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Glass Blowing Lathes - affordable and functional

A glass lathe is a specialized tool used by glass artists to shape and smooth glass pieces. It consists of a rotating chuck or mandrel that holds the glass piece, and a set of tools that are used to shape and smooth the glass. Glass lathes are available in different sizes and designs, and can be powered by electricity or compressed air.

Learning how to use a glass lathe can be a challenging but rewarding process for glass artists. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to learn about using a glass lathe, including tips and techniques for mastering this valuable tool.

Step 1: Research and learn about different types of glass lathes

The first step in learning how to use a glass lathe is to research and learn about the different types of glass lathes available. Glass lathes can be classified into two main categories: manual lathes and automatic lathes.

Manual lathes are operated by hand, and require the glass artist to manually rotate the chuck and move the shaping tools. These lathes are typically smaller and more portable than automatic lathes, and are suitable for working on smaller pieces of glass. They are also more affordable and can be a good option for beginners.

Automatic lathes, on the other hand, are powered by electricity or compressed air, and use a motor to rotate the chuck and move the shaping tools. These lathes are larger and more complex than manual lathes, and are typically used for working on larger pieces of glass. They offer greater precision and control, and can be used for more complex shaping and smoothing techniques.

In addition to the type of lathe, there are also different designs and features to consider. Glass lathes can have different chuck sizes and shapes, and can be equipped with different sets of shaping tools. Some lathes may also have additional features, such as a foot pedal or variable speed control, that can make the shaping process easier and more precise.

It is important to research and learn about the different types of glass lathes and their features, in order to choose the right lathe for your needs and preferences. You can learn about glass lathes by reading articles and reviews, watching instructional videos, or consulting with other glass artists or lathe manufacturers.

Step 2: Practice and gain experience with the glass lathe

Once you have chosen a glass lathe and are familiar with its features and operations, the next step is to practice and gain experience with the tool. This will help you develop your skills and techniques, and will allow you to become more comfortable and confident with the lathe.

When practicing with the glass lathe, it is important to start with simple shapes and techniques, and gradually work your way up to more complex shapes and techniques. You can begin by practicing on small pieces of glass, such as beads or pendants, and gradually work your way up to larger pieces.

It is also important to pay attention to the details and techniques of shaping and smoothing the glass. This includes selecting the right tools for the job, using the right amount of pressure and speed, and maintaining a consistent and controlled motion. Proper technique will help you achieve the desired shape and smoothness of the glass, and will prevent mistakes and accidents.

As you practice and gain experience with the glass lathe, you can try experimenting with different shapes and techniques, and see what works best for you. You can also try working with different types of glass, such as clear, colored, or patterned glass, and see how the lathe affects the appearance and properties of the glass.

Step 3: Seek guidance and mentorship from experienced glass artists

While practicing and gaining experience with the glass lathe is important, it can also be helpful to seek guidance and mentorship from experienced glass artists. Working with an experienced glass artist can provide valuable insights and advice on how to use the glass lathe effectively, and can help you overcome challenges and improve your skills and techniques.

Experienced glass artists can also introduce you to advanced techniques and materials that can enhance your glass art, and can provide guidance on how to create unique and beautiful pieces of glass art using the glass lathe. In addition, working with an experienced glass artist can be a great way to learn about the history and culture of glass art, and can provide inspiration and motivation for your own creative pursuits.

There are several ways to seek guidance and mentorship from experienced glass artists. You can attend workshops, classes, or seminars, where experienced glass artists can provide hands-on instruction and guidance. You can also join glass art organizations or communities, where you can connect with other glass artists and learn from their experiences and expertise. Additionally, you can reach out to experienced glass artists directly, and ask for advice, guidance, or feedback on your work.

Step 4: Continue learning and exploring new techniques and materials

Learning how to use a glass lathe is an ongoing and lifelong process, and there is always more to learn and explore. As you gain experience and expertise with the glass lathe, you can continue to learn and develop new skills and techniques, and experiment with different materials and techniques.

For example, you can learn about advanced techniques, such as encasing, fuming, or laminating, that can add depth and complexity to your glass art. You can also experiment with different types of glass, such as dichroic, iridized, or reactive glass, and see how these materials affect the appearance and properties of your glass art. Additionally, you can learn about different finishing techniques, such as coldworking or polishing, that can enhance the beauty and durability of your glass art.

By continuing to learn and explore new techniques and materials, you can expand your creative horizons and push the boundaries of glass art. This can inspire and challenge you to create original and unique pieces of glass art, and can keep you engaged and motivated in your glass art journey.


Learning how to use a glass lathe can be a challenging but rewarding process for glass artists. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can learn about the different types of glass lathes, practice and gain experience with the lathe, seek guidance and mentorship from experienced glass artists, and continue learning and exploring new techniques and materials.

By mastering the glass lathe, you can unlock the full potential of glass as a medium for artistic expression, and create beautiful and unique pieces of glass art. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced glass artist, learning how to use a glass lathe can be a rewarding and fulfilling journey that can enrich and enhance your glass art practice.



Online Stock Status - Our real time stock status gives you the comfort of knowing whether the product you are searching for is on hand as you are browsing our website. Products that are not drop ship items and/or are not in stock will display an out of stock message to let you know. We will contact you if you order an out of stock item to update you on the status of the product and offer related items. If an out of stock product prohibits you from ordering from us please call and check the status. Most items are on the way to us if they are out of stock and will be shipped promptly when they arrive.

Back Order Policy - Back orders shipping domestically are sent free of shipping and handling charges (with the exception of 5ft tubing and rod, items requiring freight shipment, or items that would have shipped in their own box originally).We work to gather all back ordered items before any shipping or billing occurs.  We hold back orders open for 30 days.  We will make every attempt to acquire the back ordered items within that time period.  If there are items we were not able to acquire within 30 days we will ship any back order items we do have, remove the missing items from the order and email you when they do become available.
If in the rare instance our inventory is inaccurate when you place an order we will contact you via phone and/or email to notify you.  We will then wait 24 hours for a response.  If we do not hear back from you we will remove the product from your order. If you are interested in having the item back order, you will need to contact us so we can create a back order.

Return and Restocking Fee - First and foremost we want you to be 100% satisfied with every purchase. If you order a product and are not completely satisfied with it you may return the item. You must notify Mountain Glass of the return within 20 business days of receiving the product. Once the merchandise is received in new condition with the original packaging, a store credit or credit card/check refund will be issued. Depending on the circumstances there may be a restocking fee of up to 20%. 
Payment - We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, PayPal, and wire transfers ($30 fee). We will also accept prepayment with a check or money order (personal checks must clear, approximately 2 weeks, before an order can be sent out).

Credit Cards - Credit cards are not billed when an order is placed. They are billed once the order is boxed up and weighed to ensure the proper amount is charged the first time.
PayPal - Please note that this is a complicated form of payment for us to accept and can delay your order. This occurs when the actual amount owed differs from the amount sent to us via PayPal at the time of order placement. Minor changes occur due to weighing, packing and processing the product for shipment, which can result in a refund or request for additional funds. if additional funds are needed we will not be able to ship the order until the funds have been received, which leads to delays in shipping your package.

Cutting Fees
Please Note:   Our on-line shipping calculator will analyze your order to see if it is cheaper to cut your glass or ship it full length.   If it is determined that we can save you money by cutting your 4ft or 5ft tubing/rod we will do so.  If you do not want us to cut your glass please add a note in the comment section of your order. Be aware that requesting we not cut your glass when it is suggested we do so OR requesting your glass to be cut when it is suggested we don’t can increase your shipping total dramatically.

* Why did we decide to cut your glass and add a fee? We did so to save you money. Your overall cost is still lower than if we did not cut.
* Is there a limit on the quantity we will cut? – Once cutting fees go over a certain amount, the savings to your shipping costs become too close to the cost of the cutting fee making it not worth doing. In addition, if we cut too much, your box would become too wide and would incur fees equal to a 5 foot long box. This is also why we only cut in half and not in 1/3rd’s
* Why do we charge to cut glass? - There are many costs associated with cutting glass. Additional labor is required to stage, cut, clean and wrap the glass.  There are safety issues for our employees so we must create a safe environment for cutting which costs money.  We must purchase, maintain and replace the equipment and tools.  In addition, inevitably, tubes of glass are damaged during the cutting process and need discarded.
* Why will we only cut up to 50mm tubing? – Larger size tube is more complicated to cut and expensive to replace if there is damage.
Condition of cut glass - Be aware the ends may be rough, sharp and/or uneven.  While we do our best to keep the glass clean during the process, tubes may have glass fragments or dust inside.

Additions to Orders -  Please keep in mind that changing an order does require additional work for us and does leave more room for error to occur. Also, changing an order can cause delays since once a change is made the time stamp on the order goes to the time the change was made. It is also much easier for us to edit an order before it is packaged. Once an order is packaged we may need to charge an additional handling fee due to having to un-box the order, re-pack, re-weigh and print new labels. We have always been happy to help our customers in any way, but please try to keep the number of order changes to as few as possible.

Help Us Help You! - When we call you regarding your order, it helps everyone if you listen to your voicemail before calling back. This way you will know what the call was in regards to and who to ask for. Sometimes the staff member who called you may be still typing notes in the computer or may already be on another call, in this case we can't tell who contacted you or why. We are always happy to help if you do not know this information, but it makes it more difficult. Thank you for understanding.