A good morning smile…

Someone asked which torch I use — it is a Bethlehem Tiger Shark, purchased before Bethlehem decided to threaten their distributors and act like childish brats. I’m happy with what I have right now, but I’m considering purchasing the Nortel Rocket torch, with the ‘side car’ pre-mix torch. I had a Red Max several years back with a pre-mix upper and found that there are just some things you really do need a pre-mix for…

Had a quiet weekend, my son and I went to see “Waterhorse: Legend of the Deep” Friday afternoon and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” yesterday (Sunday). I highly recommend both films. Wil Smith has a new movie coming out next summer, this time he’s an alcoholic superhero — looks it will be a fun movie — the trailer was very funny.

I am making mincemeat pie today for the family New Years party tomorrow. I cheat a bit and use the Nonesuch pie filler but I “beef” it up by adding more apples and raisins.

That’s all for now – I need some coffee and breakfast!

Bulk tanks and the Hot Head Torch

It is my opinion that using a bulk tank and a Hot Head torch is the single most dangerous activity a glassworker can do. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

The Hot Head torch is designed to operate at full tank pressure, which averages around 120 PSI. One crack or one cut in your fuel line and your studio will be filled with an explosive level of fuel. The explosive limit on propane is somewhere around 3-4%, so in an average sized room, it would not take long for the room to reach that limit. “But I keep my tank inside right next to me” you might say. And keeping your tank right next to you MIGHT save you from blowing up with your house, but it is in violation of the NFPA codes and laws, and if there were ever a fire in your building, most likely your insurance company would not pay for any damage and would probably cancel your insurance policy.

You might also say “But glass distributors sell these hoses all the time”. Yes they do. But once again, that doesn’t mean you should use them. The hoses being sold are for use in RV’s, construction work, and other non-code applications. Using a bulk tank and a Hot Head torch is flat out DANGEROUS. There is no safe way to use a bulk tank and a Hot Head torch.

“Can I plumb the fuel line for a Hot Head torch?” NO. NFPA and building codes around the US limit the maximum pressure for a through-the-wall connection to 20 PSI. The Hot Head torch cannot operate at 20 PSI.

The Hot Head torch is a good beginners torch. You can learn the basics of glassworking with it and build up your experience level. And then move on to a oxygen-fuel gas torch. You will find that using an oxygen-fuel gas torch will be hotter, more focused, and use far less fuel. And they are miles away more quieter.

Home Studio Topics — plumbing for fuel gas

Writers note: this is an expansion on an earlier “quick and dirty” article “Plumbing Propane for the Glassworking Torch“.

As we all know (or at least I hope we all know by now), it is illegal to keep more than two one-pound cannisters of propane in your house or garage at any given point in time. If you are using a 20# propane tank (the kind most often found on bbq’s), this of course means it must be kept outside.

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Day four

Yes, I know, I missed Day Three. Lots of things to do around the house, plus I’m coming down with another head cold. <sigh>

Snowball is getting much better. The eye goop is a lot less noticable, and the coughing has stopped. He’s just sneezing now. Have you ever seen a cat sneeze three or four times in a row? They get this goofy look on their face and scrunch up then let loose. Do humans look that silly when we sneeze?


Noisy has decided that I’m a walking scratching/climbing post. I’ve got scratches all over me from him climbing up my leg or leaping onto me as I walk by. I know some readers think that declawing is barbaric, but I’m looking forward to March. He’s going to be neutered then and the front claws will be removed.


Kirby is just being Kirby. Hanging out, pouncing on Noisy, chasing Snowball around the house.