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Tool Making for glassblowing varies from simplistic to complicated beyond the ordinary mind to deal with. Here are a few thoughts on making things. See also the Glossary of Tools
Some of the easiest tools to make are wood dowels soaked water.
Further at Blocks, Paper & Wood
I am working on a glass garage to park glass hot. It has its own page.
|Jacks||Roller Track||Torch||Preheater||Rod Optic||Index Plate||Power Cord|
|Stands||Crucibles||Pi-Dividers||Glued Wood||Cylinder Mold||Tongs||Hose||Crimp|
For views of equipment (as opposed to tools) see m-bckyrd.htm and workalon.htm
My homemade jacks, hanging up>
devices were combined here. A cart was made to carry a pipe and
hold a torch aimed at the glass on the pipe, so stringer could be
pulled, which would land on the sheet metal catch. On the cart
are mounted pairs of wheels for patio doors. These allow the pipe
to be rotated freely. The mounts for the wheels can be pivoted
which causes the pipe to translate lengthwise as it is spun, so
threading will leave evenly spaced lines in a spiral. The cart
can be used alone for the spinners.
|Preheater for damp glory holes and furnaces - 1000 watt coil set in grooves in castable. VERY DANGEROUS with exposed 120 volts AC at the bolts on the front end - should have a wire cage over the terminals and heating elements. It is only used plugged into a GFCI and is normally moved only when unplugged while wearing gloves anyway because it is hot. High temp wiring used for ovens and stoves is attached with porcelain wire nuts to short pieces of solid copper covered with insulation tubes to reduce heat load on the insulation.|
|Here is what the plate looks like setup. The holes are drilled to allow 3, 4 or 5 rods to be installed. The three holes drilled in the corner are used for converting square rough cut wood pieces to dowels for making cherry wood dowels to pin stuff together.|
|Piece blown in rod optic with three rods. I like the triangular mouth. Haven't tried equivalent with 5 sided.|
|This is the turntable rig I originally built for drilling the 7 holes in the wire winding plate, but here it is set up for redrilling the rod optic plate (below) so the circle of rods is further out to make larger pieces.. The pattern above was printed out, the lines extended to make a 6" circle and that cut out to fit on the disk. The disk is mounted on a small lazy Susan bearing screwed to the rectangular wood plate. A center hole was drilled in the optic plate and the paper and plate were lined up over the existing center hole and a screw placed to hold it. The plate was turned to line it up a bit and the screw was tightened. On the drill press stand, one of the vise mounting bolts was used to keep the base board from moving sideways and a 3/4" scrap wood piece was inserted|
|under the base plate to tilt the unit to about 15 degrees, matching the previous drilling less a little bit. The hold down is a commercial modification of a ViseGrip handle bolted to the press plate. The corner iron, as shown at right, is the line up reference. If I were trying to put the holes in exact locations on the plate, life would be more difficult, but since I just want the holes to fall correctly with respect to each other, I just line up the first hole, clamp, drill, and move the turntable so the next line aligns the same way. When the clamp is tightened, the plate actually revolves a bit, so I readjusted to get it to lineup after clamping. Since I didn't move the base, all the holes end up on the 2" circle aligned with the drill bit. After drilling, I removed the plate and used a manual tapping handle and 1/4-20 tap on each hole.|
|A lazy Susan bearing is a
flat sheet metal device with dozens of small bearing balls in the groove
just outside the center hole. The two plates are held together by the
center rim being bent over the other. As a bearing it must be used flat
- if set on edge, like for a Wheel of Fortune, the friction is high and
the rim will wear through. They are cheap, most under $10, but will
handle large weights - a 3" device has a capacity is rated at 350 pounds
and I used to put one on the floor at the hardware store and stand on it
with one foot and turn easily. The name comes from the dining room
device that replaced the maid (Susan) for distributing condiments - a
one or two level round shelf in the middle of the table to be turned by
the diners to reach individual bottles or dishes.
The one shown is called 6" with the hole in the middle being about 5". Buy them from hardware and woodworking stores. 2012-03-08
|This plate was made up to twist
thick wire like that
shown into wire goblet stems and wire rope. . (I
had scrounged about 30 10-12 foot pieces from a trash pickup
across the street)It was made
by first building a turn table of wood on a small lazy susan
bearing with a paper disk for the 6 points (from a CADD program) (above)
The rod optic would have been better made if I had built the turntable then, so the rods would have been completely uniform - I could have tilted the platform and clamped it down and still rotated the top, to keep the angle and spacing exact - I had to line up each hole on a tilted block by hand.
This is the second cast puffer head, much smoother than the first. Aluminum is tapped for 1/4" water pipe (about 1/2" OD) and the fitting shown allows the copper tubing for blowing. A reducing fitting 1/4" to 1/8" allows screwing it onto a standard air valve for a shop blower. [I have since changed out the rigid tube to a snap on air compressor fitting that I put large clear tubing over for mouth use. Also built a larger diameter flatter cone for bigger mouthed pieces.]
From: "Jeff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Power Control Cord - I often take a heavy extension cord, like that used for air conditioners, cut it in the middle, and use it to supply and deliver power for a solid state or mechanical relay in a portable situation. This is a piece of 12 gauge extension cord surgically opened on the side and the hot (black) wire cut and stripped to fit on the terminals of a solid state relay on a heat sink. Silicon seal was added to support the wires coming out the side and to seal the cable insulation. The other end of the SSR has a phono jack which I use for connecting to controllers in a standard way. 2001-12-13
This cable is controlled by 120 VAC so that it can be plugged in to the indicator light of an element controlled by the one above, allowing control of a second element from another source instead of rewiring to 20 amp. 2005-05-10 Controllers
This double ended ladle was made up in short order when I needed to melt some lead for a weight. The two ends are steel hemispheres (2" & 3") sold at welding supply to seal ends of steel pipe. I had bought several sizes when I built the the glass gathering ball/scoop. I filed the end of the 1/2" square tubing to a curved angle to fit the side of the bowl and torch welded it in place while it sat bowl downward to be level. The lip was bent outward by heating red hot with the torch and hammering with a ball peen hammer. (click to enlarge.)
This is the scoop and gathering ball that were made at the same time, from the same kind of materials. The scoop is a 4" end cap while the gathering ball is 2 - 1.5" caps welded to make a rough sphere, both installed on 1/2" square, 6' long steel tubing. The scoop is used regularly for emptying my pot at the end of a session. (made back when, noted here 2004-01-03 when found not noted.)
Pipes & Punties (2003 pipes)
|The three pictures here show various views of the pipes I use, most of which I made from
stainless steel water pipe (about 1/2" OD), one of
which was made in the shop of a local glassblower (who
does not usually sell them.) As they stand at right, the
most noticeable thing is probably how short they are,
even the made one - 48" or less. I like short pipes. (Pipes
The shot below shows the hot end of the pipes and one made punty. The second from left is just open ended pipe while the one to the right was welded in and drilled to give more rim. The larger size of the commercial style pipe on left holds more heat and more glass per gather. To weld stainless with a torch requires a special flux to keep the surfaces clean.
The punty was made by welding a piece of 3/8" rod, which most of my punties are made from, into the end of the pipe. The larger diameter makes handling more like the pipes. The punty is marked from the pipes by sawing the end at an angle as visible at right.
The image at lower right shows the shaft collars applied to the pipes and punties for hanging to hold or cool. Shaft collars I have found to come in a hard silver steel and in a softer grey cast metal as shown right and below. The latter is much easier to drill out as the 3/8" water pipe is slightly larger than 1/2" OD (more pipes) (2011-01-01 edit)
|These images show several stands that I have built
and use while glassblowing. The one at right is my hot
pipe dump and "3rd arm" for my bench. The crude
box at the bottom is welded from flat sheet to hold the
glass and support the arm.
At left are the methods of connection of the arm and the loop that contains the pipes. The arm is bolted on using the holes that were in the hard to drill "bed steel". It is not adjustable and is at the same height as the bench. The loop is welded to an angle iron which is clamped to the upright.
|This is my yoke used at the glory hole with a shield to protect my hand. The balls are called transfer balls and can be found individually in woodworking catalogs, Grainger (in quantity) and at caster places. Woodworker's Supply index under "Rollers" 853-756 5/8" Transfer ball, $2.75 each, 853-763 1" Transfer ball $2.95 each. These have a flat flange that takes two bolts or screws. A common variation has a single bolt stud on the back. The base is sized to take the bricks used as weight. With the kind of door I have (opening from the right), I would be better served by having a track and wheels to slide the yoke left to right, but I have not needed it so far. I keep it just to the right of center of the glory hole. A bed frame clamp provides vertical adjustability of the angle iron post.|
The clamp at left allows adjustment of the height of the yoke. The clamp is used on steel bed frames to lock the angle iron rails. When yokes have round pipe supports, they have a bearing for pivoting and a nut to lock the shaft collar at height.
The one right is actually a spare, now being used to prop up the whirly post when it is lowered. The picture does show the post nicely (and the ragged torch cut top.) The base is a steel pipe I found at a surplus steel place when I went looking for something for this task and barely visible in the grass is the square 1/4" plate welded to the bottom.
|To the right is the stand that holds my pipes and punties just to the right of the glory hole door to preheat them from the escaping hot gases. Not easily picked out at right, a welded L of 1/2" square tubing holds the front ends of the pipes and a diagonal brace sets the angle of the arm. The detail left again shows a bed clamp. The bottom is a pipe scrap from a used steel place.|
In the traditional factory setting, specially made tools were
common, especially punties designed to grab the glass after it
came off the pipe. These included pronged devices for grabbing
the foot of a goblet, cups for holding the bottom of a bottle,
and padded blocks to fit inside a vase. Of course, these people
were making dozens of the same item each day and were paid on
their hourly production rate. gripper.htm
This is a special punty made to
make bottles or pieces like the one shown in the pictures.
Careful examination of the piece in the left picture (click for
bigger) will show that it is cracked down its length half way
through, probably due to lack of a long enough soak and too fast
anneal. The purpose of making the punty was to work a piece like
this without a punty mark. This piece was the first made and it
needed more frax pushed in to make it firm, it kept squirming out.
Normally such a punty would be used for uniform pieces, in
production, and be fitted to the piece.
This punty is fitted to the end of 1/4" standard pipe size (just over 1/2" true outside diameter) already threaded from the store. A connector, threaded all the way through, leads to an all thread nipple used in lamp making (the standard, more common, stuff is 1/8" IPS, about 3/8" OD.) The jam nuts also come from lamp supplies. The plate at the end is a plumbing floor flange, in this case not a common cast unit, which should work, but a stamped metal disk, punched through the center and tapped through inside, which allows turning it down the all thread if I wish. Having used it once, it needs another set of jam nuts, these work loose.
Not shown is a hole drilled at an angle toward
the end, so a wire can be looped over the leg of a goblet base
and run down the length of the pipe for a quick release or
connection to a threaded rod to pull it tight. As it happens, for
the piece above, I just twisted a short length of wire through
the hole and around one leg, cutting it free with diagonal
cutters before annealing.
|Cabinet Knob Punty
A customer came into the Store* with some thin (3/16") tubes threaded 8-32 being sold with a mandrel for $45 for ten or a dozen for making knobs with a torch. I thought the idea was neat, but looking in MSC nothing smaller than 1/4" was offered in stainless steel. After some thought, I decided to try it anyway. The basic mandrel is a piece of SS all thread, a length of K&S 1/4" SS tubing from the hardware store, two stainless steel 8-32 nuts, a SS fender washer and an internally threaded SS standoff.
After trying it, I got a couple of awkward off center knobs that survived the annealing (none failed) and a bit of promise if I want to keep on with it.
|As you may be able to from the heat
discoloration (compare the unused standoff), the whole
intention was to gather glass directly from the furnace.
This meant that I had to have much more than a short SS
mandrel to hold in a torch flame. So I extended my idea
of the wire goblet punty above as
shown below. It will take some work if I want to make a
set of similar knobs, symmetrical or controlled shape,
with color wrap, but I am happy with the first try.
Glass was gathered by preheating for a few moments, then plunging the end into the glass, removing and shaping the first gather. One knob was extended by gathering a bit and winding a thread on; the other was over gathered in the furnace.
Changes: the nuts tend to come loose, more tightening is in order. The second knob would not come free of the mandrel, so all went in the annealer. Antiseize compound under the standoff is in order. [Bad idea, graphite may work.]
also Plano and Mesquite. I worked at the Dallas store
for 9 years. Huge selection
|The mount was made in the following way:
2003 Pipes [Earlier Pipes]
During a trip north for gravel in a rented pickup, I was near the used steel
place that I get stainless from (Garland Steel) and so I stopped in even
though I didn't have my torch to test. I was looking for solid and
larger tubing to make some more pipes and found marked 304 stainless tubing
and unmarked solid in the same size (5/8") in a shorter 4' piece, so I
took it and it turned out to be not heat conductive. I cut off a 17"
piece of the solid and took it to the Store to use the abrasive chop saw to
cut it to 4" lengths with square ends.
I made a jig to hold the rod upright by drilling in a wood block and clamped the rod with Vice-Grip pliers to hold it while I end drilled. I could have center punched, but the holes were okay and since my drill goes in just over 2", the holes met in the center.
There are normally two choices in ends for blow pipes:
1. An end of the same metal as the pipe but thicker walls and a 1/4-5/16" (6-7mm) hole and tapering outside is welded to the end
2. A plastic, usually Delrin, mouth piece is fitted to the end usually in the same kind of metal tube for weight balance..
Most of the comments about knocking teeth out with the metal end have to do with an assistant kneeling down and blowing into the pipe whipping the head back and forth while the gaffer works the glass, inflating it against a block or pad. It is also possible to clang into one's teeth when bringing the pipe to the mouth but more rarely.
The Delrin Plastic is gentler to the teeth and theoretically more sanitary if each blower has a separate tip, but almost no one does. The problem for me is that almost everyone uses their lips to center the pipe when blowing, but uses their teeth to guide the pipe and keep it from banging the lips into the teeth so the Delrin gets scarred and chews up the teeth just rotating when being used in any way. They are supposed to be smoothable with sandpaper, but I haven't had much luck getting back to original smoothness. 2007-05-09
[If buying tubing, SS comes in very thick walls, so the ends could be made from tubing with such thick walls as to leave a 1/4" hole (say 3/4" with 1/4" thick walls or 5/8" with 3/16" walls. An alternative if buying thin and thick wall tubing is to match the ID of the thin wall to the OD of the thick wall, so the ends slip into the shaft tubing, reducing grinding but leaving a slight step a few inches from the end. Punties often have such a step to have a bigger grip on a smaller end, as here] 2006-10-24
|I chose the ends with the most centered holes to be the outer end and ground the other ends to fit inside the tubing. In order to do the grinding, I built the jig shown from 2" of 1-1/2" 16 gauge tubing, a pair of 1-3/8" x 5/8" ID wheelbarrow replacement bearings, a piece of 1x4 lumber and a 5/8" ID shaft collar. A machine screw bolts the tubing through the wood to a T-nut accessed with the larger hole on top (the two holes on the side are tapped, but not used in this version.) The rod slides into the bearing and almost emerges from the other side; the shaft collar prevents the rod from moving further. On my homebuilt grinding wheel head, I added a platform so I could lay this wood and line up with the wheel. I used a coarse wheel to grind the ends to reduce their size, as shown on the pipe end at an angle. The hidden end of the other piece looks the same. I used heavy leather work gloves to control the rate of spin that the grinder gave to the rod. I tried the reduced end in the pipe as I worked. The mouth piece was rough ground at an angle and then a finer grinding wheel was mounted to smooth the outside. 2003-01-19|
| Next, I will weld the ends in place.
I have stainless steel rod and somewhere I have protective flux from
building the ones above, but I confess, I can't recall seeing it for some
time. Torch welding of stainless is less easy than MIG and I am almost
tempted to rent a MIG to try it out. 2003-01-19
After several days of intense searching, which were constructive because I gained a lot of moving around space in the garage/shop and threw out a bunch of stuff, I alternated between "logically" looking where chemicals were kept vs. where welding supplies were kept vs. where glass supplies were kept. The last proved rewarding because with the grinding grit in the bottom of a 5 gallon plastic bucket (one of about seventy with stuff in them) was a rusting can of Solar Flux B for stainless steel, last used to weld over the tips of a couple of pipes and insert a punty tip. (above) The rust seemed to go most of the way through, but the powder inside was dry and fluffy and the instructions barely readable. I typed them off and visited the web site. "If you weld stainless steel you'll love Solar Flux" I transferred the powder to a tough plastic bottle with a copy of the directions.
I got out the threading rig I built and plopped it on my outdoor work bench, took up the tubing and ends, buttered on the flux (which is mixed with methanol), fitted the ends carefully, tapping them to straighten them. The Solar site calls for a carburizing flame (gas rich) and I found that works well. This stainless does not conduct heat well, therefore it gets very hot locally very quick. This means the metal gets molten and flows/drips. The flux helps contain the flow, but I still had to do some torch repair work and then ground the welds. Before I put the welding rig up for the night, I cut braces for the glass garage as it wobbled a bit much and welded them, welded a riser on the frame for the peak of the roof to hold whirlies and ground down another 4" piece for a matching punty and welded that in place. 2003-01-30
At the right you can see the moderately rough result of the grinding with no attempt to clean off the flux, etc. The outer diameter of the pipes is uniform (no bumps) although some pits remain. I used the pipe and punty for a blowing session and was pleased with the result. Being careful to make them straight was important. I shall make at least one more of each, perhaps more. 2003-02-08 I did make another pair of pipe and punty and the welding on the pipe went particularly poorly. In fact, when ground smooth, there were holes at both ends that leaked air. Rather than arguing with the welding, I put the pipe aside until I had some other braising to do and repaired it with brass, today. 2005-05-13
| Email Reply on pipes
No, I don't sell (at least at this time). The directions for making pipes and punties include a way of making without fine machining, but torch welding SS is difficult.
If you have to deal with minimal purchases (like some SS metal suppliers want $150 min.) you can use up a minimum real quick with a couple of tubes of thick wall and thin wall tubing. You can save a lot of money (at $100 a pipe) and get what you like.
The shaft of pipes is 1/16" wall mostly (.0625") so if you buy 3/4" tubing with 1/16" wall and with 1/4" wall for the ends. You want 300 series SS, usually 303, although Steinert http://www.steinertindustries.com/ uses 309 for the head and 304 for the shaft. See stainles.htm#SHOP If you want to make larger shaft punties with largish heads, you can buy some 5/8" solid which will slide inside the 3/4" tube and be welded without machining.
If you have a TIG or MIG welder, you can do better welding than I can.
If not, talk to a welding shop and see if they can butt weld the tubing. If they can, then the only machining will be to taper the mouth piece. If not, then the other end of the mouth piece and one end of the hot tip will have to be reduced by 1/16" (to 5/8" dia) for about 5/8-3/4" to slide fit in the tubing. Get a quote from a machine shop. See my page above for grinding.
I like 6" pieces for the ends, so the person/shop that tapers the mouth pieces can saw the thick wall tubing into 24 blanks (assuming a 12' piece cut slightly short of 6" each). See below on how many get machined. Be sure understand what you like in the length of a pipe. Many commercial pipes are 52", 54" or longer. Steinert does not mention the length of their pipes but they do say their punties are 54" I like mine shorter because one technique I use is to blow down onto a wooden or metal plate and I am 6'2". I could use a step up. Depending on how the ends are attached, the tubing is 11-12" shorter than the length of the pipe. I would, if paying someone to weld, make up 2 pipes and 2 punties, and check for balance and length, before cutting the rest of the tubing. Since I ground my ends, I made 2 pair at a time. Ask a machine shop about savings on quantity if you are sure of the size. It may be they can setup and do all 24 slide fits on one end (cut 0.063) for less than doing 4 or 6 at a time. Note that you could do this, have only a couple tapered and come back to do some more once you were sure of the fit. You do want the tapered area smooth (almost polished) and you want the mouth end blunt with a slight curve to take off the corner (i.e. the final diameter should be about 3/8" so the wall is 1/16" around the 1/4" hole. see drawing.)
Heck, I've been looking at what I have written and deciding to use it on a page, so I have taken time to do a drawing.
Please note that I do put a shaft collar on my pipes and punties - the same distance from the hot end no matter what their overall length for even hanging in the garage, etc. I do not use a rubber hose grip, which I might need if making bigger pieces, but that I don't much like. A grip adds weight (good) to the mouth end and thus affects balance. I do not texture my grip area (some brands do) but I also do not polish it. I do not like plastic mouth pieces, I actively favor metal.
Best of luck.
|This is the grinder setup I built, which uses
the same motor as the glass grinder. There is nothing too original
about it, except for some details. The basic grinder is two oiled
bearing pillow blocks mounted to a board with a 1/2" shaft with a pulley
on one end and a shaft adaptor for threaded mounting of grinding wheels
on the other. Clamped in the vise, it has been used for years, see
the patina on the wood. When I began grinding for the pipes, I
added a couple of spaces and the board platform and another spacer sized
board below, to clamp in the vise as shown, with bolts through all.
Also, below and right below, is the pipe end grinding jig in place on the platform.
Right is a shot of the blade grinding jig with a more horizontal view inset. The spacers lift the blade almost to the centerline of the wheel, while the slight backset of the red piece gives a ledge to set the back of the blade on.
|I wanted to have a pipe heater and hot bit holder and maybe even a color pre-heater, with a range of temperatures. So I dug out an old venturi burner I bought before I realized how much heat I needed for glass. I found piece of broken kiln shelf and squared off the sides. I picked out three pieces of foam from what I had collected on occasion. On one of the pieces I carved a port the size of the burner interior. On another, I cut an angle to be an exit port. I carved the third to curve heat around the inside.|
|I used wood glue to laminate the foam to
the kiln shelf and each other with the shelf sticking out
the sides a half inch all the way around.
I then clamped up a frame to put about 1.25" of space all the way round. I mixed a fairly stiff Insulating Refractory Castable (IRC) to form the back wall and let it set for a while. Then I mixed a fairly sloppy mix and poured it in and pushed the form into it, imbedding the shelf in the back wall. I then mixed a moderately sloppy mix and filled in around the foam, especially under the angle and above the burner port. Finally, I made a stiff mix again to build up the front to support the corners of the kiln shelf. Keeping it moist, I let it set overnight, then took the form off and let it dry for a couple of days in the Texas sun. Then I hooked up a torch and burned out the foam (smoky), and hooked up the burner and did a first heat. Should have rodded the mix more, there is a distinct seam/crack part way down.
Still to do: a mount for the burner, frax board under, maybe a metal shell and frax blanket around, depending how hot it gets. I don't want it too hot.
|This is a view of the unit after the first test firing. Steel angle forms a support at the bottom, framing a 1/2" frax board. A lump of castable supports the hot end of the burner and a tapped hole on the burner takes a bolt through square tubing to hold the burner level and in place. [The material is not very strong and when a punty stuck to the shelf and was jerked to get it free, the front half of the top broke off down to the shelf. It looks repairable, though not done yet. 2003-04-03]|
|These small crucibles were prepared so I could melt small amounts of color, perhaps by floating them in other melted glass. They were made from #1 potters clay [grey] and the crucible mix I use for bigger pots. The clay pots were made inside a glass custard cup and I consider them to be an accidental success, on one set the clay stuck to the glass and the inside dried while the outside stayed wet, so the inside cracked. So I mixed up a batch of plaster of Paris, lined a bread pan with aluminum foil, oiled the outside of the custard cups, and sunk them in the liquid plaster by adding water to weight them. The plaster, traditional mold making material of potters, sucks water out of the clay, so it shrinks from the outside, pulling in from the mold and drying hard. 2002-07-13 Two of the pots, one of each kind, have been in the glory hole for several firings and seem to be holding up well, one with color and one with clear. 2003-02-13 Mini-Firehole|
|I wanted to do some pure clear and pure color so I built a pair of clay boats for the bottom of the glory hole, rolling the white clay as above, and pressing it into half pieces of white 3" PVC conduit and then adding the end pieces. Pre-fired in the annealer to about 1500F Shown in the glory hole after first use with excess glass scooped out before cooling. 2004-01-30|
This drawing shows the revised plan. The dimensions used were selected first to
accommodate the largest diameter I expected to use - 5" - at which point these
dividers will be open at 60 degrees spanning 15.7"
|I came up with the idea of preheating blanks in the annealer and transferring them to my smaller box to be laid on a mold and taken quickly up to sagging temp, then brought down to annealing or a stiff temp and moved back to the annealer. Obviously to do this I need a way of handling the blanks, so when I had the torch hot, I cut some stock and drilled it, then bent a matching pair. (When making tongs, the bends are identical, not opposite, as noted in a blacksmith book - it saves thinking.) The handles were bent to be a thumb and edge of hand in gloves grip and were actually re-bent a couple of times for size. After the picture was taken, the tips were wrapped with frax and a couple of wraps of wire added to keep it in place. 2003-02-13 In April, after a couple of uses, drilled another pivot hole closer to the handle so a small movement, especially with gloves, opens the jaws wider. (right) 04-25|
These glued wood tools were made up with Gorilla
Glue and then soaked as wood tools for glass commonly are.
When I decided to make a steam stick from
the model used by Fritz Dreisbach, I tried to find a small ricer pestle, but
several shops only had large ones. So I drilled a chunk of cherry to take
a rod and supported it on both ends in my drill press and carved and rasped it
down to a cone shape - the center portion of the lower unit shown. Because
of the drilled hole and rod, I could not turn it down to a point and I needed a
handle. So I turned a small cone, held directly in the chuck jaws,
from cherry dowel I had purchased and counter drilled both ends of the center to
match. I used GG to assemble the handle and the cone to the center.
It has been soaking for about a month. Of course, the cone structure does not
require the glue to do as much as the other piece. 2003-09-24
|HOSE - A hose that fits on a
pipe is very convenient when working alone as it allows blowing against a
pad or block while the pipe is horizontal (as opposed to blowing with the
pipe raised or lowered from the mouth.) It takes a bit of practice to
keep the hose from tangling while maneuvering and a swivel really helps.
Commercial versions for pipes are available [$31
the unfortunate proviso that you have to match the size of the pipe. I
had two different sizes and expected to get more (and did.) So I
bought my hose, mouthpiece, and swivel from Wale Apparatus.
I bought the whole thing ($21.95 now, first item on the page) with angle swivel, hose, and mouth piece. The hose sold is surgical rubber which is very soft. It deteriorates. I replaced mine with clear vinyl tubing. (F)
|My unit, with 1/4" barbs on the swivel, was sold without a cup, since a piece of the rubber tubing is used to fit to glass tubing for lamp work. To adapt the swivel, I bought several short pieces of clear vinyl tubing in several diameters from the hardware store and after cutting them to size, fitted them inside each other to make a cup to fit over the end of pipe mouthpiece. (A) shows two short smaller pieces (about 1") fitted inside each other and a longer (about 2.5") larger piece. The ID of the smallest is 1/4" and of the largest is 1/2", with the middle piece being 3/8" and the walls all 1/16". As shown (B), the turning barb on the swivel is fitted in the inner piece and then all three are pushed flush (C), the slightly large barb expanding all the tubings against each other. A look (D) down inside the cup shows the space. A close-up (E) and longer view (G) of the cup on the pipe mouth piece as well as the two pieces (F) - hose with mouthpiece and swivel and the cup - are shown. (Click on picture for double sized - hold Ctrl while clicking to open larger in new window.)|
| When working, I take a turn around my
neck, leaving a short length to the mouthpiece so it hangs about nipple
level when the mouth piece is dropped. Like a tobacco pipe mouth
piece, which it resembles, it is gripped in the teeth while working.
The long length is draped over the arm (some people put the surgical rubber
inside their shirt sleeve) and slid over the pipe end. When the pipe
is put up, the hose stays on the shoulders rather than being left hanging on
the hot pipe. The right angle swivel is better than a straight swivel,
especially with the weight of vinyl tubing, which puts a lot of drag weight
on the pipe, tending to pull the cup off the pipe or the hose off the
|CRIMP - A crimp, in furnace working vocabulary is a tool for making the shape of a rose in glass. Most notably, several glassblowers in New Jersey made the Millville Rose. My first crimp was thin brass sheet and about 3/4 inch in diameter. The thinness melted when I used it. E-mailing Wheaton Village gave me the info that theirs were 1-1/2 to 2". So I made a new crimp.|
Contact Mike Firth