Here are some pictures of the types of tools that are used in beadmaking.
Tools used for lampworking can be purchased or sometimes handmade. You would be amazed at the ingenious things artists come up with! I’ll some you just some of them here. As with any art form there are also very expensive tools that can greatly add to the pleasure and ease of creation as well as the beauty of the finished piece…..
Lets start with …….
the rods come in so many colors and you can never have too many! I work mostly with ‘soft’ glass also known commonly as Effetre though there are other brands as well. Some glass ‘strikes’ (changes color) when heated, cooled and touched back into the flame.
Safety Glasses, Respirator, Fire extinguisher
protection is the first step!
you need fresh air coming from the outside and a strong blower/fan to pull the air out. I have a fresh air intake built right into my table top! It’s the round circle underneath the clock (covered in wire mesh) served by a 10″ duct to an outside window. The blower is on the other end of the duct up by the ceiling.
Mandrels and Bead release
I usually use 3 different sizes of mandrels; 1/16, 1/8, 3/32. You can see the 2 in the wooden holder have already been dipped in bead release and are air drying. The release prevents the bead from sticking to the metal. Bead release needs to be thoroughly cleaned out of the finished beads.
The view from the drivers seat 🙂 The red knob on the left controls the Propane, the green on the right handles the Oxygen.
The tank I use is EXACTLY the same as the one on the BBQ. In fact I have been known to switch them out when I run low. I keep my tank in this protected box OUTSIDE of my house (safety regulations again) I bring my hose up from the basement through that white PVC pipe that and then into the propane box through that little hole.
I started with the green oxygen tank with regulators. Recently I got an Oxygen Concentrator that makes it’s own oxygen so I never run out!! No more lugging the tank up the basement stairs, out to the car, into the welding shop for a refill…….
Electric Mandrel Spinner
Insert the mandrel into the tool and then hold the tool like a pen. It significantly reduces thumb and hand strain and spins more evenly than I ever could! (Created by glass artist Scott Bouwen)
Shapers, Marvers, Presses
Lots of tools to pinch. pull and generally work the molten glass. Usually made of Graphite and Brass
Similar to glass you can NEVER have too much frit! It’s crushed glass that you embed in your bead or decorate the surface with it. Pour it into the ‘frit boat’ and roll the hot bead in it. Then melt back into the bead.