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Thread: M0xxy makes a mess

  1. #1
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    Default M0xxy makes a mess

    I've been locked indoors for a few months and I figured what better way to celebrate the plague of 2020 by picking up a new hobby/addiction. I had an opportunity a long time ago to use a groupon for a local glassblowing studio and really enjoyed my time in the hotshop. I've been wanting to do more glassblowing ever since and I'm blessed to now be in a position where I was able to save up and drop some $$ on tools and glass to get started. With the canceling of all social events and obligations I've also found myself with some spare time to start practicing on the torch. I'm still slowly getting my workspace setup and still have a laundry list of things to figure out, but I'm forging forward on practicing while I wait for the last few things to fall into place.

    I've been watching and reading lots of tutorials and trying to emulate the movements I see. This is probably not news to ya'll, but its a lot harder than it looks! I've been trying to work on the basics while throwing in a few techniques here or there. Right now, I'm trying to master forming spoons so I will have at least one dependable thing to build out of complicated prepwork. I made a couple of marbles for fun and was surprised at how much fun I had and want to add a few marble styles to my arsenal as well. I recently received a good mix of tubes, color rod, some fuming materials, frit, and other fancy materials to play with from MGA and am excited to burn through some oxy.

    Early practice has been largely marbles and a few spoons but my lack of a kiln for a few more days is keeping me from getting too wild and crazy yet. I'll be capturing more stuff in this thread as a bit of a work log, hopefully watching me fail and learn will be entertaining for everyone else - it will definitely be a while before I will be posting the sort of jaw dropping pieces others post on here and I figure if you can't be impressed you might as well be entertained!


  2. #2
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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Here is some early work from a few weeks ago.


    Some (mostly) round marbles.

    https://i.imgur.com/VBdZcyi.mp4
    The airbubble trapped in this one makes for a neat silver core, I'm surprised it survived cooling on my bench.


    This was an attempt to get some shapes deeper into the marble and practice rounding.


    First attempt at a vortex marble. I only have a hot shot because it did not survive bench cooling.


    Lots of marbles did not survive bench cooling.


    Lumpy first try at a spoons along with a few exploded marbles from bench cooling. They all split along the color lines.

    More (better!) stuff to come soon.

  3. #3

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Welcome to the fun dude! It's always cool to see someone starting. I had the same feeling about a year ago when my shop was finally built. It gets even better and as you learn one thing, you uncover 200 more problems to solve. Spoons are a great way to start along with your solid work bc you can apply so many techniques on a smaller canvas that wont cause you to lose alot if material when you fail and they sell fairly easy if they look good, so imo they are the best for learning bc they will at least start paying for your oxy and a little bit of profit eventually. Those spoons dont look bad for your early attempts. Is that a phantom?



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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Quote Originally Posted by Roadrunner11 View Post
    Is that a phantom?
    I'm sorry, did I say I dropped some $$? I really dropped some $$$$ lol. The Phantom design appealed to me because I could run it center fire only and effectively get a smaller Lynx to start off with, I wasn't obligated to learn how to operate a large torch right off the bat. I learned to solder on a plugin weller and while it sucked, I could learn on it. The minute I needed to do fine-pitch drag soldering tho, I had to upgrade to a soldering iron with a controlled temp tip, etc, and I assume a lot of the same principles apply here. If I'm going to get serious, I might as well start on a serious tool rather than having to upgrade shortly.

    Speaking of upgrades, my kiln has arrived! Sort of. I ordered a Paragon Bluebird XL from MGA and its setup differently than the picture on the website, and not in a good way.



    An important weld was missed (no bead at all) on the right handle. It came out of the box all bend up and did not line up with either of the close/open magnets. I did my best to bend it back into position but I'm pretty sure the rear weld will flex every time I open and close it and will eventually fatigue and fail prematurely.


    The finish is hot trash and is rubbing off everywhere there is movement or an edge. I presume it will continue to flake off and I'll end up with peeling finish everywhere.


    I was hoping this upside down label warned you not to run the kiln while upside down but 1) it may actually work fine in that orientation and 2) the hard to read upside down warning label was actually telling you to read the manual. No biggie but looks pretty dumb, thanks whoever stuck that on upside down.

    I am less than impressed with the build quality on this unit for the price, I hope it will at least power on and get warm but my expectations at this point have been significantly lowered! I'll have to wait to find out tho, because the cable is terminated with a different style of plug than my wall. Electrically compatible but not physically compatible and due to the ~*~plague~*~ I can't just go buy an adapter and Amazon has a week turnaround. I'm excited to fire it up and find out, assuming I don't end up needing to mail it back due to cosmetic issues.


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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Here is a post with some glass in it, thankfully.

    A little spoon practice a few days ago, including my first inside out attempt.


    My first inside out spoon! I flared a tube, added a bunch of rando color, and then brought it back together and formed it. Unfortunately, I caught the bowl with the bottom when I flattened it and it cracked during bench cooling. While working the piece I had a heck of a time keeping the blowtube end from cracking into a million shards but they seemed to form back together OK. Very imperfect (and not usable) but very educational.


    Lined a tube with some color and twisted it slightly. I really like how the GA Amazon Night looks once it starts to get thin, it reminds me a lot of fuming. I've been having more success with color surviving bench cooling now that I'm getting the pieces hotter and melting it in better.


    Random extra color drawn onto a blank and then formed into a spoon.

  6. #6

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    damn dude tough card on the kiln coming that way! if you do end up sending it back, consider a jenken chilipepper. i believe u might have a little more room in the bluebird though. u gotta get it going if ur stuff is gonna survive at any predictable rate.
    Anyway, you're off to a good start. If you have any questions, hit this forum. These guys are badass around here and extremely generous. I'm qualified to answer simple spoon questions at least.
    I will say this, and its a matter of opinion and has been discussed here somewhere: When you push your bowl, try to push it at an angle, and that means popping your bowl hole lower on the bubble instead of directly on top. see crappy drawing below. The bottom sketch is around where i try to pop them.


  7. #7

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    I got the same kiln just a month or 2 ago, the wire nuts that connect the power cable to the rest of the componets were not tightened properly and failed within a week or 2 of use. Had to open the kiln and replace them to get it running again. Theyre quality control is absolute dog shit aparently. I concur with road runner though.

    The secret to a good bowl push that no one will tell you: pop the hole off axis to the center towards you, put the point/blow tube in your mouth then the pipe to the torch marver/graphite pad then push the bowl after the bowls pushed leave the pusg in the bowl and blow into the blow tube to push the glass around the bowl push. You can use the angle from your mouth to the graphite pad/marver to set the angle of the bowl push.

    If youre gonna be making spoons learn to pull points and do blow tubes.

    Blow tubes teach you welds but pulling points is crucial to getting work done in a timely manner.


  8. #8

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Also if you dont have a kiln you can flame anneal pieces to increase their chances of surviving a bench cool.

    From a neutral flame add propane till ots more of a flame than a torch. Heat glass evenly in flame, then slowly cool it down by not exposing it to the flame as often.

    Hinestly though with spoon pipes once you get the wall thickness down and even theres little to fear from bench cooling so long as its not certain colors.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Well, I promised a mess and by golly, I'm going to deliver a mess! Not everything has turned out well. Beyond the popped bubbles, dropped blanks, and general failures I ended up with some doozies.


    A tiny blowout attempt with color lines. Really early and relatively successful for what I was going for but I didn't end up with enough material to make anything.


    My first try at a coil pot. I accidentally blew it out too thin trying to get it to the right size and wasn't able to recover. I don't think there was enough material to go as large as I was aiming here.


    I tried to make a Topaz color tube into a large tube but I overblew the bowl and then it shattered.


    The wrong part was hot when I tried to blow out the bowl and this got away from me while I was trying to fix it. Def not the shape I was aiming for!

    I can already feel myself getting better at saving parts. The topaz piece is a few weeks old and I suspect I could have saved it now.


    Practice efforts from a couple of nights ago.


    Warm up spoon, concentrating on form.


    Light green linework #1


    Light green linework #2


    Tried drizzling on some blue color onto my practice spoon. The second blank did not survive while I worked the first, I suspect this is a case where garaging would have made all the difference.


    Bit of fume practice, fumed section cracked during bench cooling.


    Tried drizzling on some magic white onto my practice spoon #1. Mouthpiece color is not melted in enough, should have swapped the blowtube to the other side to clean it up and form it the other way around.


    Tried drizzling on some magic white onto my practice spoon #2.


    I tried really opening the tube out for some fluming, but blew all of the fume off while trying to close the form up so I halfassed the bowl and just finished it real quick.



    https://i.imgur.com/0z0FnDh.mp4
    Also, my first donut! That was an interesting shape to achieve and I want to do more of them.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    And that gets us caught up to today! Last night I tried to make a few more donuts because, why not? It gives me a target shape to practice skills with and seems as good as any, except I'm not very good with them yet.


    I made a quick blank by coilpotting magic white and putting a couple of lines of black and twisting it. Not a clean or interesting wigwag but an interesting first shot at something similar. I had trouble with the tube "folding' a bit, I suspect it was too think (maybe?) and I was getting too wide of an area hot and mobile.

    https://i.imgur.com/cU4hkrw.mp4
    I was reasonably happy with how it turned out.


    I then proceeded to turn it into some garbage because I failed at making the donut. I went to collapse the thin tube into a single bubble and it ended up getting away from me.


    I made another blank similarly, but added a bunch of clear all over. It was looking interesting enough I was worried about losing another blank so I flipped it into a spoon really quick. I love this look!


    It's hard to capture with images but the spoon has different amounts of clear striped on, some areas are transparent from 100% clear and others are flat white from 0% clear. All sorts of neat eye catching effects of depth inside the spoon that don't come out in pictures.


    Here is a better bowl shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roadrunner11 View Post
    I will say this, and its a matter of opinion and has been discussed here somewhere: When you push your bowl, try to push it at an angle, and that means popping your bowl hole lower on the bubble instead of directly on top. see crappy drawing below.
    Thanks for the idea, I put the hole back a little farther than I have been aiming and I like it a lot. I'll put the next few farther back yet and experiment some more, thanks for the idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by birdsarentreal View Post
    The secret to a good bowl push that no one will tell you: pop the hole off axis to the center towards you, put the point/blow tube in your mouth then the pipe to the torch marver/graphite pad then push the bowl after the bowls pushed leave the pusg in the bowl and blow into the blow tube to push the glass around the bowl push. You can use the angle from your mouth to the graphite pad/marver to set the angle of the bowl push.
    Well, apparently it's a secret that you'll tell me, lol. I didn't see this til after the last sesh but I'll give this a try shortly.

    Quote Originally Posted by birdsarentreal View Post
    If youre gonna be making spoons learn to pull points and do blow tubes.

    Blow tubes teach you welds but pulling points is crucial to getting work done in a timely manner.
    I tried some points on my last practice session and I am not a fan! I think I needed to pull them a bit longer and thicker but I'm feeling OK practicing attaching blow tubes. Next time I break down a 25mm tube I'll give pulling points another try - I feel silly that the easy wasteful way is escaping me.

  11. #11

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    you dont always need a point (i havent used them in a while) but its a skill you will always be glad you practiced bc it transfers to everything else in glass. so much to learn from that simple exercise like even heat base, even rotation, muscle memory, visual plumbness. they rotate your piece alot faster too. i havent used a point in 7 mnths but its like pushing murias and picking holes open. you should do all of these alot until you can do them in your sleep. A wise hombre by the name of Sparko told me that and it helped alot.


  12. #12

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Everyones different when it comes to blow tube vs point pulling but i will say that when i was working in my dads shop i had to make 200 spoon pipes a week bare minimum and theres no way in hell i could do that using blowtubes.

    If you plan on making money on spoons with out making everything a heady youre probably gonna want to learn to pull points. That or get really fast with blow tubes.

    That being said keep up the work there buddy i see progress in what youve posted for sure.


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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Thanks for all the feedback and kind words. I fully plan to get around to points, but I've got a lot to learn atm but at least the curve is steep - every piece feels better and looks better than the last. I have an old spoon that I completely blew picking out the mouthhole and just gave up after awhile. I've got at least one technique for that coming along nicely now and that feels pretty awesome. I've got a bit of O2 left in one of my K tanks to burn through tonight and then I'll get some new tanks for weekend hijinx, I just need to decide what to make. By then I should be able to stick pieces in a warm kiln when I'm not working them which I'm hoping will allow me to ping ping between a couple of pieces more successfully than I have been.

    I've got some plans to do vacstack tubing as an experiment, and I think I have all the equipment now, but I'm worried about destroying a lot of material if I screw it up. I think I want to make color tubing using another method, and I think my next long practice session may be breaking down a 32mm tube, pulling points, and trying to do some blowins. I feel like that will get me some encased color to form afterwards into whatever shape I'm interested in, probably more spoons but I want to try some one piece sherlocks too.

  14. #14

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    ya man you're on the right track. you can get into a groove where you hit one technique or 2 for a couple weeks, switch it up. I've been practicing lined tubing snd opal encasement and raised carbs for a few weeks and i feel the honeycomb calling me. I love encalmo work and im getting better at 1pc sherlocks. Theres so much to work on, pick the ones you enjoy, the styles and techniques that are like "Damn i love that", and get the fundamentals down by having sessions like you're doing. Breaking down tubing, making clean blanks, coilpotting tubing, the prep is all very important and makes a better final piece when u get better at that as well.
    If you have color rod, you can do some stickstack to make lined tubing and start learning that. Vacstack isnt terribly expensive. You can get a nice piece of it for about $40 and get maybe 8-10 attempts out of it. Either way, its paying for your education.



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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess



    The graphite rods are the two tools from the MGA starter pack that I haven't found a good use for, plus I split the small one pulling it out of the packaging like an ape. Would the larger one be appropriate for a stick stack? I'm thinking like the revere video about the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw296RcZhuU. The copper coating makes me worried this is intended for something else but with dedicated reamers and bowl pushes, I don't know what I would use these for.



    I bought a rod of quartz to use as a fuming rod, and I'm worried about getting it mixed up in my punties. At least once it hits the flame it will obviously not be normal glass because it will never melt! I ended up marking the rod and my broken off piece with some high temp sharpie to help keep them apart. Is there another trick here?

  16. #16

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    i have a V blade off to my right that i lean my fuming rods on. if i nd the Vblade i move the rods off and slide it over. u could put them in a heavy cup or a brick. I glued two 24's together and screwed holes in it to hold stuff. All my hand tools rest on a 1x2 strip to my right within grabbing reach. its just enough to keep them off the bench and stay a little cleaner. I like being able to see them all and grab them palm down. You'll figure out a setup that works for you. If something doesnt feel like its in a good spot, move it to where it makes sense. For example, my shop is setup with most of my raw material to my left or underneath bench (some is on racks up higher), kiln on the right with door facing me, next to that is storage for finished pieces and behind me is a table with shipping supplies , scale, and photobox. So production kind of moves in a circle and makes sense to me.

    As far as the graphite rods, i havent seen them with copper coating before, but i would use it for stickstack. you can use fairly short rods to start, maybe 4" (ive used smaller), enough to do a couple reversals and get used to controlling a small amount with no cracks, then stepping up to more material and getting some vacstack, or just get some vacstack now

    One more thing that helps alot is drawing measurement lines on the edge of your bench.



  17. #17
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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    The graphite rods you have are actually carbon gouging rods. When used with an arc welder and a compressed air source of rather regular air or O2, it will turn welds to slag. The copper coating is used on the rods for strength. I use them often in my day job. For glass purposes you can easily peel back the copper coating. Just use a razor blade to get it started and unwind as much as you need. Keeping the copper on the rod makes it less messy to handle. I personally use them as tiny reamers and to block off holes. Also works pretty slick for flaring blow tubes if you don’t have jacks.

    As for my quartz, I’ve got 3” wide blue painters tape on the end of my fuming rods so I can keep track of them and not mix them up with anything. But like you said, once you get them in the flame, you’ll know what it is.

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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    Great, thanks for the info folks. Between the last two glass sales (pyrex last week and chinese tubes this week) I have enough clear tubing variety to keep me busy for a while. Now I'm trying to figure out how to store a decent number of 25(p) and 32(c), along with a few larger sizes (50, 70) for vacstacks down the road. Along with a couple chinese tubes to fill out my size range, I ordered some colored tubing as well.

    How do you process in coming tubes? Leave 'em as is? Split them into quarters for storage? I've left the clear whole and just split them as I've used them, but I presplit the color tubes and flame polished the ends. Is that a good idea? Am I going to end up in crack city when I reheat them and use them?

    I'm trying to figure out how to label my handful of singletons (some simax to play with, a couple of oneoff sizes, previously mentioned quartz, etc). Even inventorying & storage is an adventure!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    I don’t do much with my tubing until I need it. I pull out single pieces and break them down when I’m ready for them. As for labeling, I use sharpie. It burns off in the flame or wipes away with alcohol when you go to clean the glass for use. Clear and color rods go into their own slots of a cubby hole cube thing I made. A google image search can give you some good ideas. Import tubing can be a bit shocky, especially the blue and black. When I want to use Chinese color tube I make sure to clean the dog piss out of it both inside and out and place it on top of my kiln to warm up for a while. It helps dry the inside and as long as it’s not up there for hours it’s cool enough to handle and I can be a bit more aggressive working it into the flame as opposed to a cold tube. Break it down from there as you need it and then you can always preheat your blanks in your kiln from there.

    Flame polishing the ends of your tube won’t necessarily cause them to crack when you go to work them. Just be nice with them. Like I said, some colors thermal shock more then others.

  20. #20

    Default Re: M0xxy makes a mess

    clean the dog piss outta them lol ya i agree, keeping tubing in the box keeps them cleaner until u nd them. still have to wipe them down before u use. windex works for me.


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