How can we define glass blowing?
Actually, as the name suggests, it is a process that involves the blowing of air into a tube for the purpose of making the molten glass into various sculptures or objects. Actually, this process began in a country called Syria, some 2000 years ago. It was until 1960’s when it was introduced in the universities in the USA, for people to study it.
What are the tools used for glass blowing?
Since it is a process of coming up with different objects from molten glass, you definitely need to have the necessary tools in your glass blowing kits for the job. Actually, it is considered to be one of the dangerous activities, when one is not keen. The equipment needed is for ensuring that the gaffer (glass blower) is safe from any accident.
What materials are needed?
Fluxes: these may include some ingredients like natron, which is mixed with the glass for the purpose of stiffening it and bringing down its melting point.
Glass: it is actually gotten from sand that is purified, commonly known as silica. If silica is not available, one can use recycled glass.
What a glass blowing kit should contain
Tweezers: this is a tool that resembles that one in many bathrooms. The difference is that it is bigger, and its purpose is to safely hold the glass that is hot, and transfer it to the pontil, from the pipe.
Pipe: this is a tube made out of metal that is used by the gaffers to put together or gather the glass that is in a molten form. Also, it is used for blowing air into the glass.
Jacks: it is a type of tool that is bladed. Its function is to make sure that the glass side walls are properly shaped.
Marver: it is a tool made out of graphite, steel, or brass, that is used to shape the hot glass.
Puffer and steam stick: the two tools are used by the gaffer to prolong or expand the glass. This expansion occurs when the glass is out of the pipe. Most steam stick are made out of wood, and before being used, they have to be wet.
Shears: they come in two different shapes: diamond, and straight shears. Their work is to cut and constrict the glass when it is still warm and soft.
Pyrometer: it is actually a device that gaffers use to measure the kiln’s or furnaces’ temperatures.
Safety gear: this consists of shoes that are closed toed, goggles or protective eye wear to keep your eyes from the bright light and any flame or sparks that can get into your eyes.
Paddles: they are tools used to shape the glass that is in molten form. The best ones are made out of fine grained material
Mandrels: they are used to make glass beads
In short, a complete glass blowing kit should have the above tools and equipment for the process to be successful. With the kit, what you will need is to have a propane tank, oxygen tank, a torch, and a well ventilated work place.