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How to Use a Blow Pipe in Glassblowing

Learn how to use a blow pipe from expert Ed Donovan in this Howcast video about glassblowing.


Hi, my name is Ed Donovan. I'm here at DC GlassWorks, you can find us at 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. The blow pipe, it's fundamental in glass blowing. Without it you can't really do anything because you have to use it in order to put air into the bubble. It is a hollow steel tube which you're going to blow into at this end here. Essentially when you first pick up your blow pipe you want to check it by blowing through the end, just like I just did, to make sure that there's no trapped glass on the end of it here. Which would be really frustrating if you were to put your glass on here and then not be able to add air to the bubble and not knowing why. So, always blow through it- basic steps to understanding what you want to do with the blow pipe. Now, the other thing is you want this tip here to be warm before you go into the furnace to gather. So, you're going to insert that into the glory hole to give it a little bit of heat before we start gathering glass. That does two things: One, if there's any excess glass here from the previous user on here, putting it in the glory hole is going to shock that glass, it's going to pop off, and then its going to heat the tip of the pipe here so that when you gather your glass you're going to have a nice even gather on here. If you go in with a cold pipe you're more than likely going to get bubbles, so you always want to do a little bit of a preheat on the end. And the other thing that you really want to be aware of when you're using a blow pipe, it's super important it's more about the glass than the pipe but you have to keep the pipe turning. The glass is going to react to the turn, it's also reacting to gravity at all times so you just want to make sure that your pipe is constantly turning. You're holding the pipe left handed, underhand, right hand, over-hand. And you're keeping it waist level so it's comfortable and you're keeping it nice and level. And those are essentially the basics of pipe handling.

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