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Beading Q And A: Lampwork Questions (4/20/2011)

2011 April 20

Ruth asks…

I am looking for a lampwork bead making class around Boca Raton Florida.

Does anyone know of any classes on how to make glass beads?

BeadGal answers:

There is a lampworking studio called “River of Glass” in Ft. Lauderdale, just south of Boca. That is the only one I can find.

Mandy asks…

How dangerous is it to view someone making lampwork beads if the watcher isn’t wearing eye protection?

Does the question make any sense? Sorry if it doesn’t! What I want to know is: if someone is making lampwork beads using a torch, is it safe for people to watch the person work, or do they need to be wearing eye protection also? Is there a distance away that would make it safer, regarding damage to the eyes due to the flame of the torch?

BeadGal answers:

I watch too, but I always wear eye protection. Why would you not? The danger is not only in the flame, there are occasionally flying bits of glass. In my humble opinion, you can never be too safe when glass and fire are involved.

Nancy asks…

Lampwork glass bead making: which torches & fuels have you used?

I have recently taken a lampwork beadmaking class, and I would like to purchase a torch (along with other supplies) so I can work my magic at home. I need to find a reasonably priced torch, can anyone offer any advice?

The glass shop uses minor bench burner torches with natural gas & oxygen. These retail for about $500 or so (with the tanks, hozes, etc). This is a bit out of my price range.

The shop sells starter kits which include hothead torches which require MAPP gas. Has anyone used these? They’re about $225 (just less than half of the price). What are the advantages & disadvantages to using this vs. the minor bench burners, other than cost? Has anyone used this with glass? MAPP gas is also more expensive.

Any advice will be appreciated, thanks!

BeadGal answers:

I am a beadmaker myself and a Teachers Assistant for a bead making class.  I use a HotHead torch at home to make all of my beads. The minor bench burner is a great torch, it is what I learned on myself, but the HotHead is really the way to go to start out. Mapp gas isn’t that expensive, and you can see if you can work out a deal with your local hardware store. You should get about 4 hours of torch time per tank (also, if legal in your state, they do sell Mapp gas in a propane sized tank, which would get you alot more time, but you would need to get the regulator and hoses.) It’s a little harder to make larger beads and items, but works just the same. Another major difference, is you can not adjust your oxygen or natural gas while bead making, its just Mapp gas, but you can adjust the size of the flame.

Sharon asks…

Where can i get a starter kit for making lampwork glass beads?

i’am a jeweler and i would like to get into making lampwork glass beads. i don’t wanna spend a fortune but i need all the supplies and some sort of direction. any suggestions where to begin?

BeadGal answers:

Most large chain-style craft stores should have lampwork kits. However, if they don’t…..then smaller privately owned craft stores or beading stores will be more likely to want to order it for you.

Sandy asks…

I really want to learn how to make lampwork beads any suggestion?

I’ve very interested about learning how to make my own lampwork beads. So i’m hoping that some one who makes their own could please point me in the right direction. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I know it involves a lot skill but I am willing to learn. And I was also wondering how much the overall supplies such as the torch, kiln etc costs on average. Thanks everyone.

BeadGal answers:

Great magazine

around a $100 can get a starter kit

Find a glass studio that does lessons.

Careful, glass is very addictive

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