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Glass Blowing

Sep 16, 2008
Glass blowing is a glass-forming technique which deals with molten glass inflation.

Glass blowing can be done by using a blowpipe or blowtube.

Glass Blowing Method:

- Free-blowing

This method deals with the blowing of short air puffs into a glass portion which is gathered at one blowpipe end. This results in having an elastic skin on both walls of the glass which is easier to shape.

One of the best blowpipes for free blowing is the clay pipe. As a tool, it is easy to handle, manipulate and is practical. One of the best techniques created was applied while making Portland Vase. It is a mixture of blue and white overlaying glass.

- Mold-blowing

This method is also based on the free blowing method. The difference is that the shape of the glass is mold dependent. It involves molten glass inflated into a wooden or metal carved mold.

There are two types of mold: single-piece mold and multi-piece mold. The single piece mold means the vessel is removed by one pull movement. Single piece mold is effective for vessels and tableware pieces.

On the other hand, multi piece mold means vessel is molded in a multi paneled type. This would allow for creation of more complex designs and texture glass objects. One good example is the roman leaf beaker displayed in a museum.

Three furnaces of glass blowing:

* furnace contains a crucible of molten glass
* glory hole for reheating
* lehr or annealer for slow cooling

Glassblower's Workstation

The glassblower's bench is his workstation. It is where he sits, and places his tools. It is also where two rails function as pipe holder while the blower works with the piece. It can be made from steel and hardwood. Others are welded tubular steel with redwood bench seat.

Other manufacturers offer benches with ergonomic support that facilitates gaffer operations. This is to lessen strain and discomfort. Some also include detachable tool trays.

The bench top measures five 5 feet long and thirty inches deep. It should be non flammable with a back shield. It should be flat and smooth surfaced. It should be sturdy since it is where the burner sits.

The marver table is where the molten glass is rolled. Traditionally, it used to be a flat slab of marble. Now it's made of thick flat steel. Some marver tables are custom made depending on user's dimensions.

Nowadays market offers so many aids or work tools and devices. Some of these include: pipe turners, pipe coolers, heat shields, choppers and yokes.

Glass Blowing As a Science

Glass is a mixture of soda, lime, sand and heat. The main components are natural ingredients. The process it goes thru is scientific and temperature applied is measured.

It becomes a science when one wants to be professional with complex glass apparatus and glass systems. Some scientific devices created are glow tubes, filament lamps and thermionic devices.

Glass Blowing As an Art

When the blowing procedure takes place in the glass making process, it becomes an art. Some say scientific glass blowing techniques are applicable to the artistic one. This involves off hand creations of colored glasses.

Safety Tips on Glass Blowing

* The use of heavy welding gloves and the proper tools can protect one from severe burn and pain.

* Practice makes perfect.

* Electric furnace is better than gas furnace. It is controllable, quieter and environment friendly. However it is more expensive.

* Glass blowing lessons should be taught by a professional.

* It is advisable to use safety glasses or goggles to protect the eyes.

* It takes patience to learn the craft.
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