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Old 01-05-2008, 12:02 PM
photomemory photomemory is offline
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How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

Hi.. I have done all sorts of art, ceramics, drawing, all type of needlework, stained glass, but have always wanted to learn to blow glass. I used to do some beading and the beauty of some of the hand-blown beads were incredible. Also.. seems like the local shops always have a need for tobacco pipes and they even featured same on our local paper, so I think there could be a job market there once I got proficient.
How much would it cost? I have an acquaintense and he does glass. I have asked him to show me but right now his kiln is down, kaput.
So.. maybe I will have to take a class. How much should they cost and how much should i be learning in them? I think somehere in our area, someone teaches glass. I want to learn to make the beads that are hand blown and perhaps some glass pipes, that could be sold, and then i could recupe my investment perhaps down the road. What type of glass blowing, should I be learning then??
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:25 PM
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CosmoGlassworks CosmoGlassworks is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

It depends. Your torch and kiln will be the most expensive. A lot of people start on a small torch like a Nortel Minor ($165). That's about the least expensive torch you can get to make the type of thing you want to make. For doing blown work, a wider flame is better. But, when you start buying torches with wider flames, you run into more money. A lot of people that want a big torch start with something like a Major or Red Max ($350-450). I work on a Carlisle CC, which goes for like $1300 or so I think (I bought mine used) and I can make most anything I want to make on it. I primarily make marbles, but I have made many pendants, beads, goblets, pipes, and other things on it. However, I will say that I made a lot of smaller pipes on a Minor, and some two piece pipes on it, so it can be done. You just have to be careful with your heat control.

Eventually you will want a kiln. A kiln large enough to do what you want to do will probably run you at least $500, and can cost thousands (the bigger they are, the more expensive). A lot of times you can find used kilns for good deals though.

You'll also need an oxygen and propane supply, and regulators. If you are thinking about making pipes, you'll need to use borosilicate glass. For borosilicate glass, I only recommend using tanked or liquid oxygen. Some people use concentrators, but it's hard to get good colors out of borosilicate glass with concentrators.

You'll also need glasses to protect your eyes, and some hand tools.

So, without a kiln, you can probably get up and running for less than $500. I wouldn't stress out about a kiln at first because honestly, until you get some experience, the stuff you make at first may not be worth saving.

As far as classes go, they vary widely. The classes I teach are $125 for a 6 hour class, or I do private classes for $200 per day. But I've seen classes as cheap as $50 and as expensive as $1200.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:48 PM
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BabsW BabsW is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

There a couple of ways that you can look at this.
1. a Hot Head will get you to melting glass for about $50.
$$ for glass rods. $50 for basic hand tools. Plus a little more for safety glasses and the place to put your torch. $$$ for ventilation. This will bring you up to approx. $300. That doesn't include classes or books that you will certainly want. This is a reasonable amount to see if you want to continue.
After recalculating this, 300.00 is probably too low. It depends on how resourceful you are.
2. Or more like $1500 for complete basics that include a better torch, studio, kiln, class, videos, and etc. The best part of #2 is that you will be able to sell the equipment easier if you decide to quit.

I started with a Hot Head but it was frustrating to not have a kiln and some of the nicer tools. I don't think I would still be making things if I had to keep using the HH.

Different strokes for different folks.

Last edited by BabsW : 01-05-2008 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:08 PM
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RCKeyes RCKeyes is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

If your going to do glass pipes (Boro is a must) your probly looking at 3k or better. There are a lot of things to consider.

Torch
kiln
tools
glass (tubing and solid)
Color
oxy
propane
regulators
ventilation
more tools
more color
studio? (you cant just clamp a redmax to your kitchen countertop and start melting glass) well,,,, U could!
Storage
and theres probly some I have forgotten.

Making beads with soft glass?????????? a whole different story and a lot cheaper.

I got started back in october and initially spent a little over 3K and have spent atleast that much since. Granted I purchased a paragon f-130 and a redmax torch and went a little over board with my initial glass and color supply.

Always do your research before you buy anything, for instance, if your going to eventually do pipes? a minor torch aint gonna cut it. you`ll also need a kiln that will hold more than a couple pipes at a time.

Good luck and have fun with it!!!!!!!
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:13 AM
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CosmoGlassworks CosmoGlassworks is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCKeyes
If your going to do glass pipes (Boro is a must) your probly looking at 3k or better. There are a lot of things to consider.

Torch
kiln
tools
glass (tubing and solid)
Color
oxy
propane
regulators
ventilation
more tools
more color
studio? (you cant just clamp a redmax to your kitchen countertop and start melting glass) well,,,, U could!
Storage
and theres probly some I have forgotten.

Making beads with soft glass?????????? a whole different story and a lot cheaper.

I got started back in october and initially spent a little over 3K and have spent atleast that much since. Granted I purchased a paragon f-130 and a redmax torch and went a little over board with my initial glass and color supply.

Always do your research before you buy anything, for instance, if your going to eventually do pipes? a minor torch aint gonna cut it. you`ll also need a kiln that will hold more than a couple pipes at a time.

Good luck and have fun with it!!!!!!!

I have to respectfully disagree with a lot of that.

First of all, $3k is pretty high to get started. I have set many people up for less than a third of that.

Second, a Minor will definitely make pipes. I started on a Minor and worked on it for two years. In that time, I made more than 400 pipes on it.

I don't think it's necessary to buy a kiln right from the start. And, even if you do, it's not necessary to buy a $1500 kiln. A lot of the pieces you make to start off with aren't going to be good enough to keep, so no real reason to buy a kiln. If you are worried about it, get a bucket of vermiculite and put your pieces in that, and once a month or so find someone who has a kiln that can anneal your stuff for you.

Yes, for doing heavy production or larger pieces, you will probably want a bigger torch and a larger kiln, but that is overkill for someone who has never even used a torch or pulled a point. Even learning to pull points at first will probably waste a lot of glass, and you don't need a kiln for that.

Buying seconds for color will also help lower the initial cost (as will buying cheaper clear like UST). To this day, I still use seconds when I can unless it is a situation like a stick stack where the rods need to be consitent.

Ventilation can also be accomplished pretty inexpensively if you have a little knowledge of various hand tools.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:56 AM
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ABannie ABannie is offline
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Question Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCKeyes
Always do your research before you buy anything, for instance, if your going to eventually do pipes?

You might also look into the legality side of things, when it comes to making & selling glass pipes in your area...

Just a thought
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:58 AM
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lizajayne lizajayne is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

I agree, and you also need to check the legality of the set up, code-wise. With that kind of fire power, you may want to check into your local building codes to make sure everything is set up properly. And then there's insurance issues. If you are doing it at home, sometimes it's difficult to get homeowners insurance to cover it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABannie
You might also look into the legality side of things, when it comes to making & selling glass pipes in your area...

Just a thought
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:06 AM
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dillingham dillingham is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

The positive side of any amount of $$$ you spend is that at this time the resale value of the glass equipment is very good. There is always someone waiting patiently to pick up equpment to upgrade or add onto their existing stash of stuff. It's kind of like guys and John Deere things, you can never have enough green. Yup, the one who dies with the most glass wins around here!!!

Good Luck and you are getting lot's of good information and different perspectives on getting started.

Dilly
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Old 11-11-2016, 03:19 PM
vjones vjones is offline
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Re: How Much It Cost To Get Started Blowing Glass

Complete blowing studio (minus the facility), PLUS 28 years
of blowing, lampworking, & casting - tools, equip., & supplies!
To see a PDF list and PICTURES and for more info contact Virgil Jones
(828) 284-2163 [email protected]
Available in Asheville, NC
EVERYTHING FOR $19,500.00 - O.B.O.

If you have any questions or there is another way to let you and or others know about this please contact me.
Thanks, Virgil
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