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GETTING STARTED

 
If you need help getting started with Devardi Glass, the best place to start is with our How-To videos. Please follow this link to our free videos. The video "Getting Started with Devardi Glass" is a good place to start.

We also have a list of free How-To written tutorials available for reading or download. Please look for them in the menu bar at the upper end of each webpage. These were written and illustrated by Fine Folly Glassworks

 

SHOCKING GLASS RODS

 
One thing you will find with Devardi Glass rods is that the colors are highly saturated with pigment. This means that even with thin amounts of glass, the colors will not be washed out. This is extremely helpful when working with intricate designs and other deep color applications. This, of course, leads to more vibrant looking beads and other glass items, the main reason our glass has become so popular with thousands of lampworkers. Our glass can even be ground to a fine powder and used as glass enamel. It has that much pigment and rich color.

The drawback of having such rich pigment is that the glass rod becomes more shocky than it would without this pigment. Our glass is also handmade and hand pulled. That leads to thicker rods, which can also lead to a more shocky glass. This is not usually a problem after you learn how to properly start and work with our glass. It just takes a little know-how and practice. Pre-heating our glass rods solves any shocking issue. The best method to preheat is to use our Rod Warmer, our Mini Bead Annealer, or any kiln. To properly preheat glass rods, they must be at least 800 degrees F at the ends. If you prefer not to use a preheating device, slow, careful heating in a low oxygen flame also solves any shocking issue. If you experience this issue, please use this link to watch our free videos that will teach you how to properly start our glass. The video "Getting Started with Devardi Glass" is most helpful

 

CRACKING BEADS

 
All lampworkers face cracking glass at one point or another, and all brands of glass will show cracking at some time. However, the more experienced you become with the particular brand of glass you use, and with lampworking in general, the less of an issue cracking will be. In time, it can even become a nonexistent issue. I haven't had a bead crack in years, but I've been at this for a very long time. 

There are many factors that can lead to beads and other glass objects cracking. And most newbies go through a beginning phase where a good percentage of their beads crack, regardless of the brand. This condition passes in short as you learn how to handle the glass. So it is nothing to worry about.

Here are some helpful tips to reduce the chance of cracking glass. First of all, be sure to keep your bead evenly hot at all times while it's under the torch. Allowing one end to cool too much while you work on the other end can cause stress in the bead, which can lead to cracking later. While working on one end, stop frequently and heat the other end some, keeping both ends as evenly heated as possible.

Secondly, be careful not to overheat the glass with the torch. This is the number one reason for cracking glass. Excessive heat can ruin the chemical composition of glass, which will nearly always lead to cracking later.

When you complete your bead in the torch, heat the entire bead so it glows evenly a dull red. Then, allow it to cool just so it stops glowing in room light, and place it in a heated annealer or kiln. If you are using a ceramic fiber blanket to cool your beads, be sure not to put the beads in the blanket when they are glowing red. They are too soft and will take on blanket marks. Also, don't wait too long, as that can lead to cracking. With experience, you will learn just when to place beads in the blanket. I wait for about 10 seconds after the bead stops glowing in average room light.

Also, if you are using a set of ceramic fiber cooling blankets, the thicker the blankets the better. Glass must cool very, very slowly. If your blankets are thin, you can place a folded towel under the blankets, and another one on top of the blankets. This will insulate further and allow the beads to cool slowly. Just don't allow the glass to contact the towels. Hot glass can only touch the ceramic fiber blankets.

It is also a good idea to warm the fiber blankets somewhat first, so you don't put your beads into cold blankets, especially if you work in a garage, etc. I put my blankets on the woodstove for a bit (in the winter) just to warm them up.  This is not an issue during warm months.

Also, the longer it takes you to make a bead, the greater the risk of cracking later. The reason is that long sessions can lead to heating and cooling, heating and cooling. This can cause stress on the glass, increasing the risk of cracks later. In time, you will learn to make beads quicker, or at least learn how to keep them evenly hot during the making. 

Another factor that can lead to cracking is mixing glass brands. Although most COE 104 glass brands mix well with others, there can be combinations that just won't work. It is suggested to always anneal beads immediately after making them if you mixed brands. You will find that Devardi Glass mixes quite well with other COE 104 glass brands. But always do simple test beads first.

Mixing glass with different COE's can also lead to cracking. COE 96 can be mixed with COE 104 glass on a limited basis, and usually only on the surface as frit. Keep the COE 96 glass to no more than 10% of a COE 104 glass bead for best results. And don't encase. Mixing any other glass of varying COE's will usually lead to disaster.

Above all, don't worry about cracking beads. Regardless of the brand of glass you use, the more you work with it, the less likely you will experience cracking. Each brand has its quirks. The more you learn what they are, and how to deal with them, the less cracking you will experience. Best of luck and best of fun.  :)

 
 

BEADS THAT STICK TO THE MANDREL.

 

There are several reasons why beads can stick to the mandrel and not come off. The most common is overheating the first layer of glass. If the first application of glass is too hot, it can penetrate the bead release and stick to the stainless mandrel underneath. This can make it impossible to remove the bead without damage.

To remedy this, apply your first coat of glass, just a thin layer, and leave it be. Donít try to smooth out this first layer with the torch because it will quickly overheat. Be sure the mandrel is completely covered with a layer of glass where you want the bead to go, and then just leave it alone. Apply subsequent layers of glass. These are the layers you would smooth out with the torch and tools. Still though, be sure that the heat does not become so excessive, it overly softens the first layer of glass, causing that layer to penetrate the release.

This takes a bit of practice. But, before you know it, youíll be doing it habitually. Determining just how much heat to apply to the first layer is the trick. Just apply it, cover the mandrel, and leave it be. Let it harden a bit, and start with the next coat of glass.

To remove beads from your mandrels, soak the beads/mandrels in room temperature water overnight. The following day, grab a mandrel in the middle with a pair of pliers and the bead with a cloth, and twist the bead gently back and forth. It should loosen right up. Once loosened, place the bead and mandrel under running water and loosen the bead entirely.

Once the bead is free, you can use the mandrel to ream out the bead hole by sliding it back and forth through the bead under water. Not only does this clean the release from the bead, it also cleans the mandrel. For touching up cleaning, we suggest a diamond bit on a high speed drill, such as those sold on our Supply page, or a diamond hand reamer, also sold on that page.

 

GLASS IS TURNING BROWN OR BLACK

 

Dark spots on the glass are caused by one of two things, either a buildup of carbon from the type of torch used, or burning of the glass itself by excessive heat. First, the type of torch. This problem is common with a propane only torch, especially if you use the disposable canisters. They are low on pressure and the fuel doesn't burn efficiently. This can cause carbon to enter the glass, turning it brown. A BBQ type propane tank with a hose offers more pressure and cleaner fuel, and will likely solve most of this problem. Mapp gas can also help.

Another solution is to turn your torch up a bit. Propane only torches (or Mapp) need to operate about 3/4 open or more for the most efficient burning of the fuel. Less than that won't draw enough air in through the side holes to get a clean burn, and will leave these carbon deposits in the glass. The torch head can also overheat if it is run too low because it is the air drawn in through the side holes that cools the torch. If the head overheats, it can ruin the gaskets in the lower portion of the head.

Also, be sure to work at the tip of the inner blue flame with a Propane only torch. That's the cleanest, most efficiently fuel burning area.

If you're using a propane/oxygen torch and your glass is turning black, try turning your torch down a bit to more of a feathery flame. Not too feathery, or you run the risk of burning inefficiently, causing carbon to enter the glass, like the problem with the propane only torch. Be sure to use a Surface Mix torch also with soft glass. A pre-mix torch is too hot and will burn the glass easily.

If your glass turns bright yellow orange when you work it, that's too hot. Back off a bit when you see it getting that bright.

 

BEAD RELEASE IS FLAKING OFF, OR BEADS BREAK LOOSE.

 
Most bead releases will behave differently than others. This discussion will only include our bead release.
 
If your bead release flakes off or the glass breaks loose from a weak bond, be sure to follow the steps below. Our bead release is a bake on release. Without clean mandrels and proper baking, you will have difficulties. Once baked on properly, our release is one of the best on the market for bonding, and then removing beads later.
 

1.      Shake well before using.

2.   If you will be using new mandrels, heat the ends of the mandrels to burn off any oil residue. Let the mandrels cool before applying bead release liquid. You only need to do this to new mandrels one time.

3.   Dip one end of the mandrel into the bead release. Put the other end of the mandrel downward into a jar of sand or another holder. Allow the bead release to dry on the mandrel in an upright position. You can also wave the mandrel in the flame to dry it. This bead release dries very well in the flame without spattering from the heat.

4.   IMPORTANT: When you are ready to use the mandrel, the bead release must first be baked onto the mandrel. Heat the bead release on the mandrel in the flame until the bead release glows orange where the flame hits the release. Turn your mandrel around several times until all the bead release has turned orange in the flame at least once. Only the portion of the release that touches the flame will turn orange, but will quickly turn white when out of the flame. This is all that is necessary to properly bake the release onto the mandrel. Without first baking the bead release onto the mandrel in this manner, the release will not acquire its full strength, which can lead to a bead losing its grip on the mandrel.

5.   Keep your mandrel hot at this point. Allowing it to cool will cause the release to begin to crumble. This characteristic allows for easy removal of beads later. But keeping the mandrel hot while you apply glass prevents this, allowing for maximum strength.

6.   Apply your glass to the hot mandrel

7.   To remove your beads after they have cooled, soak the mandrel ends in water for about 30 minutes. Take a heavy set of pliers and grip the middle of the mandrel. With a cloth, grab the bead and twist back and forth until it loosens and comes off.

8.   Once the bead is removed from the mandrel, put the mandrel back into the bead hole and ream out the release by pushing the mandrel in and out several times. This is best done under water.