How Glassblowing Works

Earlier, we mentioned there was some science to glassblowing. If you are interested in unique smoking devices you can find cheap bongs from glass artists on the Internet. Just a few details on that for you here.

• The glass is solid, but it can become transparent because of its molecular structure, which is more like a liquid. The molecules in a liquid are less structured than solids; they are also weaker, and easier to manipulate. Light waves are more penetrable thru glass because of the loose molecules. In a solid, the molecules are must closer together creating a stronger bond.
• Glassblowing also makes their glass from a special top quality sand (we’re not talking beach sand) and to that sand they can add several different ingredients and in an assortment of amounts. Additives may be metal oxides like alumina, boron or lead oxide and magnesia. It varies so much because it all depends on the properties you expect to have in the finished project.
• Assorted colors of glass are created by adding different oxides. For example, adding cobalt will yield a lovely color of blue.

• Once the glass is mixed, it is placed into a pot or crucible and then put into a furnace that has temperatures more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
• When ready, glass is secured to the end of a blowing pipe and shaped by using different tools. At this point, more glass can be added, along with more colors.
• During that process, the glass is going to cool and become less pliable. Enter furnace number two referred to as the glory hole. It is a round cylinder that is insulated, and the glass form can be suspended from the blowpipe until it becomes hot enough to complete the desired form. And we still have the third furnace where the cooling takes place.
• The annealer, which is the third and final oven controls how quickly the glass will cool. Cooling too fast can create trauma and make the piece unstable. The size of the final product dictates the length of time in the annealer.
• And the last stop in our glass journey is the cold shop where the glass is sanded, smoothed and appropriately decorated, etched or engraved and polished.

Glassblowing Risks

Most of the risks associated with becoming a glassblower are evident:
• Being severely burned by any of the hot tools used in the process
• Some of the additives can be toxic, and if they become airborne, they can lead to respiratory complications
• The incredible heat that inherently comes from the furnaces and
• If not worked properly, the glass can explode

To compensate for the risks, there are a few required safety requirements. While these are not risks, they don’t sound all that desirable either. They look like they certainly add protection, also heat and discomfort as well.
• Safety goggles
• Protective clothing
• Respirators
• Face Shields