Setting up a warm glass studio..... - WarmGlass.com

Setting up a warm glass studio.....

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judith
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Setting up a warm glass studio.....

Postby judith » Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:11 am

I am preparing a presentation on this topic and would appreciate input on a few questions.....

What do you know now that you wish you had known when setting up your studio?
What is the most imprtant piece of equipment in your studio?
Why?
What is the second most important.....and why?
Is there anything you wish you had not purchased for your studio? Too big, too bulky or just taking up room?

Any random thoughts or suggestions?

thanks!

judith

Don Burt
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Re: Setting up a warm glass studio.....

Postby Don Burt » Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:44 am

judith wrote:Any random thoughts or suggestions?

thanks!

judith


Random thoughts? The drunk Irish guy, William Lloyd (?) who smashed the Portland Vase, arguably the greatest piece of glass art ever, only got fined 5 pounds and got a week or two in jail. I'm thinking as a result of this injustice, that he may have been reincarnated as a database administrator for an insurance company, cursed with a insatiable love for glass art but little time to pursue it.

More directly to your topic: If I could do anything different and had the space to do it in the studio, I would separate clean work from dirty work. A separate room for doing dusty stuff with whiting and kiln wash and plaster (not to mention woodworking) stuff would really be nice.

Brock
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Re: Setting up a warm glass studio.....

Postby Brock » Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:53 am

What do you know now that you wish you had known when setting up your studio?

The importance of a BIG plastic sink with warm water, in the studio.

What is the most imprtant piece of equipment in your studio?

A wet belt sander.

Why?

I use it every day to finish work.

What is the second most important.....and why?

A tile saw, because my work is heading in a direction that requires one.

Is there anything you wish you had not purchased for your studio? Too big, too bulky or just taking up room?

I'm not using my recipro-lap much these days.

Any random thoughts or suggestions?

Get more room than you think you need. You're wrong!

thanks!

judith[/quote]
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Tony Serviente
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Postby Tony Serviente » Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:53 am

1. The importance of wheels. Initially I built things as if they would stay in one place. Over the years I learned that a glass workers life is in constant flux, as is the studio configuration. Now, every bench and kiln I build is on wheels.
2. My body and brain. Any piece of equipment in the studio can fail, and it can either be fixed, replaced, or worked around. If I fail in some way, the ideas,skills and experience I bring to work are unavailable. A large reason many of the smaller studios succeed it that the owners are multi skilled. If I had to have all of my equipment fabricated, and repaired by someone else, it would affect the bottom line so significantly as to perhaps make the endeavor not profitable. There is also the fact that the history of my studio and work is comfortably housed in my skull, ready for retrival when necessary.
3. Second most important piece of equipment is the kiln controller. It gives me the ability to fire unattended, when the electric rates are low, and with the same reliable profiles I need to do the work.
4. My first pressure pot held 300 lbs. of grit. It was a monster that never really won a place in my heart. I traded it in for a petite and hard working 45lb pot, and have been happy with it for years. I like to buy equipment to grow into, but I really overshot on that one.

rosanna gusler
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Re: Setting up a warm glass studio.....

Postby rosanna gusler » Mon Nov 10, 2003 12:39 pm

judith wrote:I am preparing a presentation on this topic and would appreciate input on a few questions.....

What do you know now that you wish you had known when setting up your studio? ....that i should have gotten good lighting fron the gitgo and there are never enough shelves
What is the most imprtant piece of equipment in your studio?..... my stereo...
Why? .....it distracts me enough so i can focus...
What is the second most important.....my little compresor and my tile saw....and why?.....nothing else can do those jobs...i love my slab roller too
Is there anything you wish you had not purchased for your studio? Too big, too bulky or just taking up room?.....no but i wish i had bitten the bullet and torn this building down at the start. it is going to be rough being with out during the (hopeful) reconstruction next year. rosanna

Any random thoughts or suggestions?

thanks!

judith

Phil Hoppes
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Re: Setting up a warm glass studio.....

Postby Phil Hoppes » Mon Nov 10, 2003 2:25 pm

judith wrote:I am preparing a presentation on this topic and would appreciate input on a few questions.....

What do you know now that you wish you had known when setting up your studio?


Space, both the use and amount. Ditto to Brock's statement and to add a little more....you can never have too much studio space. I've decided that fusing glass is a new undiscoverd life form. It multiplies both when I'm in the studio and out of the studio and seems to grow at exponential rate.
In addition the equipment also seems to grow too!

judith wrote:What is the most imprtant piece of equipment in your studio?


My kilns for sure! I've got 3 now and am finishing what will be my production work horse. If you are going to pursue fusing as a full time profession that both fulfills your artistic expression and your bank account, the bottom line is sq. ft. of glass/week and how much you can get per sq. ft. If you are doing jewlery your need for large throughput is not the same as if you are doing sculpture work, etc. What ever is your pursuit you need to be sure you have the capacity to produce what you want at a rate that fill the market demand for your products. If your pursuits are simply esthetic or personal related than the demads and requirements for your studio equipment are different.


judith wrote:What is the second most important.....and why?


My cold working equipment, belt sander and surface grinder. I feel it is important to cold work my art to ensure a clean and professional look in addition it is an integral part of the expression of my work. I use all of my cold working equipment every day. I would add that I am looking at more equipment of different types so I can express more texture and visual appeal to my work. I have idea's in my head but you need the right equipment to make it work.

judith wrote:Is there anything you wish you had not purchased for your studio? Too big, too bulky or just taking up room?


Not really but you are asking the wrong person. I'm a tool junkie. Tim Allen is my hero. Arh, arh, arh.................

judith wrote:Any random thoughts or suggestions?


You can't stress safety too much. If one is a casual fuser, the exposure to the potential toxic dusts, chemicals and materials associated with fusing probably will not hurt you. If you pursue this as a living you need to understand the safety issues involved in your line of work. Constant exposure to IR from a hot kiln, glass dust, noise from cold working equipment is just not good for the body. Pursue glass but work informed.

Phil

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Mon Nov 10, 2003 2:49 pm

Just a thought or two to add--be careful not to underbuy by which I mean get equipment that cannot grow with you. When I started out I bought a several hundred dollar small diamond blade saw that was okay for cutting small single layer glass but as soon as I started doing bigger things it became useless to me. So it had a working life of about 6 months and has now sat unused for years with its very expensive diamond blades hanging next to it. Waste of money. I agree with the size of studio comments, everything expands. I wish I had a separate area for coldworking equipment because once all that water dries out you have a film of glass dust everywhere and it would be nice to be able to keep that separate from the main studio and it would be easier to clean up too. Make sure to have a sturdy area for glass storage and think about movements like they do in kitchen planning...have the cutting table near the glass storage, have an area near the kiln to hold pieces you are about to put in the kiln etc.
Amy

wiredthings
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Postby wiredthings » Mon Nov 10, 2003 10:16 pm

Judith,

I started my fusing "career" just a couple of years ago after taking a class and falling in love with it. It isn't my primary means of support, but the hobby completely supports itself. My responses to your questions are:

What do you know now that you wish you had known when setting up
your studio?

Everyone's statements are correct. You never have enough space. I have all my work space and kilns (2 of them) in a 2 car garage which I have to share with a small MGB. I wish I could move the car somewhere else! I need the space badly!

What is the most imprtant piece of equipment in your studio? Why?

Both of my kiln have kiln sitters, or computerized controllers. Without these I would be doomed! Since I work outside the home for 40+ hours each week, the time I have that I can devote to my art is severly limited. I tend to run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do too many things at once. With a simple glance the controllers keep me informed as to the temperature and status.

What is the second most important.....and why?

I have a small grinder that helps me even out the edges of my pieces before I fire them ... both pendants and containers. (I still am not as good at glass cutting as I would like to be!)

Is there anything you wish you had not purchased for your studio?
Too big, too bulky or just taking up room?

So far, no. I have had to be very thoughtful about what I purchased because I had to make the money first, before I could afford to pay for it. If I wasn't sure I wanted or needed it, I just didn't go there. There are several things I would like to have, and one day I will. Of course, then I may have a different answer to this question by then.

Any random thoughts or suggestions?

Many ... all the time .... but they don't really have anything to do with this subject. Good luck on your presentation!
Scheri

http://photos.yahoo.com/wiredthings

"Wonderous is our great blue ship that sails around the might sun, and JOY to everyone who rides along !" ELO, "Jungle"

Marty
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Postby Marty » Mon Nov 10, 2003 10:50 pm

After the kiln, I guess I would miss my strip cutter the most. Everything in the coldworking room is now essential and I'm starting to look for more room (Hey Brian!) for working larger; not necessarily more space but better use of existing space.

I would recommend expandability- I've just ordered an extension for my sandblast cabinet and am improving the vacuum system. The laundry sink is coming out to be replaced by a much longer (but shallower) darkroom sink. Another work table is planned as are better shelves (with less junk on them).

Flooring: I just ripped up the carpet that covered the cement and put down interlocking rubber mats (Home Depot). What a difference in looks as well as comfort. Cleans up easily too.

Lighting: I'm in the basement with one set of French doors leading outside . I'm thinking about getting a professional consultant in to get the most effective and pleasant lighting- just putting warm fluorescent tubes in the fixtures isn't working.

My one regret is not having a separate studio building with lots of natural light and 400amp service.

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:35 pm

Ditto on Marty's comment on lighting. I have lot's of 8' florescent tubes. They work but I hate the flicker and the noise is terrible. I don't know if it is possible but if there is a way to quiet these things down I'd like to know. Can't afford to replace them for the moment. I've tried replacing some of the ballasts but that is pretty much a crap shoot. The one you replace with can be just as noisy if not noiser than what you removed. Florescent tubes also tend to put out a more yellow tone. It is quite noticeable when you take a photograph with them on.

Phil

Ron Coleman
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Postby Ron Coleman » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:06 am

I'll start the list of equipment with the kiln and then add a sandblasting setup and then the wetbelt sander. I feel these are the basics that should be part of a starting studio.

The kiln is the center of all fused glass work and should be sized for what you are currently making with some room to spare. The reason I say size it for what your currently doing with some extra room, is that you can always add another kiln later to increase production or do larger pieces. Two kilns will always be useful and not as costly to operate as a big one that isn't always full.

For the sandblaster, the single most valuable feature is the ability to correct problems and save pieces from the scrap bin. A little devit, a speck of kiln crud, whatever the problem, the blaster will cure it and save the piece. In addition to correcting problems the blaster is very useful as a design tool. Things like Brock's double irid techniques and Avery's mica designs just aren't possible without a blasting cabinet.

The third piece of starter equipment should be the wetbelt sander. Just the time saved cleaning up less than perfect cuts makes it worth the money. The ability to finish edges and move the quality of your work up a few notches above the rest is also valuable.

Additional studio amenities such as a sink, storage for materials and an area for cutting should all be part of the operation too.

Another thing I would add is a vented spray hood for doing airbrushing and paints.

Depending on which direction your work takes you, things like a wet saw can always be added. Another piece I would add is a flat lap grinder, but not at the expense of the basic three, kiln, blaster and wbs. The grinder is very useful, but not all that necessary for starting out.

Space for design and doing the "paper work" part of the design is necessary too.

One thing that usually gets little attention is electric service and how much power you need, always plan for expansion. Kilns eat lots of power.

The list goes on and on, but each artist has to spend a little time up front planning what direction their work is likely to go and then plan the studio for current needs and allow for expansion.

Ron

Ron Coleman
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Postby Ron Coleman » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:15 am

Phil Hoppes wrote:Ditto on Marty's comment on lighting. I have lot's of 8' florescent tubes. They work but I hate the flicker and the noise is terrible. I don't know if it is possible but if there is a way to quiet these things down I'd like to know. Can't afford to replace them for the moment. I've tried replacing some of the ballasts but that is pretty much a crap shoot. The one you replace with can be just as noisy if not noiser than what you removed. Florescent tubes also tend to put out a more yellow tone. It is quite noticeable when you take a photograph with them on.

Phil


Maybe this will help Phil

http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/flamp.htm

http://www.gelighting.com/na/faq/faq_noise.html

Ron

Lionel
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Postby Lionel » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:37 am

Power Power Power and more Power

There is never enough power.
Never enough outlets.
Never enough AMPS.
Never enough Voltage.

Not to mention that everything related to glass is heavy so add in a real big guy to the formula. Doesn't matter if he can blow or fuse or even likes glass - just as long as he can carry 200 pounds.

Ron Coleman
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Postby Ron Coleman » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:46 am

Now that the topic of lighting has been brought up, it might be a good time to get some ideas for my new studio expansion.

I've added about 100 sq ft to my studio and plan on using the space for coldworking equipment. The wetbelt sander, sandblaster, and flat lap grinder and maybe the kiln will be located in the new room. The space is 12 ft long by 9 ft wide with a door at each end. The machines will be spaced along the long walls with a walkway down the center.

I'm thinking in two direction for the lights;

Add a row of fluorescent fixtures down the center of the room for general light and use halogen task lights for the sander and grinder,

or forget the fluorescents and just add halogen track lights on each side of the room over the machines.

Any thoughts?

Ron

space "stealin" at its best, just haul home the 2 x 4's and start driving nails

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:56 am

Hi Ron,

Tnx for the tip on the lights. That is quite an informative web page. To your question, Local halogens are great for the light they give off but I'm guessing not so nice for the heat they radiate. You'll like them on those cold Columbus winter days coming up but I'm guessing in July/August you will be cold working in your skivies to keep cool. Sans the noise I have my florescent lights suspended so that they are about 8' off the ground (12' ceiling so they drop on chains). For my belt sander and future lap grinder I use a local 75watt incandescent light. I'm sure you've found out that a good local light is indespensable for checking the finish as you work the surface/edge's down.

The halogen's all around may not be bad if they are high enough. Again though, man those things get REALLY hot.

Phil

(Speaking of cold, we are suppose to get snow tonight. Hmmm....we will see!)

Brock
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Postby Brock » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:59 am

I'd forget the fluorescents Ron, it's a small room with a specific purpose, and you don't need general illumination, you need bright light at specific spots. I saw some neat, cheap, $9.00 magnetic goose neck lamps in Portland that I think I'm going to get. Stick them anywhere metallic, or not, they have a heavy base, and bend the light to exactly where you want it. Halogens always seem to sparkly for me to work under. Brock
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:00 am

HALOGEN! I have fluorescents and not only does the buzzing drive me crazy as other people have mentioned, but they bother my eyes after a long day under them and they don't show true color. I'm always sneaking into my husband's photography studio and stealing his halogen stand lights. I move them to wherever I am working like someone hooked up to an IV stand! When we renovate my studio I am going to switch to all halogen. I have a big studio that is not heated and has cement floors (which keeps it cool in summer and unfortunately in winter) so the heat they create is a bonus.
Amy

rosanna gusler
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Postby rosanna gusler » Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:29 am

Ron Coleman wrote:space "stealin" at its best, just haul home the 2 x 4's and start driving nails
............less grass to cut too.....rosanna.......ps, i vote for halogen

Suzan
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Postby Suzan » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:35 pm

Amy on Salt Spring wrote:I have a big studio that is not heated and has cement floors (which keeps it cool in summer and unfortunately in winter) so the heat they create is a bonus.
Amy


Amy,

At Home Depot I bought a set of rubber floor mats; these consist of four 2 foot square rubber mats about 1 inch thick, and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle for about $20. I bought two sets to place whereever I stand for any length of time. They're very easy on the feet and will help block out some of the cold from the floor. They've also saved pieces of glass that I've dropped!

Cheers,
Suzan

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:39 pm

Rubber mat's are a must. I've got peripheral neuropathy and standing is a chore but standing on concrete is just a killer. Every workspace I have I've got those same rubber mats. The difference is night and day.

Phil


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