Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tweaking my space (And other pipe dreams)

I’m always fiddling with my work space…all 32 square feet.  There’s more potential space in my basement but that’s currently occupied by a Model Railroad that I am loathe to tear out simply because I’ve put a ton of work into it (with a ton more to go) and at some point I’d like to return to that vice (well it’s a good one really).  Well in the meantime I’m always try to find new ways to create more storage.  I recently had a microwave on the floor in the corner and decided to move it out into the garage. I had originally thought that I would use it for making prototypes using my microwave kiln.  Well it went untouched for about 6 months and I figured I could make better use of the space and put a couple of shelves in there.   For those of you who are morbidly curious here is a visual tour of my space.

Here’s the entry to my lair.  I got some shelves for storing molds off to the right.


The kiln area.  The entire area is sheathed in 1/2 in inch durock with a double layer behind the kiln where it’s closest to the wall. The duct work for the kiln is for venting the space: one draws in cool air and circulates down around the bottom of the space to help cool the control box and the vent up top pulls the warm air out and vents it outside. the configuration works pretty well.  On the balance this is not the ideal situation; I wish I had more space on the back side of the Kiln but the double layer of durock does keep things nice and cool right on the other side of the wall.





The space underneath my workbench.



The topside of my workbench



The shelves above my work bench.  The duck work in the picture is for a kitchen floor vent.



Now do I have a dream glass shop?  Sure! Our garage is due for replacement and I’ve imagined taking it’s current 20 foot length and adding another 10 – 12 feet for a glass shop.  I addition, since we’ve never used the garage as an actual garage, I’ve proposed to my better half that once we rebuild the garage I could put a faux wall in about 10 feet from the actual garage door.  We’d use the from space for storage (lawn mower, gardening stuff, bikes, etc.) and use the remaining space as a hobby room for me and my wife: she could do her painting on one side and I could do my glass on the other.  We’ll see how things shake out.

One thing I needed to change was the chair I was using.  It’s a Swedish Balans chair and while it’s really comfortable I can think of at least half a dozen occasions where I’ve nearly killed myself (or something I was carrying) while trying to step over the chair or push it out of the way. I decided I needed something with wheels.


Here’s what I found at Goodwill.


OK.  I’ll admit it is a bit overkill for the space but I fell in love when I set my delicate posterior down in it. It’s truly an old leather captain’s char (captain as in Kirk…not Crunch) .


Friday, May 23, 2014

Messing around with Iridescent glass

I decided to make some decorative plates using iridescent glass.  I  built them directly in the casting ring on a broken piece of kiln shelf.  The shelf is just big enough to hold an 8 inch ring so it was easy for me to transport the entire rig to the kiln when I was done assembling the piece.  I don’t have a clamshell kiln so it’s a real pain (literally) to build something like this directly in the kiln.


I started off with a foundation of 3 mm transparent bull's-eye glass and then topped it off with a mixture of clear and transparent orange frit.  For this first piece I actually cut an 8 inch circle of glass and placed it on the bottom of the ring.  For subsequent pieces I used scrap glass for the bottom layer and used clear frit to make up the difference.  The first layer comes to about 9oz of glass. I then used about 3oz of colored frit and the remaining 6oz was the transparent red and iridescent glass. I carefully weighted all the components so I ended up with a little over 18 ounces of glass which will create a blank about 6mm thick.  So so first layer is the transparent glass, next the colored frit and finally the transparent red glass followed by the iridescent.


Here’s the shelf in place in the kiln.


All done!


I made another one using transparent blue and here’s one I did today using green.



Here’s the blue and red one with the edges ground and ready for a fire polish.