What is the best location for my studio?

From an e-mail question:

I am moving into an apartment. I’m interested in setting up a small glass studio, the room is pretty big and has a large window along one wall, and the other side is a patio where I could put the oxygen and propane. My main concerns are: space, the carpeting and ventilation. Help!!

Apartments are problematical. First of all, you cannot legally store propane on an outside balcony above the ground floor. So if your apartment is located above the ground floor, about the only torch you can safely use is the Hot Head torch with single one-pound bottles of fuel gas. Continue reading

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Basic safety habits

Always turn your torch on and off the same way. Whether you use POOP or POPO (propane oxygen oxygen propane or propane oxygen propane oxygen) doesn’t really matter as long as you always do it the same way.

Never leave the torch lit when you walk away from the bench.

Glasses on before the torch is lit, glasses off after the torch is turned off.

Always wear safety glasses while cold cutting glass. Continue reading

Basic safety equipment

Things that every glassworking studio MUST (not should) have:

  • Proper protective eyewear
  • N100 or P100 Dust mask
  • First aid kit
  • Fire blanket
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Ceiling mounted smoke detector, wired to the rest of the house
  • An appropriate ventilation system
  • Fire safe floor and work surfaces
  • Fire safe attire (hair tied back, close toed shoes, cotton or wool fabric)
  • Flashback arrestors (optional on surface mix torches)
  • Water bucket
  • Wheels on your chair (and a smooth floor) to make it easy to scoot back out of the way

Burns, the glassworkers’ reminder that you are not paying attention!

Degrees of severity

Signs/symptoms

1st degree
First degree burns are mild and affect only the outermost layer of the skin. The skin reddens but will blanch (turn white) when touched. The area may feel warm to the touch, and might be tender. A first degree burn will usually heal by itself without scarring within a week. Continue reading

Ms. Nomers, the first installment

In a continuing quest to get incorrect words and phrases out of normal usage, this series of articles will try to present the proper terminology for glassworkers to use.

Single fuel/dual fuel torches is one of my all time favorites.

Fuel/air torch, of which the Hot Head is an example. These are sometimes called “single fuel” torches, but this is a misnomer. The torch is actually a fuel/air torch where fuel gas, such as propane is mixed with room air before ignition.

Fuel/oxygen torch, of which the Minor is an example. These are sometimes called “dual fuel” torches, but this is a misnomer. The torch is actually a fuel/oxygen torch, where fuel gas, such as propane is mixed with oxygen either before ignition (pre-mix type torch), or at the surface of the torch face after ignition (surface mix type torch).

We don’t know where single fuel/dual fuel torches got started, but to call them that is incorrect. All lampworking torches ARE in fact, single fuel torches.

Using a furnace blower in your ventilation system

Early this morning, I came across this post on one of the glassworking forums.

…┬áMy hubby went to a furnace expert and asked about squirrel cage fans from a furnace and using them for an exhaust hood. That we wanted to use 8″ duct. They pretty much told him he couldn’t, we’d need 10″ or larger to do get anywhere near 1200 cfm. I was frustrated because hubby said it sounded like we couldn’t do it. I said that if science labs can have a fume hood with a strong draft there was no reason why we couldn’t. And since I worked in a lab once, I know how strong those fume hoods can be. Continue reading