Hello, My name is Christina Nixon Cole, and I torch my art.

I'm a glass, micromosaic and silver jewelry artist. Welcome!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet my torches

At the moment I have 6 different lampworking torches. I would like to share them with you.... and a few more things regarding torches.

Carlisle Mini CC $229
The 7 fuel port Mini CC is popular for its size and economic price. Excellent for making beads, marbles and small sculptural work.

Carlisle Wildcat $420
The 19 fuel port WildCat is the next step up from the Mini CC.

Minor Burner from Nortel $188
The 7 fuel port Minor Burner has long been the most popular surface mix torch because of its size for making beads, marbles and small sculptural work as well as its economic price.

Lynx by GTT $435
Surface mix. 7 fuel port triple mix. Uses ¼" BC Hose Set. Can use it with boro and get a hotter flame with the third oxy knob.

Hot Head
Uses disposable MAPP or propane gas bottles. Doesn't require oxygen (and is therefore not as hot as oxygen mix torches). Good beginning torch. See the Hot Head Holder and Work Surface accessory. You can get the hose listed below to hook up to a propane tank outside.

Italian Torch... well, I am still working on this one. I don't know what to call it. My Friend Kim gave it to me. The cool thing about Italian torches is the radiant heat. It's close to working in a furnace, so sculptural work is a bit easier to do.

Looking beyond the torch...

Torch Mounted Graphite Pad can be useful if you like to shape or marver your glass with the use of two hands on the mandrel. It can also be used to hold inclusions like metal leaf, or millefiores. Prices range from$25 to $78 depending on what torch you are using.

Hoses can be purchases in many lengths and sizes starting at roughly $33. The hot head hose starts at $29.95.

Flashback Arrestors are another suggestion. "Helps prevent reverse gas flow and flashback (flame burning back through the torch, hose, regulator and tank)."

Regulators are needed to regulate the flow of oxygen or gas. They are set specifically for how many torches are being used and what kind of torch. If you are using natural gas, a regulator is not needed. Hotheads don't need an oxygen regulator. Notice the chain holding the tank - very important.

Oxygen is used to make your flame hotter and burn cleaner. You can get various sizes of tanked oxygen. The larger the tank the better bang for your buck, however they cost a pretty penny.

You can also get liquid oxygen if you are in a retail or business location. They will not deliver to residential.

I suggest getting an oxygen generator. It needs a power source, and can be a bit noisy, but it will deliver unlimited oxygen, you won't break your back by lugging the tanks around. Just be sure to get the best size for your torch. I tend to work hot, and need lots of oxygen. Be sure to shop around as many glass suppliers offer sales. Generators come in 5, 10, or 15 lpm. Do your research on what generator is used for what torch.

Propane vs Natural Gas
Propane comes in a tank that you have to refill. It lasts quite a while if you are on a smaller torch working with soft glass. A 5 gallon tank lasts me a long time even when I teach. When traveling be sure not to let it tip over as it will leak. Propane is roughly $3-4 per gallon in 2011. It burns a little dirty compared to natural gas. And it it heavier and cause more of a carbon monoxide hazard. Another good thing is that it is portable, useful for demonstrating and teaching. Must be stored outside. Get a long enough hose.

Natural Gas is usually piped in to homes and businesses. It costs around $1.78 per gallon. It burns cleaner, and dcipates better than the heavy propane. It is pumped in at 3 psi, so no need for a regulator. For more information visit http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/afvs/cng.html