There is no doubt about it, glassblowing can be exciting. If you are reading this now then you are seriously considering learning. If this is the case then you need to be serious because blowing glass is a serious business. It can be safe when you follow the proper procedures and work in the proper conditions but there are still some dangers involved. You need to remember that you are working with glass at extreme temperatures. Due to this there are some things that are necessary for you to know. This article is a good starting point.
This industry is regulated because of the potential dangers that are involved. What this means for you is that state authorities need to inspect the place you intend on blowing the glass. Each state has different regulations so you will definitely need to check with your state to get the specifics. I can not help you with this because I do not know the exact area that you live. It has to be your own responsibility to ensure that your work area meets your state’s criteria.
In basic terms the art of glassblowing is really inflating molten glass into a bubble. Obviously in order to do this you must work with extreme temperatures. The inflating is completed with what we call a blowpipe or blow tube. The person who does this is called a glassblower, gaffer, or glassmith.
Essentially there are two different types of glassblowing. These are off hand glassblowing and lampworking. Each of these types involves using molten glass and a stainless steel rod or iron which is called a punty. The difference between the two types is in the process that is used to heat and manipulate the glass.
If you use off hand glassblowing techniques you will need three furnaces. The first furnace is holds the hot molten glass, the second furnace heats and reheats the glass, and the third furnace is where the glass cools. With the lampworking technique a flame is created by breath or bellows and an alcohol lamp. Usually when applied today this method is used to create things like test tubes for laboratories.
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