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Getting Started: Flameworking Equipment

Posted on 8th May 2014
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Flameworking (or torchworking or lampworking) is the process of working with glass (usually glass rods) over a hot flame. It is most commonly associated with glass bead making.  Beautiful and intricate beads can be made with this method. The work is then annealed in a kiln to prevent weaknesses in the glass.

Bullseye RodsThis week we are offering 20% off all Bullseye rods, so if you fancy having a go, we have put together a list of things you will need to get you started:

Before anything else, we would recommend getting a good book on the subject, such as The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking, by Kimberly Adams.  Even better, go on a taster course to see if you like it. We run a Hot Glass Flameworking one day taster class at various times through the year (the next one is on July 25th 2014).

Here are the other essential pieces of kit you will need to get you started:

  • Bracket for HotheadA torch – we would recommend the Hot Head Torch for beginners. They use standard Mapp gas canisters available from most DIY stores.
  • A torch holder – to keep your torch steady and safe when not in use.
  • Didymium Goggles – to protect your eyes from both the light and the glass. Essential!
  • Gloves & dust mask - basic safety equipment for any glass work.
  • An annealing kiln – such as the Paragon SC2 with Bead door.
  • Mandrels – to wrap the molten glass round when making beads.
  • Bead release – so the beads to not stick to the mandrel.
  • Graphite marver and graphite paddle – to shape the glass without it sticking.
  • Bullseye Glass Rods
  • Bullseye Glass Frit – for detail
  • Foil (e.g. silver foil or dichroic foil) – to add interest to your work
  • Standard safety equipment – first aid kit and fire extinguisher etc.

Make sure you set up your work area in a well-ventilated and well-lit room. 

Take a look at our Flamework section for information on all the individual products.

For more tips on working with Bullseye rods, click here, or check out some online forums on flamework, such as Glassline:

Take a look at this video of one of our tutors, Claire Hall, making a bead over a flame:

Have fun and happy experimenting! Don’t forget to post your work up on our Facebook page, we’d love to see it!

- Kirsty

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