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How to Shape Glass in Glassblowing

Learn how to shape glass from glassblowing expert Ed Donovan in this Howcast video.


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 is an amazing substance and today I'm gonna be talking to you about glass-blowing. There’s a lot of techniques for shaping glass. Uh, the first one you’re gonna use when you gather your initial gather is the marver. Uh, its’ essentially a steel table, pretty thick table so that it doesn’t get overly hot too fast and uh change in its shape so usually it’s at least a half inch to three quarter inch steel uh plate that’s uh been ground and polished. Uh, it’s used in a very simple manner, you’re gonna lower your right hand and turn quickly over the surface of the steel and as you lift your hands up to level, you’re pushing the glass off the end of the pipe creating a nice cylinder on the end of the pipe. Uh, that’s the most basic use of the marver and shaping the glass. Other techniques for shaping glass are the newspaper uh, which is just uh essentially a piece of newspaper that you get at any news box, you fold it a certain way uh then get it wet and as long as it stays wet, uh you can use that to shape the glass, essentially the glass is riding on the steam that’s created by the wet newspaper. Um, also the jacks; very, very important tool, the very the most basic tool for glassblowing that you have. Every bench has to have one. And then the blocks, which are usually a fruit wood, and they are always kept wet. They’re also used in a similar manner as the newspaper. The steam that’s created by the water in the block allows the glass to slide. Uh, you always want to keep the newspaper and the blocks wet so that the steam is kept constantly generated. If the newspaper or the block becomes too dry, they just start to burn and that burning ember from the wood or the newspaper will stick to your glass and it will mar the glass. It will actually create a cloud on your glass that’s uh impossible to get away. So you always want to make sure that you’re wetting your blocks and your newspapers. Um and those are the uh essential shaping tools for glass.

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