Delayed glass pics

Months ago my wife got me a class with a hot glass worker here in town. It was a lot of fun. I had some pictures from the experience on my cell phone which I just got around to uploading.

This is where a lot of the magic happens. It's all industrial, so it's only exciting if you're a geek, which fortunately I am. This is the main furnace, which houses the crucible of clear glass. This one is electrical, and runs constantly. I think the little number in the box on the right is the temperature setting.
You open the metal door using the foot pedal that's just below the frame, put the blow pipe into the bucket of hot glass, and gather a blob of glass on it. From there, you shape the blob a bit at this station:
You sit on the other side of the corrugated sheet, on the bench. If you look carefully you can pick out the two steel rails that are like wide arm rests. The blow pipe rests on those as you shape the piece, allowing you to roll it back and forth evenly with relatively little chance of catching yourself on fire. From what I've seen it looks like medieval glass workers rolled their blow pipes on their thighs, possibly on a leather pad. It takes a bit more skill to do that. The bowl of broken glass at the bottom of the corrugated sheet is where all the little broken bits fall when pieces are removed. You can see diamond sheers (named for the diamond shape, not the stone), jacks (like giant tweezers) and various wooden blocks and cups in the water bucket behind that. The big black box is a fan.
When we had the big blob of molten glass in a workable shape, we added colored glass with the same coefficient of expansion from the assortment over at this bench:

The bowls of what looks like sand on the right are frit, crushed glass. There are rods on the left which we used to make my candy bowl and paper weight (which turned out to be very useful while filing taxes with the ceiling fan on). The little furnace in the middle got the glass warmed up, and then we just roll the clear blob in it and take it over to the steel rails to shape.

Sorry only one of the rails is really in focus. You can see the water bucket more clearly, the jacks, and even the wet newspaper which is used for some shaping. These next guys are optical molds:
You push your glass into them to get textures on the outside. I used the ridged one on the bottom right to make this piece. You plunge the glass in to get the ridges, and then roll it on a marver to get a twist. You can then shape the glass with the wet wooden cups and such without loosing all the ridges.
The last big step is annealing the glass, cooling it slowly to reduce the stresses and avoid cracking, which happens in the steel midget coffin to the left below.
After that, the base of most pieces is sanded on a diamond sander to keep them from scratching your table.
Thanks again, Stef! It was awesome!


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