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Tips and Tricks - Page 1

Annealing Temperatures

Please note, this is a general cycle only, times must be adjusted for very thick pieces. We suggest reading Bandu Dunham's Contemporary Lampworking Vol. 2 for the most complete information & formulas. 

Ramp up - 38 min ambient to 1050F
Soak - 15 min at 1050F
Slow Cool - 30 min to 910F
Fast Cool - 47 min to ambient

Soft Glass
Ramp up – 3 hours ambient to 960F
Soak – 1 hour 30 minutes at 960F
Slow Cool – 2 hours to 810F
Fast Cool – 1 hour to ambient

Sentry Xpress Digital Temperature Controller User Manual 

Double Helix

Double Helix Tips Tricks and Tutorials 

Bluff Road Glass Tutorials


Instructions for Working Dichroic Sheet Glass 

CBS Dichroic Tubing

5 Tips for Successful use of Dichroic Tubing

1. Always warm the tubing in the kiln at 1050◦F for at least 20 min before use. The dark cobalt can get a rose color strike if it sits above 1050 for too long. But this does not affect the stability of the glass.
2. When entering the tube into the flame use a large high oxygen bushy flame. This is a thick piece of glass so don’t short yourself on heat. A small pointy flame will not be able to heat it up enough and will cause it to crack when entering into the flame.
3. For brightest dichroic color use a high oxygen bushy flame. The goal here is to avoid the bright white heat state. To test the flame, you can put the end of a 6 mm rod in the flame and it will gather and get bright orange but will not get bright white and drip off the handle. You want to stay in the red to bright orange level. Think core heat vs. surface heat. 
4. Be careful not to blow the material out too thin. It is very difficult to get it to condense back down once blown out. The encasement is very thick so when you either stretch the tube down or blow the tube out, the outer clear layer does most of the expanding leaving the dichroic layer very dense and un-stretched. 
5. To achieve bright clean terminations use a carbon paddle in the flame to push the point in rather than melting it in. Heat the thicker base of the termination as you press in, rather than the tip.

How to work Amber Purple...
1) Heat Amber Purple using a hot oxidizing flame. If the flame is not oxidizing enough the Amber Purple will turn a milky brown color and not strike purple. 
2) Heat with the oxidizing flame to burn off the haze. (Haze is a layer of reduced silver that deposits on the surface of the Amber Purple when it is first heated. it is crucial to heat that off, so the color doesn't become clouded.)
3) After all of the haze has been removed, you can start shaping.
4) Let the glass cool until it stops glowing. If the color is a transparent yellow, it is in an un-struck state. Allowing the bead to cool is a crucial step in achieving a good purple strike. 
5) To strike, gently pass it through a cool oxidizing flame for two to three seconds, then fully cool.
6) Repeat step five until the desired color is achieved. Amber purple can produce a number of shades depending on the cool off period and number of strikes.


Coming soon...

Glass Alchemy

Setting A Neutral Flame
Glass Alchemy recommends you always work with a neutral flame (saving reduction for the final step)—it helps maintain consistency and vibrancy in your work and eliminates the cracking of chrome colors.  The neutral flame test in borosilicate was developed at Glass Alchemy with Amazon Night, 987 and is now an industry standard. No flame will ever be neutral from base to tip and each torch has a different neutral zone. The area closest to the torch face tends to be reducing so don’t work too close.  When properly set, the middle section is neutral and is the ideal flame for working colored borosilicate. 

Heat a rod of Amazon Night, 987 until it glows a dull orange; remove from flame and cool.  If the rod does not change color, you have a neutral flame!

If the rod is light sky blue1 or has a metallic sheen2 this means the flame is reducing and the propane needs to be decreased. 

Note: that the propane to oxygen ratio depends on the torch you are using.

If the rod is sky blue, the flame is very reducing and should be adjusted by decreasing the propane pressure at the regulator (ex: from 4 to 2 pound).

If the rod has a metallic luster, try decreasing the propane on the torch or at the regulator in ¼ pound increments until you are able to heat the rod without a color change.

Understanding Striking
By Henry Grimmett 

Some glass formulations, such as transparent ruby (colored with copper) and those that are colored with silver, change color when heated or cooled in specific ways. However, the reasons for their color changes aren't necessarily the same. The term striking has come to refer to any color change in the glass due to heat treatment of some sort. While this terminology is acceptable for lampworking it should be understood that copper and silver glasses undergo very different reactions.

In our Ruby glasses copper is the element responsible for the color change. Copper oxides (Cu2O) are added to the batch and melted. As the glass is melted the Copper molecules and the associated oxygen molecules break apart and join with other molecules in the batch. Rapid cooling of the glass causes these high temperature bonds to become permanent and leaves the glass clear. The magic of the ruby color is that these bonds can be broken at the annealing temperature of the glass and the copper is free to create Cu2O and colloidal Cu particles. (There is some debate whether it is the Cu or the Cu2O that creates the ruby color, however, a combination of the two creates the best effect). Glasses that undergo this type of molecular realignment are what were traditionally referred to as striking colors.

The other type of color change is caused by crystal growth. Glasses such as our Silver Strike series, our Amazon series, and our Chameleon series, can be looked at as having millions of tiny molecules of silver floating around the glass network. These tiny silver particles reflect a yellow wavelength when evenly dispersed through the glass. The fundamental difference between the copper and silver strike is how these particles react to heat. The copper particles free themselves and form individual Cu or Cu2O particles that reflect red light. The more red particles there are, the darker the ruby color. Silver, however, frees itself from the glass and bonds with other free silver particles creating silver crystals of varying size.

The crystal growth process is a function of time and temperature, and can be controlled for the creation of the full spectrum of colors silver can produce. If the glass is subjected to high heat, the silver particles are freed from the glass matrix and move through the glass until subsequent cooling forces them back into the matrix causing the glass to look the same as before it was heated. (Note: Returning to its original rod color takes place in glass that contains only silver. Glasses such as the Amazon and Chameleon series, have nuclei present which allow silver particles to form crystals and prevent them from returning to their original state.) When the glass is cooled, not all of the silver particles make it back into the glass matrix. Upon subsequent heating these homeless silver bits act as nuclei, or places for larger, more stable silver crystals to grow. It is this heating, cooling and reheating process that enables larger crystal growth. The color reflected by the glass is a function of the size of these crystals varying from yellow (small crystals) though purple, blues and greens (large crystals).


Trautman Art Glass


A striking Ruby Red glass. Work in a neutral to oxidizing flame. Red Elvis is an “easy strike” color. It self strikes as it cools but will get darker with flame striking or kiln striking. Flame strike in an oxidizing atmosphere. Red Elvis strikes at a slightly lower temperature than most rubies. Light Red Elvis is a lighter, sometimes streaky red. Some Light Red Elvis is made to kiln-strike.

A striking, very saturated and dark Ruby Red glass. Great for stringers and very thin work. May be used as a black too. Work in a neutral to oxidizing flame Black Elvis will self-strike as it cools but will get darker with flame striking or kiln striking. Flame strike in an oxidizing atmosphere. Black Elvis strikes at a slightly lower temperature than most rubies.

Yellow Elvis is an easy-striking yellow glass in the amber/purple family. Work in an oxidizing flame for brighter colors. Work in a reducing flame for softer earth tones. It will self-strike as it cools but will get darker with flame striking or kiln striking. Flame strike in an oxidizing atmosphere. Apricot is a darker member of the amber/purple family. Oxidize for brighter colors; reduce for flesh and earth tones. Apricot will also strike.

A self-striking sable black, BlackJack is transparent when hot. Thin for use as brown. Likes an oxidizing atmosphere.

A highly saturated cobalt blue. May be used as a black or thinned to blue. Work in an oxidizing atmosphere. Reducing this color may cause some gray streaks.

CARAMELO - QUEEN BEE (aka Caramelo Light)
Caramelo is a very saturated and reactive opaque member of the amber/purple family. The Light version, Queen Bee, is less saturated, and gives more purples. Oxidize for brighter colors; reduce for flesh and earth tones. This color will strike.

Aventurine colors, not sensitive to atmosphere. The Leprechauns are medium-dense colors. Avoid long, hot garaging to prevent checking in implosions.

Named for sphagnum moss, these aventurine colors are not sensitive to atmosphere. Sphagnum and Blue Sphagnum both have lighter, less-dense color than the Leprechauns, and work well in implosions. The Blue Sphagnum is bluer than Sphagnum, but far greener than Blue Leprechaun.

Opaque or semi-opaque colors shot through with flecks of white “snow” which smoothes out in the flame. Should be worked in a neutral or oxidizing atmosphere. Blue is lapis colored; Teal is a dark opaque teal blue; Red is generally opaque brick, but can be somewhat translucent; these three colors still feature the “snow.” Kiwi is an opaque bright lime green; the Pink is an opaque “candy pink”; the Wisteria a very opaque blue-purple. These three Candy Colors have now shed most of their Blizzard texture and are smooth.

A variation on our popular Kiwi, Slyme can range from translucent, to a milky semi-opaque. Transparent parts can restrike to a ghostly milky green. But even the opaque parts of the Slyme will become translucent with more heat. Work the dense-looking ones cooler to keep them more opaque, if you like, then change the opacity of the piece in certain areas with additional heat! Prefers a reducing atmosphere, although not a reducing color. Work cooler until Slyme is up to temperature for best results.

While more stable than many cadmium colors, Super Canary, Mango, Mandarin, Coraline and Reef Red should be worked cool, in the upper part of your flame, or encased, to prevent the “boiling” that is typical for cadmiums. Canary, TAG-033-16, is more translucent with about three-quarters of the saturation of Super Canary, making it less dense, and less susceptible to boiling.

A reactive “silvered” cobalt blue, reformulated from one of Paul’s old favorites. Different colors are produced from
reduction or oxidation. Most often produces a wide variety of blues and greens. Haze doesn’t burn off like A/P’s will.

A new member of the amber/purple family, but with a coffee colored base instead of amber-yellow. Also has a light aventurine sparkle! Best reactions occur in a mid-range of temperatures. Shows different effects in reduction, oxidation, and encasement. For a nice opalescence, trap the reduction effects under a layer of clear. Blues, purples, greens, ambers, and more can be produced on the surface of this glass.

These aventurine colors look similar to the Leprechaun and Blue Leprechaun, except with a far denser base and a supermetallic shimmer of fine sparkles. These resemble car paint or shampoo! Due to the extreme density of the colors, Heavy Leprechaun (green) is not recommended for implosions or inside-out work, but the reformulated Heavy Blue Leprechaun may be safely imploded into marbles, within reason. They are not very sensitive to flame atmosphere, but reduction should be avoided on any Heavy Blue Leprechaun that you intend to implode. Limit hot garaging.

An aventurine blue, this one has large, glittery crystals suspended in a transparent sapphire blue base. Great for layering. The usual cautions against long, hot garaging technically apply since this is an aventurine color, however it is proving to be highly stable in implosions due to its transparency. Heavy version is darker in color, and has higher density of sparkle.

Stag is a very dense, bright opaque white that retains its opacity even when fairly thin. Jawbone is an off-white opaque glass. Both resist the boiling that typically plagues white boro. Jawbone’s color is more organic than our bright white Stag, but like Stag, Jawbone also works smooth and creamy, despite its slightly grainy texture in the rod. They work in all flame atmospheres; however, a cooler flame is suggested for Jawbone, as brighter white specks in this color are an indication of over-heating.

A very smooth and creamy new opaque white, made from scratch here at TAG. Resists boiling once brought up to
temperature, and has a fine, smooth texture, especially compared to our Stag and Jawbone. Paul calls it “docile and
dense,” and our testers say it works like “buttah.” Not sensitive to atmosphere.

Smoother than our BlackJack, and much darker. Knight Rider is a dense black that likes an oxy environment. It can get a little bit gray with heavy reduction, but you can pull it pretty thin and still have a good, solid black.

Mai Tai Pink appears colorless in the rod, but changes dramatically in the kiln! Work in some reduction for layered effects, and flame strike to barely amber. Then anneal and watch the colors change. May be run through repeated cycles to darken, or kilned up to 1150 to speed the kiln strike. Burn off haze to see more pinks and purples, or leave the haze on for bluer effects. Double can develop more color in the kiln, but strikes well in the flame, with lots of pink especially over white. Mega gives massive color in the flame, not the kiln. These are amber-purples with less amber, more purple.

A dense and sparkly aventurine color; our newest batches of Mighty Moss are encasable, and may be imploded with caution. Older batches are best used on the outside of your piece. Like all aventurine colors, you should limit long, hot garaging and use the shortest anneal cycle possible. 

Trautman COE 104 Soft Glass 
Anneal = 945°F (Juno 975°F)

An amber-purple glass, similar to our Caramelo, but in a soft glass. Opaque. Most batches respond well to deep heating in the gather, before applying to your bead. Dalai can appear to boil a bit when white hot, but those bubbles disappear as it cools. Shape in a hot neutral flame, and cool until no longer glowing; it may even blush amber. Then strike in a neutral-to-oxidizing flame for beautiful effects, generally ranging from light Painted Desert or jasper (especially if not deeply heated first) to dark reddish purples (when first activated by deep heat.) Or reduce for a different, earthier look. Colors range from tans and ambers (particularly when reduced) to blues and greens, and gorgeous pinks and purples when struck hot. If you are not getting purples, you’re likely not cooling the glass enough between heating and striking. Dalai encases well, and retains reactive effects under clear.

This glass appears crystal clear in the rod, but changes dramatically when reduced, then struck. Zeus turns
amber by itself and over light colors. Over black, it’s reduction film can be struck to a range from royal blue to
turquoise to green. Can also be reduced further to amber brown opaques. Encases well, and the reaction often gets more opaque under clear. Try it over oranges or reds for a great electric purple! On striking gold-ruby, Zeus can make a peachy color. It’s turquoise over purples.... etc etc! 

A self-striking dark grey/brown rod that can make at least three colors when flameworked. It oxidizes to black, reduces to a grey, and, with super-heating and further reduction can produce subtle terra-cotta and brick reds. Very earthy. Also makes a good base for silvered colors.

Just like the classic reactive amber/purple boro, now in 104 soft glass! A transparent version of Dalai Lama, this amber/purple glass strikes easily in a neutral flame, producing electric greens over black, or electric blues and purples alone. Tibet can go pinkish over ivory glass or other light colors. Solo, struck Tibet looks reddish when held to the light. Best results come from striking in a neutral to oxidizing flame. This glass can also be reduced for a different look. Try it on Moretti copper green! Tibet does not generally require deep heating, just light striking. Transcendental is a darker version of Tibet; it can have a skin that is translucent, or even opaque. It also strikeseasily and does not require deep heat – however, Transcendental can become cloudy with long hot working. It can be cleaned up a bit with cooling the bead, then burning off the silver haze in a strong oxygen flame.

A more reactive cobalt-purple relative of “Blue Buddha.” Reduces easily. Gains a beautiful mirror-like finish
with full reduction in an un-oxygenated flame. When reduced with oxygen, Cezanne tends to give more greens. Some batches produce streaky reactive effects. Occasionally boily; if so, up your gas and work higher in the fire.

Named for the town in Mexico renowned for combining silver and turquoise. A transparent reactive glass that
produces a shiny mylar surface when reduced without oxygen, or gives a mottled oil-spot look when reduced
lightly with some oxy in the mix, particularly over black or other dark colors. Alone, Taxco can reduce to a
silvery sheen over the blue-green base. Can also reduce more heavily to white clouds with copper and terra cotta patches. However Taxco has a narrow working range - too hot and reduction burns off, but too cool and it won’t stick. Best reduction happens at a barely-orange glow. If it’s a tad boily, turn up the gas & work higher in the fire.

{Note: Does not work with every brand of clear104 glass; we recommend TAG Clarity for
encasement of Juno. She also requires a higher anneal (975 to 980 F) and slightly longer soak time.}

The wife of Zeus, Juno is pretty and pink; a reducing glass that also strikes. When reduced alone, she can go
amber, and can develop a metallic sheen. But, like Zeus, Juno’s reduction haze can be intensified, brightened and made more opaque by striking it. Her reduction haze ranges from greenish to bluish to pink/purplish, depending on the batch and the background color. The reduction haze is enhanced with encasement. Juno also strikes in a neutral to oxidizing flame, with an unusual yellow glow. For an interesting effect, try simply striking Juno on a  base of Moretti dark ivory, for a range of colors from pink, purple, periwinkle and even coppery hues! However, overworking Juno can burn out her color. In general, “3 strikes and you’re out.” Also, applying Juno cooler gives more purples over ivory, while heating the rod more in advance tends to produce more copper colors.

This is a pale green transparent reducing glass, similar to our Taxco. Golden Emerald’s effects also differ over a light or dark base glass, and by how much oxygen you use in your reduction flame. When reduced with little or no oxygen, by itself, the Golden Emerald takes on a golden metallic sheen over its transparent golden green. When reduced with some oxygen, on a dark base glass, Golden Emerald produces strong metallic oil-spot colors of purple, blue, electric green, and more. It is difficult to encase the reduction on Taxco and Golden Emerald.

A pretty transparent medium blue reducer, Lake Geneva can make super-metallic effects when reduced with little or no oxygen, and a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. In general, the Lake Geneva makes blues, greens and some purples when reduced. The reduction can be made more opaque  by ‘striking’ it. The reduction can also be encased for Mother of Pearl effects.

{Pronounced MON-tro, named for a town on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland.}

A lovely transparent medium purple reducer, Montreux can make super-metallic effects when reduced with little or no oxygen, and a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it. The reduction can also be encased for MOP effects. In general, Montreux’s reduction colors range from blues and greens to purples, but the base color can also vary from amethyst to light raisin to medium ink purple. Inky blue-purple is now standard for Montreux.

A luscious deep dark transparent purple, Deep Purple reduces with super-metallic effects with little or no oxygen,and gains a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it, and it can also be encased, trapping a beautiful MOP. Deep Purple generally reduces with blues and greens, but can also create purples, pinks and even bronze-like tones in the metallic sheen. The density of the color also lends itself well to thin applications, including stringers.

Our Lotus recipe brings the Dalai Lama striking 104 into even more beautiful territory. Dalai Lotus rods
range from opaque tan, to translucent amber, and, like any striking amber-purple they produce the amber-topurple-to-blue transition.... but THEN they keep going! To green, and yellow and orange and magenta and
violet.... and??? This recipe likes more heat than the regular Dalai recipe, both in the initial gather and in the 
repeated strikes. It also likes to be cooled much more before re-striking. In other words, this is a glass that really likes long, hot working and cool marvering. Encases well, but also keeps color well in the kiln, even if left unencased. For best results, bring the gather to WHITE hot, then add Lotus to your bead base, cool until no longer glowing, and then – wait more! You should see the glass ‘blush’ amber. This is what will continue to strike. If you over strike, you can reset Lotus by reheating back to transparent.

And then there is FIRE! This is Dalai Lotus, with the addition of a kiln-striking red. So, you work this
glass just like Dalai Lotus, lots of heat, and a significant cool-down, then strike away... Generally, Fire Lotus
beads look the same at the end of a normal, 950 anneal as they did going into the kiln. But a boro-hot anneal cycle can change ambers into pinks. You can also put your beads into the kiln at 1000 degrees, and hold at the hotter temperature for an hour or so, then drop to a regular 104 anneal cycle, to further develop the reds and purples in this glass if you did not like your initial strike colors. This gives you more control over your final look. Like Dalai Lotus, Fire Lotus likes a WHITE-hot start, and significant cooling between strikes. You can also reset the strike by returning the bead to transparent with high heat. This is particularly useful if your colors begin to look washed out or overstruck. But in general, Fire Lotus doesn’t overstrike, it gets “poo” colors from not allowing the glass to cool enough between strikes. The amber blush is your friend!