Monday, August 4, 2008
Bet Your Paperweight Can't Do This!
The Hothead is practically indestructible, easy on the pocketbook, easy to set up, easy to use, and extra-easy on the fuel. Other than our newbie beads, which were made on a fireworks, all our work to date has been created on this little wonder. A worthy torch in its own class. Granted, this torch, like any other, is only as good as the skill of the person behind it. Rounds, disks, encasing, hollows, murrine, millifiore, reduction, silverwork, enamels, beads and sculptures up to 2 inches long... all quite doable. Works great with any 104COE glass or higher (ie. Satake).
Recently we've begun the process of considering and researching other torches to fit our needs and style, hence the discussion that led to the paperweight comment. You might wonder why, if the Hothead is so wonderful, would there be a need for another torch. The biggest reason is that we need a larger flame if we want to make larger projects. Also, melting large diameter rods or making murrine takes a lot of time and patience on a Hothead. Another consideration is that it is easier to melt 90 or 96 COE glass on a hotter torch, or even the more resilient 33COE boro if you get a hot enough upgrade.
How to shop for a torch:
Are you on the market for buying a new torch?
You wouldn't believe how many torches and brands of torch there are for glasswork. Carlisle, Nortel, National, Bethlehem, GTT, etc. Each with its own pros and cons, each able to handle certain glass or types of work. Torches for glass blowing, torches for just boro, torches for just soft glass, torches that have bushy flames for large work, or tight flames for small work, torches that have more knobs than a car stereo to let you customize your flame needs... Torches that look like flamethrowers, or torches that look like a small soldering torch. Some have changeable tips that allow them to do many things, others are simple. Prices range from $200 to $3000 or more. There is nothing simple, or cheap, about getting a new torch. It is not a decision made to be made lightly if you don't want to be back on the market for a new torch in 6 months because the torch you got didn't fit your needs.
It is important to narrow down what you plan to do with your torch, and also take into account directions of interest you may want to dabble around in from time to time. Will you work with soft glass, hard glass, or both? Will you be working on small projects like beads and the occasional marble or will you be stretching out more into sculpting, if so- how big? Will you use tanked oxygen or an oxycon (oxygen concentrator)? Do you foresee possibly needing a footpedal controller later down the road? What is the price range you can afford to consider? Do you have adequate ventilation for the type of work and size of torch you are considering?
Once you have your list of needs, it is time to get down to specs on torches and see what fits the bill. Catalogs are an invaluable tool for descriptions of torches, capabilities, and prices, a great resource for information. They are also nice because you can flip through them and comparison shop easily between them. You'd be amazed at how some companies can offer some nice specials if you are buying a full torch set up or kit. It can pay to shop around.
Another place you can find good information on torches is the Online forum glass communities, tons of folks who already have the torches, or had them, and are happy to discuss their torch experience. This is the place where you can run a search and find out the good, bad, and ugly on your torch choices. Some torches are more prone to breakdown or clogging, some are oxygen or propane hogs, some don't produce the same quality of heat or control that others might in the same price range (or sometimes less). Sure sometimes there is the odd lemon which may be 1 in 1000, but if you find a half dozen people had $500 lemons within a certain torch type and the customer service with the company basically sucked when they tried to get help... then you might want to take that into consideration when shopping.
All that research and careful planning should narrow the field down for you to one or maybe two torches. From there it is just matter of placing your order, or sometimes you can find one used from someone who had to upgrade because they didn't get the torch they really needed the first time... :D... or couldn't afford it at the time.
Our personal search has narrowed itself to the GTT Lynx. We considered many, many, many models for our particular style and needs, but narrowed it down to the GTT Cheetah or the Lynx. The Lynx won out because it offers a very fine flame range down to 1mm. What we really want at some point is a GTT Phantom, which incorporates lynx torch center but has many more ports around it for a nice large flame when needed, but that will have to be an upgrade down the road a little ways off.
For those who love their Hothead torch, it is a fine workhorse, worthy of your admiration. It will hold its own nicely.
For those who are shopping for something to allow them to work larger or hotter- Happy Shopping!!! 8)
- Hawley Studios
- Texas, United States
- Welcome to Hawley Studios!!
This is the place where imagination and fire collide! Wherever our imagination and creativity take us, that is where we go! The sky is the limit......
20 years together has caused this married couple to play with fire, hammer and grind metal, and design guns and knives! LOL!! Welcome to our world of marital bliss!!
Enter in to experience creations of glass, polymer, silver, metal... whatever we can get our hands on! :D
Hawley Studios is family owned. We specialize in lampworking, fusing, slumping, jewelry, metal work, custom knife making, and custom gunsmithing.
Proud Members of:
* Etsy Christian Artists Street Team (CAST)
* Creative Glass Guild of Esty (CGGE)
* Etsy Lampwork Etc. Street Team (LEST)
* Self Representing Artists- lampworking (SRA #H109)