Monday, August 29, 2005

More Pics

Here's some pictures from the Day of Christening at Bella Forte.

Christening For Bella Forte

It is done! Bella Forte is now a fully functioning hot glass studio.

Heap big thanks to Andy and Angela Boatman and Brent Hickenbotham of Blue Sage Studios for coming down to the Christening of Bella Forte! Andy programmed my annealer. We made 4 or 5 pieces and "boxed" them (that's glass blowing talk for sticking your glasswork in the annealer) and finished at about 1 am Sunday morning. Andy even brought us a "studio warming" gift (a big jar of powdered frit) I don't care what everybody else says, I think he's a very thoughtfuland nice guy. (just kidding about the part of what everybody else says)

Linda and I also had our I two daughters, Kim and Krista, Krista's boyfriend, Carson, Kim's friend Crystal, Micah's girlfriend and pretty much member of the family, Anna - Micah couldn't make it in person because he was on his way back to NEO (after which he played in his first college game and did well - and NEO beat UCO) but he was there in spirit and on the phone.

I put 25 pounds of glass in the furnace about 1:30am, 9:00 am, 1:00pm, & 3:00 pm Sunday for a total of 100 pounds and am cooking it and will probably be able to blow on Wednesday.

Looking forward to many flawless excursions into glassblowing excellence.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Look Ma! Hot Glass!

The glass in the furnace finally got hot enough. However, there were very small micro-bubbles in the glass. Brent @ Blue Sage Studios said that comes from some of the fine grains of sand holding on to a tiny bubble. He said that's normal, just turn the furnace down about 200 - 300 degrees for about 12 hours and it would squeeze the bubbles out. I did, it did. The glass is awesome. Andy, Angela, Brent, and Drew from Blue Sage Studio are going to come out on Saturday after Micah's first college football game (N.E.O. @ U.C.O. in Edmond), and program my annealer and blow the first glass @ Bella Forte. That means next week I should be blowing consistently and get my touch back. I have really only blown once (I think) since last Christmas. My how time flies! Today's the 25th, it's only 4 months until Christmas. WOW!

Following are pictures of the furnace and glory hole set-up showing the rolling heat shield I made and also the propane hand torch cart I made. I have a picture of the pipe hanger also, but it's so thin that it's hard to see really good with everything else in the back ground. More pictures inside the studio coming later.

Also. . . Special thanks to Dr. Siler, Michelle, Kelley and Tammy for all your kindness today.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Hotter Than H. . .

Or at least it seems that way. I'm talking about the furnace. I don't have a temp gauge yet. I am trying to procure one from Federal Corp. I threw some glass canning jars I had asked my mom to save for me in the furnace so I could get an idea of hot it was getting in my furnace. After the third day, they had melted but upon trying to get a gather it became apparent that something was different than what I was used to. They glass wasn't nearly "liquid" enough. So I took the glob of glass on my blowpipe and stuck in my glory hole for what seemed like a long time and it never got dripping hot. My glory hole seemed as hot as I was used to a glory hole being but the glass didn't respond. I then theorized that the glass jars might be made out of different kind of glass that responds differently than what I was used to. So I cleaned out the glass of the furnace and dumped about 25 pounds of my "batch" glass in and am now waiting the 2 or so days for it to heat up. If that doesn't do the trick, then I my have to search for another blower that blows at a higher velocity than what I have. Still waiting for that elusive "hot glass"!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"...And On The Third Day. . . "

3 Days and about 2 hours and the furnace is still heating up slowly. Cheri said it could take about 4 days to get it hot enough. Looking forward to hot glass.

Today I fabricated some more small but handy equipment. I made a blowpipe holder. A blowpipe holder is what you use when you are blowing glass solo. After you have blown the piece and you are ready to "transfer" it, you hang the piece in the blowpipe holder while you grab a "punty" (it's like a blowpipe except it doesn't have a mouth piece and the hole running all the way through the length of the pipe) and get a "gather" of fresh glass out of the furnace (that's so the punty will stick to the other end of the piece you are working on). You then grab the blowpipe, lay it on your glass blowers bench across the supports and stick the punty to the other end of the piece and knock off the blowpipe. The piece is then "Transfered". If you are familar with the process, you probably understand what I just said, if not, it may not make sense to you yet. Maybe later I can take pictures and explain each step a little better.

I also finished fabricating my hand torch caddy and my glory hole door opener rod and the place to hang it. Small, time consuming stuff, but kinda needful.

Now all I have to do while I'm waiting for the heat to come up is:
• Get rid of the the construction clutter that has accumulated in and around the studio. (It's hard to imagine that I'm so messy.)
• Hang some more sheetrock
• Hang some more slat wall paneling
• Hang some shelves
• Get everything organized

Then I will be ready for Andy Boatman and his crew to come and blow the first offical pieces @ Bella Forte. Once again, Andy and the folks at Blue Sage Studios have been really good to me. I am blessed to have them as friends.

Micah, if your reading this we miss you alot. You're where you are supposed to be, so stay dedicated and work hard and put those running backs and quaterbacks on their A's in a fierce and sudden manner.

Remember the Four C's of Leadership:
• Competence
Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.

• Commitment
The only real measure of commitment is test by action. Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serous promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.

• Character
Action is the real indicator of character.
We DO choose our character.
We create it every time we make a choice.

• Courage
“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are
stiffened.” Billy Graham.
“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” Roman historian Tacitus
“A ship in the harbor is safe,
but that’s not what ships are built for.”

Looking forward to Hot Glass!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Getting Hotter!

It's Tuesday night and the glass jars I threw in the furnace yesterday are now slumped together. Good sign! Even though they were soft enough to slump, when I tapped them with the blow pipe they were still solid. Not hot enough yet, but for sure still moving in the right direction. Hopefully it will continue to get hot enough. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday Morning And All's Well

The furnace stayed lit all night. A good sign. Seems to be headed in the right direction.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hopefully . . .

After talking with Cheri up in Wichita Kansas, I went back out to the furnace, did what she suggested and it seems to be working. According to Cheri it might take 4 days to heat up. I will be checking it every couple hours throughout the night. Hopefully it is now doing what it's supposed to be doing.
Hopefully . . .

Furnace problems

I spent about 4 hours trying to tweak the furnace. No Good. I called the lady I bought it from and she encouraged me that it was possible to make it work. They used it everyday in Colorado. She seems to think I'm trying to have too big a fire. Hope still springs eternal and hopefully I will get it tomorrow. Getting anxious to blow glass.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Furnace

Friday night I hooked up the furnace shortly after hooking up the glory hole. The glory hole worked great! The Furnace did not. I thought I would look at it in the daylight. I had better luck on Saturday with the furnace; however, I am having trouble getting the right air/fuel mixture. After more inspection it looks as though I may not have the correct blower. Looks like I'm back to Grainger to get another blower.

Saturday night I got impatient to blow glass. I busted up some old used glass jars my mom had given me. I turned on the glory hole, heated up a blowpipe and finally got a shard of glass to stick to the blowpipe. Finally after going through that process a number of times I got enough glass on the end of the blowpipe that was equal to a real small "gather" and blocked it with my blocks, blew a bubble in the glass and jacked it with the jacks. What an impressive start! WOW!

I'm going to call Andy and see if he thinks the problem is the wrong blower. Andy can fix anything.

The cooler weather and the rain is nice. It seems like fall.

Friday, August 12, 2005


The gas line is in! The glory hole is hooked up to gas. The glory hole is working! WOW!

Now to hook up the gas to the furnace.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

More Accomplished - Getting closer

Yesterday and today I made significant progress on hooking up my furnace and glory hole. It's looking like somebody could make some glass here one of these days. Andy came out Tuesday and is helping me program the annealer. I don't know what I would do without him! I did some welding on "Scriv" (the furnace) and got my gas line braced up. I fabricated the blower assembly for the furnace - (I hope it works). I've made what seems like 274 trips to Lowes, Home Depot, Locke Supply, and the 2 Westlake Hardware stores getting connection and parts. If I could start working on stuff in the morning and get a full day in, it sure would make it easier. By the time I take breakfast caterings and lunch caterings for the restaurant and unload everything it's usually around 4 or 5 or later. By then, its still hot and my body tells me I need to sit down in the chair for just a little bit (yeah, right!) Next thing I know it's 1 or 2 hours later and I think I better do something even if it's wrong. Anyway . . .

Linda and I took Boy up to N.E.O. on Tuesday and Wednesday to get him in college. Apparently he has the biggest refrigerator in the Athletic dorms. That's cool when you need to eat like he does. We really miss him. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Once I get a little more order to the place I will post some pictures.

Looking forward to ignition.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Hope Springs Eternal

A new week and new hope of lighting the fire in the furnace in this new week. Last week was really busy. The restaurant business has picked up and I have been really burning the candle at both ends. Micah is moving to N.E.O. @ Miami (That's Mi Am AAAA) according to the folks up there. Please!! Anyway Micah is moving to college and is starting 2-a-days on August 10th for football. Man I'm gonna miss him big time! At least I won't have to be running all those sprints with him in the 97 degree heat. I would rather be running the sprints and him still here. Time moves on and things change and kids grow up. Kinda sad . . . But thats the way it is and there's nothing I can do to make time stand still. Been listening to Christopher Cross' song "All Right" a bunch. I will keep you posted.