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  • 3 things you wish you knew while getting started with lampworking

    You'll have to forgive me if a thread like this one exists, however, after using the search function, I still couldn't find a similar thread. Whups.

    Anyways, I think this thread is pretty self-explanatory-- what are 3 [or more, if you choose to add on] things you really wish you had knowledge of prior to getting started or while getting started with the world of glass? Bonus points for any stories about overcoming challenges and lessons learned.

    Anything goes from anyone, whether you've been on the torch for three hundred years or even just three weeks-- any contribution will be sincerely appreciated.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 3 things you wish you knew while getting started with lampworking started by Beast View original post
    Comments 74 Comments
    1. Mr. Whale dick's Avatar
      Mr. Whale dick -
      Smith torch
      Smith torch
      Smith torch
    1. PyroChixRock's Avatar
      PyroChixRock -
      Dishsoap on minor burns helps quickly, cheaply, and safely. Not really something you might need to know beforehand, but it would have been helpful to know in those beginning years when i got burned more often.

      Glass blowing is expensive and addictive. Don't ever expect to be let free of the glass fever.

      If you want to be successful in the glass world, you might not have much time to blow glass.
    1. HumanLathe's Avatar
      HumanLathe -
      I showed you the dish soap thing :P was something my step father told me welders always had for burns. But nothing works better on burns, than that silver sulfadine or whatever its called.
    1. istandalone24/7's Avatar
      istandalone24/7 -
      i wish i'd known how damn addictive and all encompassing glass is
      i wish i'd known i'd get bit by the boro bug BEFORE spending a ton of money on soft glass
      i wish i'd known to let the tip of the point cool off before puffing on it!
      oh i'll have to try out the dish soap trick, my aloe plant is getting shabby lol.
    1. Icarus's Avatar
      Icarus -
      1. This shit is hard. (edit: it's not nearly as easy as it looks)
      2. No one owes you anything. Everything is earned.
      3. You'll learn a lot faster when you work with others then you will when you work alone.
    1. loydb's Avatar
      loydb -
      1. Bridging for assembly
      2. Success requires both glass skills and salesmanship skills. If you want to make a fulltime living at this, the second is probably more important than the first
      3. Don't use inexpensive shelving to store 75 pounds+ of color
    1. Mecha's Avatar
      Mecha -
      If you are planning on making a living from glass understand that sales fluctuate. Plan accordingly. I was too young and irresponsible when I started and the financial reality of a really slow six month period nearly ruined me.

      When dealing face to face with most shop owners price your work a little higher than what you want so that there is room for them to "talk you down". Catering to the shop owners ego in this fashion can go a long way.

      Avoid what I like to call "the beginners ego". Almost everyone gets it, and once it passes (usually does, not always though) it is an embarrassing memory, trust me.

      Do not show, or tell anyone that you do not know, or trust one hundred percent your studio. I have been lucky that this has never bitten me in the ass, but just look at the stolen gear thread and you will understand why discretion is best when it comes to this livelihood.
    1. JBob's Avatar
      JBob -
      1. bridging: i still learned how to do it when i needed it but i think i tried avoiding making such pieces that required it due to lack of confidence, which stemmed from lack of knowledge. but there is great information on here about bridging

      2. I wish I had known I would be doing this longer, so I could have gotten a larger GTT to start rather then spend the money upgrading, I started on a RedMax and it worked great for the time but it would have been nice to start with a phantom or mirage.

      3. I should have used this forum more to avoid much trial and error. I guess it was just laziness (and still kind of is) but i tend to brain fart for a while when trying to learn something new on my own, and it generally takes an attempt or 2 for me to realize the information is here already.

      So Id say in short, use this forum as a resource and always look ahead for what you want to learn next, want to buy next to help you with your glass journey. And if I could add a #4 I would add that I would have liked to get in the groove of cleaning my bench daily when i first started, instead of attempting to navigate the clutter, I clean every morning when my coffee is brewing and it is much easier to think and locate everything.

      #5 is get a digital kiln...i slumped one of my first shop I had stuff i had done the previous day that didnt even need to be in the kiln...walked away longer then expected, climbed high enough to flatten everything. okay done...
    1. ALIEN!'s Avatar
      ALIEN! -
      Fire on decals turn 50 dollar things into 500 dollar things

      Keep dick in pants

      Good Ramen noodle recipes
    1. Mecha's Avatar
      Mecha -
      ^Great list.
    1. Torch-Bug's Avatar
      Torch-Bug -
      I always fail on that second one.
    1. faded's Avatar
      faded -


    1. brettodie's Avatar
      brettodie -
      1.creating isnt the only process you need to be good at.
      2. use more heat.
      3.uses scraps before they turn into pounds and pounds of scraps.
    1. p.j.'s Avatar
      p.j. -
      1. order in bulk, try to get enough glass to work a 6 to 8 month period.....shipping sux and freight wins.

      2. don't put your hand in front of a gtt

      3.make huge prep, then you can make huge pieces
    1. Chad S's Avatar
      Chad S -
      1. Chicks dig glass blowers.

      2. Chicks dig glass dildos even better.

      3. Glass blowing is more addictive than sex.
    1. kage's Avatar
      kage -
      Stock pile your favorite pieces every once in a while for a rainy day/ vacation/ workshop fund

      Get out more

    1. Ronin's Avatar
      Ronin -
      1. being able to keep my own hours makes it hard to focus, and tends to lead to slacking off
      2. seek out other glassblowers early. most of them are super cool and happy to share what they know.
      3. wearing a glass pendant, then giving it to some chick you met at the bar, is a great way to get phone numbers.
    1. istandalone24/7's Avatar
      istandalone24/7 -
      ^ lois's #3 is a great idea!
    1. menty666's Avatar
      menty666 -
      1. Bring stuff like your crack off jar and bead release inside when the weather dips into freezing temps (goes for that bucket of water you keep wooden blocks in too...dammit)

      2. Infrared heaters over your head rock.

      3. Don't take it too seriously, it's just glass and glass cracks. Treat it well and it'll treat you well, but try to force things and you'll have a mess on your hands.
    1. d3rk's Avatar
      d3rk -
      1. How cool everybody in the industry is. Woulda signed up sooner.
      2. How seriously fucking important ventilation is, for even the simplest situation.
      3. How many different types of hand tools I was gonna need. They get expensive.

      Additionally, how to tear open a hole in a tube without breaking anything off cold. Learned that late.

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