Welcome to learning about glassblowing basics! This week we continue to learn about about the tools used in the shop. To visit part 1 of my Glassblowing Basics: Tools series click Here!
Much like the marver, blocks are used to shape glass. They come in a wide range of sizes, and must live in water when not in use. Blocks are typically made of cherry, as it's a dense fruit wood which prevents it from burning through too quickly.
Newspaper (or paper)
Layers of newspaper are folded and dampened to create a thick pad that can be used to shape glass. I am told that his is an American invention. All glassblowers have their favorite number of newspaper sheets. Mine is eight.
Sophieta (or sophie) or Puffer
The main function of the sophie is to inflate the shoulder of a vessel after it has been puntied. I use a bent sophie 99% of the time, but I may ask my assistant to use a straight sophie on larger works.
Paddles (Technically called a "battledore" but most glassblowers probably don't know that, and no one calls it that) Paddles are useful for two main purposes: One, for "paddling" a vessel to create a flat bottom for it to sit on, and two, for use as a shield to protect one from radiant heat that gets emitted from hot glass.
If you are not blowing with a partner, or you need to blow while your assistant is occupied, the blow hose is essential. The flexible hosing has a mouthpiece on one end, and a foam or rubber tube that connects snuggly on the pipe.
Mapp Gas Torch
Mapp gas is great for heating and melting glass. It's not as hot as other torches used in the hotshop, but it's great for heating punties, attaching bits, melting sharp edges off of a punty mark, and in a wide assortment of other scenarios. Mapp gas is a great tool to always have at the bench.
Propane torch (or fluffy torch)
There are moments in glassblowing where glass needs to be heated in specific areas while outside of the bench. The fluffy torch is useful for heating the back of the piece, especially if you're making a piece of work that is relatively long where gloryhole heat has difficulty reaching.
Oxygen/propane torch (or hot torch)
Much like the fluffy torch, the hot torch is used to drive heat into specific areas of glass. The flame is hotter and more concentrated than that of the fluffy torch.
Knock off table
The knock off table is useful for tapping the glass free from the pipe or punty before moving it into the annealer.
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