What Tools Do You Need for Glassblowing?

Learn from expert Ed Donovan about the glassblowing tools you need to blow glass yourself in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name's Ed Donovan, I'm here at DC GlassWorks. You can find us at dcglassworks.com. We are a public access glass blowing facility, we also do metal and metal casting and welding. We are primarily a teaching facility, we want to share with people the magic of glass blowing. It's an amazing substance. And today, I'm going to be talking to you about glass blowing. So what do you need to be a glass blower? Essentially, you need a studio space - fairly large, you have quite a bit of equipment that you need to use. The most important, obviously, is a furnace, because without the furnace you don't have molten glass. The furnace is any size, we have a crucible that holds 500 pounds of glass, but you can certainly get them quite a bit smaller than that. They even have what's called a day furnace, which you can turn on and off at the time that you're going to use it. If you're not going to be using molten glass every day, you can literally turn it on when you need it. It does take a while to heat up. Our furnace, at 500 pounds, usually takes, from room temperature, approximately a week to get up to working temperature, which is 2080 degrees. Also the glory hole, or the reheating furnace, you can't do glass without that because glass cools very quickly, and when it's cool you can't shape it, so it has to be hot. So you have the glory hole, your basic working space is your bench, and on your bench your hand tools: your jacks, tweezers, straight shears and diamond shears. Also newspaper, if you would like to use that as a shaping tool. And then also your blocks you need, varying sizes of blocks depending on how big you're going to make your glass. Each time you gather you, of course, increase the volume of glass exponentially, and therefore it's a block that you need, a larger and larger block each time you gather. You also need, essentially, the very least, one small annealer, and an annealer is where the glass cools down. So you start with 2080 degrees, as you work the glass and finish and put the piece away its at roughly around 15 to 1400 degrees. And so the annealer, which is sitting at about a thousand degrees, over about a twelve hour period depending on the size and the thickness of the pieces that you're using, or putting into it, will bring that down to room temperature, over about a twelve to fourteen hour period. Those are the basic tools necessary to be a glass blower.

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