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Terminology of Flameworking (lampworking)

I would like to call attention to the fact that when I type an article about lampworking the computer constantly tells me it doesn’t recognize the words I’m using. This is proof that our skill set is infinite. We are creating new words.

As we all know a lot of boro flame workers have very little standardized instruction. Most of us just picked it up and ran. We all have different names for some of the same technique. Industry wide standardized terminology will be essential to our continued success. I’m offering these terms as a starting point. If you have suggestions please contact us.

Annealing: The process of baking glass in order to relieve stress, and slowly cool it to room temperature being sure not to reintroducing stress by crashing the temperature to quickly.

Bead mandrel: Rods or tube usually made of stainless steel, used for the purpose of giving the artist a handle and place to start making a bead.

Bead Release: A sludgy material used for coating bead mandrels to keep the glass from permanently adhering to the mandrel. Release is usually made from water and silica powder.

Blast Shield™: A piece of glass mounted on the torch usually in combination with a Torch marver for the purpose of shielding the artist from fumes and heat while working. See Picture. Visit the Blast Shield Web site.

Blowing: breathing into the tube in order to expand the hot glass.

Blow tube: usually a small diameter tube 10-12mm x 12' long flared out on one end and attached to larger tubing making the large tube easier to spin.

Blow hose: a hose attached to a blow tube used for expanding hot glass, usually made of hospital grade latex tubing. See Picture.

Claw: also called a grabber , this tool is made of stainless steel, with 7 or more thin rods arranged in a circle, with a screw down tension ring. It is used to grab a hot piece of glass in order to get it into the kiln, once it is pulled off of the blow tube. See Picture.

C.O.E. or Coefficiency of Expansion: The rate at that glass cools.

Cold seal: it is referred to as a cold seal because either the punty or the work are slightly cooler than the other when the punty (see below) is attached.

Common flame working torch Manufacturers: Glass Torch Technologies, Carlisle, Bethlehem, Herbert Arnold, Nortel Manufacturing.

Dichroic: glass with a thin metal coating on one side, the coating is at most about 4 millionths of an inch thick. This process is known as thin film deposition. It is achieved by plates of glass in a kiln, which also contains a crucible. Some metals are placed in the crucible. The kiln is drawn under a vacuum. A laser vaporizes the metals and a thin metal coating is deposited on the glass.

Dichroic image: A laser or photo resist process allows for selectively etching away the dichroic in patterns of images or logos. See Picture.

Digital controller: A controller that will allow you to precisely control the temperature inside the kiln. They are also programmable so that the artist may predetermine different settings to accomplish various tasks. See Picture.

Encalmo: Encalmo is the Italian term for when two different glass bubbles are fused into one single volume. See example here.

Fiber blanket: Refractory material in the form of a blanket. Hot beads are usually placed between two layers for the purpose of slowly cooling them when it's not possible to get them in a kiln immediately.

Flaring: making the open end of a tube larger in diameter most commonly with a octagonal reamer, or a arrowhead shaped flaring tool.

Flashback arrestors: Brass fittings that are placed in the oxygen and gas lines and are designed to keep explosions from happening. If the gas in the delivery lines were to catch fire it wouldn't get to the gas inside the tanks.

Foot pedal: used on multi stage torches to turn the outer burner on or off. See Picture.

Fuming: using a piece of .999 silver or 24 Karat gold to impart a metallic coating on the glass, by heating it in the flame on the end of a rod.

Fusing: The process of using a digital controlled kiln to melt glass to the point that layers or pieces of glass become one solidified piece of work.

Gathering: condensing and making the glass thicker in order to shape.

Graphite: a high density form of Carbon, used to flare, push and manipulate the glass. Usually comes in large flat plates, or round rods of various sizes. See Picture.

Graphite paper: Is placed between ground joint fittings for easier separation of the male and female parts of the joint. See Picture.

Ground Joint: A molded tube with a taper, either in the female shape or male shape. The male is ground rough on the outside, the female is ground rough on the inside so they fit together well, and the male fits inside of the female. See Picture.

Hardy backer: also called tile backer or fire board, this is a fire proof board that you put on the walls and table tops of the shop for fire resistance.

Hose clamp: Fits around the gas hose to clamp it down to fittings to prevent leaks. See Picture.

Infinite switch: A manual controller for controlling the temperature of the kiln. See Picture.

Inline regulator: A small brass fitting that normally T's off of the gas or fuel hose. It's used for controlling gases very accurately, in smaller increments. See Picture.

Kiln: An oven made of refractory brick a pyrometer and controller come standard. There are two kinds of kilns front loaders and top loaders.

Kiln wash: A refractory material that is applied to the inside of the kiln in order to keep molten glass from permanently adhering to it. It is commonly in the form of powder, which is mixed with water to form a paste.

Lampworking: Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with a variety of tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking. Lampworking differs from glassblowing in that glassblowing utilizes a blowpipe to inflate a glass blob known as a gob or gather, thereby inflating it by blowing air into the blowpipe, whereas, lampworking manipulates glass either by the use of tools, gravity, or by blowing directly into the end of a glass tube.

Lathe: a machine that holds glass rod and tubing while spinning it for the shaping process.

Line tool: A Graphite tool that holds color rods in place inside a tube for the purpose of decorating the tube with lines of color. See Picture.

Marver: a flat surface used to shape hot glass, usually made of graphite.

Millifiori: also called murrinni, these canes have patterns of color from one end of the rod to the other, when sliced like bread each chip will have an identical picture. See Picture.

Multistage torches: Are multiple torches in one. Consisting of the center fire and outer fire. On three stage torches a larger outer fire. Each stage of the torch has its own set of gas/fuel control knobs, and inlet ports for gases.

Prep work: Any work prepared for incorporation into a larger piece of work.

Punty: a glass rod or tube utilized as a temporary handle when manipulating glass.

Refractory material: materials that are naturally resistant to heat, refractory come in the form of powder, paper, bricks, and molds. See Picture.

Regulators: Brass fitting complete with gauges that control the flow of gas and fuel from the tanks to the torch. See Picture.

Ribbon rod: rods with multiple colors throughout, usually twisted, these rods are commonly called lattchino, and fill agree.

Stringer: A thin long piece of rod usually colored, used for the purpose of decoration.

Stuff & Puff: A technique whereby a small diameter molten colored tube is inserted into a pre-heated larger tube: Then expanded with a puff of air to coat the inside of the larger tube. These are then melted together to make a single tube with a colored interior.

Stump sucker: A tool used for the purpose of encasing small sculpture in a molten marble.

Swivel: a brass fitting that goes between the blow hose and blow tube, it keeps your blow hose from twisting up when you spin the glass. See Picture.

Tearing: removing unwanted glass and debris from a tube or rod with tweezers, or pliers, or a glass rod. This technique is also good for opening holes up on the end of a tube.

Thermal Shock: Thermal shock is the name given to cracking as a result of rapid temperature change. Glass objects are particularly vulnerable to this form of failure, due to their low toughness, low thermal conductivity, and high thermal expansion coefficients.

Thermal shock occurs when a thermal gradient causes different parts of an object to expand by different amounts. This differential expansion can be understood in terms of stress or of strain, equivalently. At some point, this stress overcomes the strength of the material, causing a crack to form. If nothing stops this crack from propagating through the material, it will cause the object's structure to fail. See video of Thermal Shock.

Torch Marver: A marver mounted to the torch, usually by machined parts or nuts and bolts. See Picture.

Tungsten rod, or pick: a rod made of tungsten sharpened to a point, used to poke holes through glass, and to pop unwanted bubbles in glass, and rake color in a pattern on the tube. See Picture.


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