Triple “B” Basic Boro Bead
This tutorial is being written to provide information to beginners and to give all levels a colorful bead project to play with. If you have a little more time on the torch please look through the safety information and see if you can add anything to it.
The official stuff..
A LARGE CAUTIONARY WARNING: LAMPWORKING IS DANGEROUS . Please be careful and follow all safety precautions! AS the lawyers say do this at your own risk.
Some basic questions:
Q. What is the coefficient of expansion of borosilicate?
A. 33 +/-. Soft glass of 90, 96, or 104 is NOT combatable with boro. Soft glass will NOT work with BORO.
Q. I have a hot head torch, will it work for doing boro work?
A. In theory, yes, would be very slow, like watching grass grow. Additionally, with no supply of oxygen, you would not be able to get rich true colors.
Q. I only have a small room, with zero ventilation, what should I do?
A. Carbon monoxide fumes WILL KILL you, and also the fumes from the boro glass are a safety concern also. You must actually remove the polluted air and replace it with clean air not just move it around. If you start getting a headache or feel “off”- turn everything off and get some fresh air immediately.
Q. Can I use a fiber blanket to anneal my boro beads?
A. Sorry, proper annealing MUST be done in a kiln. Some VERY qualified long term glass workers anneal in a flame. I don’t, only been lampworking for about 14 years.
Q. What boro glass do you (Jim) use?
A, I use Glass Alchemy, Momka’s, and Northstar. They all make a high QUALITY glass, and this increases my color palette.
The tools listed are the ones I personally use:
Eye protection: I use a boro shield that was purchased from Aurelis glass co in MN. Highly recommend, or glasses foe BORO, didys will NOT give adequate protection. Have heard some say to use welders glasses. To me, you only get one set of eyes in a lifetime.
Torch : GTT Lynx
Oxygen: I use tanked 02. gives maximum performance 10 psi
Rods: 3/32”, stainless steel. Any smaller diameter, and they will be burning up left and right on you.
Bead release, I use Sludge Plus from Arrow springs
Fire resistant work table surface
Borosilicate glass used For this project:
Double Amber Purple = 1547NS-26 (Northstar)
Star White= 1547 NS-54 (Northstar)
Rasta Gold Crayon = 3OZ GA (Glass Alchemy)
2m.m. clear Boro rods
Some basic advice:
A couple of cautionary words in addition to the fact that heat burns. You will probably melt your first few bead rods. This happens from holding it in the flame too long, and too close. Practice and more practice will correct this for you.
Kiln setting: Set your kiln for 566C or 1050 F. I normally set it for how long I will be torching.
Then, will go get myself a cup of coffee, while the kiln is going up to temp. Kiln is now at 1050, so: it is time to go forward.
Remember the word : P.O.O.P., it is an acronym and is the order of turning your torch on, and off. PLEASE memorize and follow this order.
1. (P) Propane, (O) Oxygen, and shutting down (O) Oxygen, and then (P) Propane.
2. Turn torch on, Propane ONLY . Light with a torch lighter, cigarette lighters are not safe.
3. Now, turn on your oxygen supply. Possibly, the flame will go poof, and go out, if this happens repeat steps 1-3 and turn torch knobs slowly.
4. Use a neutral flame, equal amounts of Propane and Oxygen. (see post #58 of this thread to see how to set a neutral flame)
5. My settings are as follows: propane- 5 psi, O2 10 psi
O.k., eye protection in place,
Triple “B” Basic Boro Bead
1. Preheat your rod of Star White, when it starts to glow, pick up the mandrel you will be using. Make several winds around the mandrel with star white. Keep turning your rod very close to the flame, but not totally in it. Too close, and your metal rod will melt. Continue this until you have a nice even, round bead.
2. Make one wind with your clear boro rod, and melt it in.
3. Make one wind with your Rasta Gold, over the clear wind you just melted in., and melt it about 50- 60% into the clear.
4. Take your double amber purple rod, and lay a wrap over the Rasta gold. Melt in about the same amount, 50-60%.
5. Now, take your clear, and make dots with it, going right into the gold and amber. Make 5 dots with the clear rod.
6. Still, using your clear rod, go back and make squiggles in the colors you have in place.
7. Almost done, encase you bead in clear boro.
8. Keep turning until it is as round as you can get it. Remember glass moves toward the flame, it’s just slower with boro.
9. Let your bead cool for a moment or two (like a five count), put on your ZETEX gloves. Open kiln door, and place your new creation in there to anneal. (Minimum annealing 30 Min) After your annealing time is done you can just turn off the kiln and let it cool naturally, you do not need to ramp down.
10. When your kiln has cooled to room temperature, open, and admire your new creation .
Hope this tutorial has been helpful, and easy to understand. Any comments pro or con are welcome.