Glory Hole - this is where the glass is reheated constantly as
the glass blower works on the piece being made. The glass cools very quickly
and the artist has only seconds at a time to work with it before it has
to be heated again. The glory hole is gas fired and maintains a temperature
around 2000 degrees. (the gas is mixed with air to make it burn hotter)
It is only turned on during a glass blowing session. Our glory hole is
a replica of David New Small's glory hole and features a "guillotine"
type door/opening which gives the flexibility of opening the door only
as much as is needed according to the size of the pieces, thus keeping
the glory hole as hot as possible.
The Furnace - This is where the glass is melted. In the past, most studios used gas fired furnaces, but today many have switched to electric. We have a computer controlled, electric furnace that was custom designed for our studio.
Inside our furnace is a ceramic crucible with a capacity to hold 300 lbs. of melted glass. The glass is melted at 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the temperature is dropped 30 degrees an hour until it reaches 2000, this compresses the glass and helps the bubbles float to the surface.
Several hours before the start of a glass blowing session, the temperature is raised to 2150 degrees.
The Crucible - a large ceramic vessel designed to hold molten liquids at very high temperatures.
The Annealer - this is an electric kiln where the glass blown object "goes to bed" after it is completed. Glass shrinks as it cools and if it cools down too quickly it will shatter! As a glass piece is finished it is carefully broken off the end of the pontil and quickly placed into the annealer.
The finished pieces cannot be touched until they are completely cooled and there is even risk of thermal shock when you open the annealer door to put the next finished piece in.
Our annealer is computer controlled and is set to hold at 945 degrees Fahrenheit during a glass blowing session, and then at the end of the day it goes into a sequence where it cools down in 50 degree increments over a period of 12 hours until it reaches room temperature.
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