Selections and more…

I’ve just finished a massive update to the AVC ( website. I’ve added somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 (or more) frames (if you count colors and sizes).  We’ve got RED, Blue, Green, even PUCE (oh, god, why?). Plastic and metal. Some memory metals. Boring 1960’s retro designs as well as some cutting edge fashion frames. Did I mention RED? Men’s, women’s and unisex.

Oh, yeah, and I have RED frames!!!

Don’t forget, I’ve got a sale going on through the end of the month…


Filter eyewear: glass or plastic?

Occasionally the question of ‘Glass or Plastic’ comes up in an e-mail, and I always advise the questioner that plastic (or polycarbonate) lenses are not a good choice for the glass working studio.

The reasons for this vary, but boil down to a couple of main issues:

1) Durability. Plastic/polycarbonate lenses WILL scratch, regardless of any supposed anti-scratch coatings. Let’s face it, the glass studio is about the worst place to wear plastic/polycarbonate lenses if you want to avoid scratches. Glass chips and dust are everywhere even if you are the cleanest glassworker in the world. All it takes is one small scratch (and it always seems to be dead square in the center of the lens!) .

2) Filtration issues. Despite the high-tech ability of plastic manufacturers, no one has been able to invent a dye that exactly replicates the multi-notch filter that didymium and ACE/AUR-92 provide. Let’s be clear (sorry, pun not intended): the notch filter at 575-590 nanometers is an absolute requirement to filter out sodium flare. This notch needs to be sharp and well-defined. If the notch at that point is too wide, you remove the surrounding wavelengths of light, which, of course, removes your ability to see those colors, which affects your color perception.

3) Fading issues. ALL plastic/polycarbonate dyed lenses fade. The manufacturer may claim that they won’t — but under what conditions are they making those claims? In a medical office or surgical suite? In an industrial setting? Have they tested the dye in front of a 2800 degree F torch for 8 hours per day, 6 days a week for a month? Most likely not. All of the dyed lenses that I have ever seen fade over time and exposure to torch light/heat, something that these lenses were NEVER designed for.

Plastic or polycarbonate lenses are inexpensive, and you get exactly what you pay for. You will have to replace them frequently as they get scratched and faded. Perhaps as often as every 4 months, depending on how much time you spend behind the torch. A good pair of glass lenses will last literally for years. An average pair of plastic so-called “borosilicate glassworker” filters cost $60.00. An average pair of glass full-coverage borosilicate glassworker filters cost $ 135.00. If you (conservatively) replace your plastic filters every 9 months due to scratching/fading, you will have paid for a pair of glass filters in 18 months, and the glass lenses highly resist scratching and absolutely will not fade.

The average pair of glass borosilicate glassworker filters will last (if you take good care of them) many years. Plastic/polycarbonate filters will last maybe as long as 9 months.

And, as an added bonus, you don’t require a separate add-on lens holder if you require a prescription. Glass lenses quite easily can have your prescription ground into the filter. Plastic/polycarbonate filters cannot.

The choice is always yours, and the best choice is the one that is made with all the information available.


I haven’t had much to say lately, which, all things considered, is probably a good thing LOL!!

My birthday is coming up this week. I’m not sure how I feel about it. My 30th was non-memorable as was my 40th. I’d prefer to forget my 50th and now it is time for my 55th.

I’m definately feeling my age. I don’t move quite as fast as I used to. It takes longer to get up from a chair (or out of bed!). My fingers are stiffer than I remember and my right knee aches every time the weather changes. Since my back surgery 7 years ago, I can’t twist and move as easily as I could, so that slows me down as well.

On the other hand, my son turns 20 this June and is enjoying life to its fullest. My 3 cats, Snowball, Kirby and Noisy are always bouncing around the house causing havoc and mischief.  I’ve moved closer to work and family, and it’s easier to have dinner with Mom and Dad.

So, as I look at the calendar and see my birthday on the horizon, I know one thing for sure: Continue reading

A question from the field

I purchased a pair of your glasses 4 or more years ago. Lately, I’ve noticed that my eyes are hurting when I am done at the end of the day. Does the filter material “wear out” over time?

Answer: No. The filter elements are part of the glass matrix and cannot/do not fade. Welding filter glass uses iron as the major filtering element. AUR-92/ACE glass uses didymium/neodymium/praesodymium plus other “rare earth” elements. These elements are mixed in with the silica when the glass is being melted by the manufacturer.

The manufacturer of the glass routinely tests its glass over time, keeping samples of each melt and subjecting them to various tests to determine transmission over time and exposure. Schott Glass Technologies, for example, has samples of didymium that go back over 50 years, and that glass still has the same transmission characteristics that it had when it was first made.

What is more likely is that over time, your skills have improved from the time you first bought your glasses. You may be working longer hours, you may be using different techniques, and you are certainly working with different formulations of borosilicate glass (especially the colors). You may also be doing more fuming now than you did when you first got your glasses.

The bottom line is that you have perhaps “out grown” your current filters and most likely need something with more filtration.

The view from the naughty bench

The title of this piece isn’t meant to be snide or churlish, just what I’m feeling right now.

Did your grade school have a naughty bench? You know, the bench or chairs outside of the Principal’s Office? Where the ‘bad kids’ sat before getting lectured for their behavior?

Yeah, that place.

I admit it. I’m an ass. I’ve taken the first step: admitting to a problem. The next steps are even harder, but today I’m trying my best. Continue reading

What does cataract surgery cost?

Per eye, approximately $7,200.

My mother, still “young” (in her early 70’s), just had cataract surgery in both eyes over a two month period of time.

$14,400 for both eyes. Plus not having perfect vision for up to 2-3 weeks afterwards, having to avoid bright lights for 6-8 weeks. If my mother had been a torch worker, she would have been out of work for close to 4 months.