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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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How much glass should a begining beadmaker buy?

If you are starting up your own lampworking workshop, there are a lot of things to consider purchasing.  Glass is certainly only one factor.

I primarily work with 104 glass.  This blog is only about 104 glass unless it is otherwise mentioned.

Coefficient of Expansion (COE): 104
Annealing range: 920 - 968º F
Strain Point: 840º F
Softening point: 1050º F
Working Temperature: 1400º F

-Typically the glass rods come in 13 inch rods.  
-They are usually the thickness of a pencil, 5-6 mm.  
-You would get 7 - 8 rods in one pound.  
-You can order it in 1/4 lb increments. 
-Some shops sell by the single rod.
-you can order stringer 2-3 mm in many colors.
-You can order thicker rods up to 10-11, or 14-15 mm.
-104 can be ordered in sheet as well.
-Glow in the dark is available at GlowJoe.

Just to get started, I encourage you to get a sample pack of glass.  Now, there are several sample packs available, start with the basics and as you learn all your lessons with the basic colors, go ahead and move on to other glass.   Don't waste your $$ on expensive glass when you are still learning how not to burn, boil, crack, etc. your glass.

Sample Pack:
Double Helix for intermediate users
Precision for intermediate users

If you want silvered glass in stringers here is an etsy shop.

Don't worry yet about the other fancy stuff like filigrina, it will just be shocky and end up on your table.  Learn that stuff later.

Get more of the basic colors.

Vetrofond: black, white, some of your favorite transparent colors and opaque colors
Effetre: super clear, some of your favorite transparent colors and opaque colors, dark ivory.

I suggest if you are going to work with COE 104, use Vetrofond and Effetre.  CIM is pretty awesome too!!!

Here is the rundown of COE 104 glass manufacturers:

Lauscha - German glass
Messy Color (CiM) - Chinese glass - yummy
Vetrofond - Italian - inexpensive and good for stocking your shelves
Effetre (formerly Moretti) - Italian - good for some main staples like Dark Ivory and Super Clear.
Kugler (ASK) - German?  Can have compatibility issues - pretty colors.
Double Helix - Reactive Silver Glass - made in USA - expensive
Precision - Reactive Silver glass - expensive
Reichenbach  - Reactive glass - Iris Orange or Raku is a popular one
Trautman Art Glass (TAG)- Reactive Silver glass - Expensive
Devardi - Indian glass - pretty colors - very shocky - not for beginners

And here is where you can purchase your glass:


Here is a link to who are the best suppliers.

Other glass:
Let's start with COE, Coefficiency Of Expansion.  When glass is hot it expands, and when it cools from the liquid state it contracts.  If the glass is not compatible there will be stress and cause it to break.

"This rate, which is commonly known as the Coefficient of Expansion (COE), is usually expressed as a whole number, rather than as a long decimal figure. Most Bullseye glass, for example, is said to have a Coefficient of Expansion of 90, and you will often hear glass artists refer to it as COE90 glass. Spectrum, another common glass, has a COE of around 96, while Corning’s Pyrex glassware has a 32 COE. Standard window glass, referred to as "float" glass by the glassmaking community, has a COE that is usually around 84-87, while Effetre (Moretti) glass, commonly used for lampworking, has a 104 COE."  cited from http://www.warmglass.com/Glass_compatibility.htm

More 104
Frit is used to embellish glass.  It is basically a little jar of crushed glass, it comes very fine like powder, or sand to coarse like gravel.  Frit can be made of one color or of multiple colors creating different recipies.  Some frit can glow, while other frit can be made from silver glass.