Using a Torch for Fire Polishing?
I have a Turbo Torch that I use for MetalSmithing and have been playing with it using glass. I haven't a clue what I am doing, but it's fun!
The idea was to make a clear glass stand for crosses. Try as I might, the glass cracked.
Instead of re-creating the wheel I thought I would ask the Board a couple of questions.
1. I have cut out a single layer of glass and was wondering if it was possible to "fire polish" the edges with the torch? My fear is that it will crack and break. That won't be fun.
2. Is it possible to add a "hanger" made of glass to another piece of glass (same kind of glass) using the torch?
Thank you for your help.
* Sorry--you can't evenly heat a large piece of glass with a torch, so wherever the hot glass meets the cold, it will crack. Also your present torch is not a good choice for torchworking, if that is what you are interested in doing.
Its dangerous to do this without a little knowledge under your belt. I hope you are at least wearing the right glasses, natural fabric clothing (glass can explode in the flame!) and are in a well ventilated area.
If you are interested in torchworking and you can't take a torchworking class, I recommend getting a book. I taught myself with Bandhu Scott Dunham's first book. This is the present one
Otherwise read the tutorial on this site and you will understand why even heating and annealing are so important when it comes to glass.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the tips and book reference. I didn't realize what I was doing was called "Torch-working" but, that's what it is. And yes, I have all the equipment you listed. When I took a MetalSmithing class it was required for a good reason.
Does anyone have the book "Contemporary Lamp Working - Practical Guide - Shaping" that they no longer need? If so, let me know. Thanks.
Thanks again, geroga
* I have tried to make bails for jewelry bending strips
of glass with a torch. They do break more often than not.
Bead makers have a partially open chamber of
refractory material that is heated and keeps the glass
hot for a longer distance. Then the flame is used to locally
heat the working point. The piece is then annealed
in a special kiln or buried in vermiculite.
I have not really tried yet
to heat my kiln to 600 C, over softening point and then
torchworking in an open kiln. It may work. The kiln is then
closed, and pieces annealed in a normal way.
p.s. The proper glasses Amy mentioned must protect
from Infrared radiation. That is a vicious hazard.
* You might also look for Cindy Jenkins' books on beginning torch beads...one of them is called (I think) You Can Make Glass Beads. They should be available from stained glass suppliers and might be easier to find than Durham's. Check your library, also.
You can make elements with a torch using compatible glass, and then add them to your fused work. Maybe this would be a way to make hanging loops.
* And for safety's sake, look into whether the torch you are using in metalsmithing is appropriate to use when torchworking (or what was traditionally called lampworking) glass.
There are websites where you can get better lampworking information than at this site which focusses on kiln-formed glass.
BTW, what Amy said about larger pieces of glass, heed it. I have never been able to heat a piece of glass wider than 1.5 inches in the torch without the glass cracking and flying away from me.
Flying shards of hot glass, not a good thing.
* "I haven't a clue what I am doing, but it's fun!"
Why does that bother me? The torch only heats to about- what, 2800F? 3000F? Eye protection? Ventilation? Burns? Fire hazards? The chance that georga/geroga will get innocents involved in this endeavor?
I guess if I look at the situation as social Darwinism, it'll be ok.
* Thanks to all of you for your help.
Barbara - what is BTW? I will look at a lampworking site as you suggest.
Lynn - that is what I wanted to do...add to a piece I had formed in the kiln. Have you done this before? I will look up "Cindy's" book, although I am not ready for another venture. I had a need and was trying to fill it with what I already had.
Lauri - It sounds a bit scarey to be working in an open kiln with a flame. Maybe that's why you haven't tried it yet.
Marty - You don't need to be bothered by my words. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I know the risks involved and have a respect for them. Thanks for your concern.
Again, Thank YOU All!
I have done it, a couple of times.
First time I wanted to firepolish a cast piece. (It melted)
Second time firepolish a flat piece. (there is an easier way)
It *is scary*. One needs protection:
Welder's mask and enough illumination to compensate.
Non- burning clothes that are easy to rip off.. Wool or at least cotton.
No bare skin visible
The kiln MUST be off
* To answer the first question, yes that torch will work. May not be ideal, but even a lowly propane torch would work.
Most metal torches don't have a wide enough flame and use oxy/acetylene which produces too much smoke and does weird things to the glasses color. Oxy/propane would be better.
You don't need a welders mask, but the goggles for gas welding will work. You should look into torchworkers glasses though.
Torchworking is a whole 'nother art by itself. You may want to search out forums for lamp/torch working.
Oh, and from my days as a pyro (technician, not maniac) wear cotton clothes. When they burn and they won't melt to the skin like synthetics. Nomex et. all are better though.
* By The Way
* I haven't done it, but here's the example I had in mind (from this site's glass gallery)
* Wow, that's ancient history Lynn!
* You can tell it made a good impression on me, Amy!
* Lampworking forums:
Cindy Jenkins book, Making Glass Beads, is inexpensive and is devoted to the use of the Hot Head torch which is an inexpensive torch that is more appropriate than the metalworking torch. She also goes into making stringers and twisties that would be the starting point for the design elements that you linked. Cindy Jenkins book
If you work with thin enough stringer, you can use the candle trick
* Thanks to each one of you for your input and all the sites to visit.
You are a Blessing to me,
* I usually play with a torch myself, but kiln forming gives me a chance to utilize the kiln on my "non-torch" days. Just for kicks I tried torch fusing two small pieces of bullseye together and the stuff cracked pretty darn quickly. I may have had *slightly* better success had I brought them up to temp first in the kiln, but given how fast they'd cool outside of it, it's kind of a lost cause.
My newbish advice? Fuse your bales ahead of time then tack fuse them onto your piece in the kiln later.
I frequent a lampworking board that's a nice mix of torch based glass workers:
Use the search function before you ask a question over there though; there's plenty of info in them thar virtual hills.