The Glassblower's Toolbox: A Fellow Steemiter Smuggles Glass Tools to Acapulco

in life •  3 years ago 

Hi there Steemit, I've got good news.  A fellow Steemian, @modprobe has done me a solid by ordering and driving glass tools to Acapulco for me, in exchange for some services from us. A truly capitalist agreement, we're both getting value out of the deal.  So kudos to you @modprobe, and thanks for everything! I'm gonna share a picture of each of the tools with a description of what they do, for those who are interested.  This donation/trade is a huge deal to me as I now have all of the tools I've been missing or improvising thus far.  The funny thing is now that I've gone so long without them I am really awkward when using them now. The photo above is of a graphite pad, that I use to flatten bottoms and roll the glass on it to shape. 

Simple but honestly a bit essential, this one's called the v marver, because of it's shape.  It's used to cinch and cool the glass in one spot.  It's mounted so it's advantage is it's great for when you need to support both ends of the piece while cinching and cooling  at a single point.  Once cinched, while still soft and bendable, the glass worker bends the tube back and forth while it cools until it breaks in two, generally at a single point with a hole in the end. 

Diamond shears get their name from the diamond shape they support.  They're primarily used for the purpose of cinching and cooling glass tubes in one single spot.  Wiggle them side to side to add torque and the tube will break neatly in two, with a hole at the end.  This sort of break is super important for many techniques, so it's nice to have a tool that I can use for this purpose.  It has advantage over the v marver because you can move it around pretty easily, so its more versatile. 

Before these, I was literally using haircutting shears for this purpose.  These are literally shears for the purpose of cutting hot glass.  They are shorter and made of a different metal than my shears I've been using, so they're much better for the purpose.  I will say, especially as a new glassblower, there is nothing quite like cutting hot glass with shears. It's like cutting thick weird paper. 

My previous version was about half the size, this is a graphite paddle with a metal handle.  It's pretty hefty comparatively and the surface of the graphite is much smoother, which means it'll produce higher quality work.  I'm a bit awkward with it to be honest, it's just a pad attached to a handle so you can manipulate the glass in the air or even in the flame, although it does degrade the tools. 

Before I had a copper fitting held by vice grips to serve the purpose of this simple tool, the bowl push.  This is essential for pushing in the characteristic bowl essetial for the function of a smoking pipe.  My home made fix was functional but not for production work as the copper would get hot enough to get stuck in the glass, which it did a few times.  Graphite is used because it doesn't suck the heat out of glass like copper and it also isn't prone to sticking. I've only made a few pipes but they've turned out awesome.  

Anyone who's smoked out of a bong or dab rig knows they include what are referred to as glass on glass pieces.  This is because they include fittings that are glass, resting on glass.  They create a pretty tight seal without any grommets or anything like that, which is ideal.  I can purchase those joints premade with sandblasted scientific joints, but they're more than a dollar each.  These tools are less than 100 but they make it so I can make lots of my own 14mm male and female joints.  I don't have a sandblasting setup but considering this is just for smoking, you don't need the frosting for it to function just fine. Many professional glassblowers use these to make colorful or decorated fittings, to match expensive art pieces. I tried them out to make a female joint with blue tubing.  It was much easier than I expected as it's functional, so I'm planning on putting it on a piece when I have the tim to do so.

I have a double sided small marble mold, made of grahite.  The little divits are used to roll the glass on the edges to help give it the perfectly round marble shape we all know.  There are glass artists that devote their career to the production of marbles, something that perplexes me as they aren't inherently functional.  They are difficult, however, as I tried a small one with lackluster results.  

This is a tungsten pick, used to punch holes in glass and shape it too.  I've experimented with it a little, although I've not had much experience with it.  There are some glass artists that swear by them, using them just as often as a paddle or graphite pad. 

This is a bench roller, for the purpose of supporting the weight of a heavy piece or tube while cutting it.  My bench isn't currently set up to use it, so I haven't.  It has rollers to make it super easy to keep the piece or tube spinning while working it in the flame. 

Something that makes me laugh when I think about it, this is a blowhose and swivel setup.  The reason it makes me laugh is all the stories I've heard about glassblowers going out into public with their blowhose setup around their neck without realizing it, only to get the strangest looks from people.  Many have been approached with people mistaking them for heroin addicts as intraveneous users use silicone tubing to tie off the circulation.  It's real use is much more innocent, as it's just a contraption that connects the end of the glass blowtube to your mouth through the tubing.  This makes it so you can blow into the glass without removing it from the flame, which is super helpful.  I've been a bit intimidated to use it, so I've held off to be honest. 

Not pictured is an octagonal reamer, something literally used to help turn a small hole into a larger one, which is super useful.  There are also heat resistant gloves and beeswax, which is used to coat metal tools.  This puts a layer of steam between the metal and the glass, making the liklihood of sticking much smaller. 

I'd just like a second to touch on the generosity of the Steemit community and of the internet in general.  I've been repeatedly floored.  I'll post an article within the next day or so to share some of the awesome things people smuggled to me here, much of it off of my list or things discussed in private conversation, like these tools.  It was interesting to see what people brought, as they each brought something that had some significance in their own lives.  It was usually accompanied with "I don't know what I'd do without it" or something to that extent.  It just reminds me that people are good.  People care and if you need something and ask for it, a lot of times there will be someone to help.

The point is to pay it foreward form there. Help someone when you've got the chance if you've been helped before.  I've done this in small ways where I can and intend to do so more in the future as my situation becomes less dire.  I appreciate all the help I've recieved and still am recieving.  To anyone that's ever helped us, thank you.  


So thanks for reading, stay tuned as I'm behind on posting all sorts of things.  


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