formed.  I am not sure whether the heating and reheating of the mold helped.




The 1st Annual Chicago Hot Glass Glassblowers Party

Sunday, October 27th, 2002

from 2 pm until ?

This is the last day of SOFA and we are inviting glassblowers who are in town for the exposition and local glassblowers to join us for a day of glassblowing and socializing.  We will have up to 3 Glory Holes fired up and the only agenda is to have fun. 

The day is free, and you are welcome to bring friends, as well as beverages and munchies.

Reservations are not necessary but feel free to let us know you will be joining us.


If you dont know about us yet, CHG is a new public access glass studio.  We just opened last March.  Our website is

We are located at 1250 N. Central Park Avenue-

From downtown Chicago, take Grand Ave. or Division St. west; then turn right at Central Park Ave. CHG is one block north. (Note if on grand turn right after passing under viaduct.)

From I290 exit at Western Ave. north; to Grand Ave. turn left (west); then turn right at Central Park Ave. CHG is one block north.

From the northwest on I90/94 exit at Addison turn right; then turn left immediately after you pass under the viaduct; stay to the right of the access ramp this is Central Park Ave take this south, when it ends at the T intersection turn right then left immediately after you pass under the viaduct, CHG is on the corner.

Were looking forward to seeing you here,

your hosts,

Kevin Ward, Daniel Staples, Steve Webber, Jamie Stevens, Brad Braun, Liz Fink, & Rebeccah Byer

2002-10-07 We are pleased to announce that UrbanGlass is offering three Visiting Artist Fellowships to international glass artists. The Fellowships run for 8 weeks each during the period from June 2003 to March 2004. The application deadline is December 31, 2002. A description of the program and an application form are attached. Please post the information on your site, or post a heading and link to
Thanks, Brooke
Brooke Benaroya, Assistant Development Officer, UrbanGlass, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217, 718.625.3685 x 239, fax: 718.625.3889
Two emerging artists, one established artist, juried from slides. 

2002-10-06 The second session of the foundry work went really badly, while the results of the first were mixed: the goblet came out good, but the hammer head is bubbly on one end and the door handle is hollow - faster pour, and more flow through needed.  During the first session, the aluminum for the optic started flowing out the bottom of the mold, so I stopped and put it back in the annealer. I didn't notice it but the crucible was cracking and aluminum was in the bottom of the Firehole.  When I put in the brass for the second goblet, I may have dropped it, but the crucible cracked through and all the brass left by the bottom.  I am making a new pot.

2002-09-29 Did some brass foundry work this week and weekend, making a brass hammer head, base for a door knob and goblet cup and stem to blow into.  Really heated the invested molds in the annealer and it looks like they came out good.  Certainly no bubbling and a nice pour through.

2002-09-19 There is a really good discussion on the CraftWeb forum (below) about blowers and air pressure.  I don't recall some of the information coming up in any of the books I have read or previous discussions - specifically the higher pressure needed to have control devices in the line.

2002-09-14 Currently the best place for hot glass discussion is the CraftWEB Hot Glass Forum which stays reasonably polite and contains a high content level.  The news group (subscribe on your browser) is of moderate size and predominately beginner to intermediate, but well behaved and a good exposure to what is being tried with glass.  Yahoo's hot glass group is well run by an individual with enthusiasm for glass.

2002-07-23 Had a nice visit with Curt Zeiger who came in from Tennessee to visit family and brought me some opaque color I had wanted to try. He lives in eastern TN and travels over the mountains to take classes and rent time in Penland and Asheville when he is not being a neurologist and aren't I envious.
I have added brief reviews about two basic books in other glass fields to my biblio page - engraving and beadmaking. The former gives some basic information about cold working glass I found useful and will quote onto my cold work page.
I am finishing coating a plaster mold core for an optic with latex to make a investment core to wax cover to make a lost wax optic mold to do in aluminum. The plaster for the core was made really sloppy, like half again the water suggested, so when it wet, it was really soft, and could be shaved off and carved easily. Hardened up well, but probably pretty weak.
An intriguing e-mail from The Glass Furnace which is in Istanbul and is holding classes. One starting the 27th has Hitoshi Hongo in from Japan.

2002-06-28 Dear Gulf Coast Glass Alliance Members:
1.  Mark Leva-Ellen Abbott asked me to pass this on to you:  We got an email from Nicole about starting weekend glass blowing classes in Sept  for beginners. She has made arrangements to use Wild Boar Studio. You can contact her at  Nicole Kapp email: or call 281-702-4899 or leave msg there. Pass this information on to your friends. Have a great summer.
2. I am leaving for the opening of the Museum of Glass in Seattle Tacoma for July 4th and will be planning our fall schedule of events.  If you have any special requests, please email me at  I look forward to emailing you on my return!
Best regards,
Ardis Bartle, Sales Representative, PGAS Systems, (281) 340-3600 x222, Fax:  281 340 3609

2002-06-23 I had a pretty good long session using the furnace for cullet and the glory hole boat for brown bottle glass. Among other things, did some torn bowls and half-post vases, plus a bird on a globe that got knocked off and a three sided one hour oil candle for Betty.

2002-06-11 Recently I have built a castable pipe warmer and bit heater [Tool Making for Glassblowing] and took the burner for the furnace apart and braised up the nipple and drilled a new smaller outlet because the furnace, in the two times I have used it, has gotten too hot and is hard to shut down. I have been doing exploration of pounding sheet metal to make a dome to cover the frax on the furnace, made a sand bag with canvas and scrap sand from work. Made a pecan (instead of hickory) pounding sticks for flattening the metal. Not used yet.

2002-05-19 I had Burner built for glory holethis grandiose plan to rent a truck to take both large propane tanks to be refilled - one crippled by the place having no trucks. So I did a lot of other non-glass tasks: trimming branches, cleaning up, laundry, dishes, riding bike to get groceries. I bought a T and installed a pressure valve on the furnace and began steps to add castable to fill out the hole around the burner. The way I hang the burner, combined with the loop of copper tubing turns out to make stuffing soft frax in the space non-functional - too much movement.
I am also setting up to weld 3 or 4 lifting points (heavy chain links) on the dome of the furnace. I will strap down the dome, lift it (somehow - maybe an engine hoist, maybe a gin bar), turn it upside down, scrape it some and put in a layer of hard castable.

2002-05-02 If a good session of glassblowing is defined by a full annealler, I didn't have one today, but the number of experiments and variations made it a good one anyway. I blew into a clay mold hemisphere and into a iron pot. I melted and blew from the furnace for the first time. The flue worked and the inside of the furnace was not only uniformly hot, but too hot. On the other hand, the insulating castable dome has two distinct cracks across it from the gathering opening back that should not prevent using it, but signal wrong material and the inside looked pretty flakey. I also used the miniature punty I built to make glass pulls on stainless cores and I shall see how that comes out. I burned off the oil on a couple of feet of the wire rope - I am going to see about soaking it for removal of the remaining greasy dirt, etc.

2002-04-25 Saturday, I visited Jim Bowman's new studio on E. Griffen during his open house and then I drove to Houston for the Willenbrink demos on Sunday and to see the William Morris exhibit. Good show. I took a bunch of pictures which have not been added to anything because of computer failure and lack of time. More comments later.

2002-04-11 I was reminded tonight that I am doing things which can be dangerous - in this case molten aluminum being poured into a mold with residual moisture that boiled and spattered drops around, including on my shoulder next my neck, 6-7 feet from the hot stuff. Got in a good glassblowing session. Marred by a couple too many cold pipes that wouldn't start a bubble. Made my first fish and spun out a bowl and flopped the edges. Pictures later. Jim Bowman is having an open house Saturday here in Dallas and Karen Willenbrink is demoing in Houston next weekend.

2002-03-31 Could have been a nice day for glassblowing, but was tired and had other stuff to do, like painting back of garage. Did repaint whirly with red/yellow. Also painted corner mounting post and some other steel. Melted lead for core of steel 1-1/2" tube to bend against. Heated and bent out the legs for the big goblet that has been laying around on the work bench for a month or more.

FIRE ISLAND - I am embarrassed to say that I missed noting here the open house at Fire Island in Austin, which was yesterday.

2002-03-21 Lots of work today on the web site, including taking and adding photos of the various stands I use with my glassblowing. Tool Making for Glassblowing

2002-03-13 It occurred to me during my glassblowing session tonight (well, it is 1am on the 14th, so last night) that I am not using this page to advantage in pointing positively to web page updates, although revisions appear in the New files listing, so I shall, beginning with a bunch of added notes to FURNACES.HTM including pictures.

2002-02-27 John Williams stopped by the store and told me that the Empty Bowls event raised $23,000!

2002-02-24 When I wandered along the library shelves with new books, I came upon a very good source of information on "Table Fountains" by Paris Mannion (North Light Books, Cincinnati, OH, 2001, ISDN 1-58180-103-3 Dallas Pub.Lib. 745.593 M284C) The book shows construction of eleven fountains and has specific articles on 15 aspects of getting started and 5 enhanced ideas along with good resources listings. Strongly recommended. Two of the best ideas I saw were using a short length of large diameter PVC pipe with notches cut in one edge to support rocks away from the pump while letting water in and the cord out and using the plastic grid from lighting fixtures to support rocks above the bottom of a bowl, so the bowl does not have to be filled with rocks. Many of the details in the book have to do with ideas for concealing the sources of the water - drilling rocks to pass the tube or leaning things to cover it. It seems to me that the best arrangement for a glass worker is to plan on a base tray to catch splashes with a largish bowl to contain the fountain and then work up the design, perhaps in another bowl above that.

2002-01-30 When I was waiting for the bus after work, the temperature was in the 70's and I decided I had to blow glass last night. So when I walked up to the house at 7 pm, instead of going inside, I went around back and started the annealler and candled the glory hole, throwing in all the scrap glass from the dump tank. I then went into eat, etc., firing up the glory hole after 45 minutes.
About an hour later the glass was crudely ready and I began blowing bowl shapes. The glass improved as I worked and I finally quit about 11. I lost a nice piece off the punty in the glory hole and recovered a ground model to the annealler after it came off the punty while working, but the physical and metal exercise was worth it. I have missed a number of opportunities to blow over the last month when I used a good day to get household or medical things done and there have been too many wet cold days. Part of my motivation for an unusually quick session was the forecast of rain and dropping temperatures for Thursday, with a low of 28 that night.


If I could I Surely Would

2002-01-01 In the printed issues, I would have an entry headlined like that above, so when I opened the catalog for the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass, I felt I had to say it again. I consider these prime choices:
Session 3 -