Part 2 of a 2 part series on the basics of glass fusing. In this week's article Donna gives advice on indispensable tools for beginner glass fusers.
In the beginning, I used one larger tool, and that was a Super Star Grinder
. It is still running, running, running! Others have come, and some have gone, but this one is still here. For smaller cold working projects, diamond hand pads do a nice job. The next cutting tool that I bought was a saw. My Taurus 3 Ring Saw
has worked extremely well for me, and I love what I can do with it that I couldn't do before, but I worked for 2 years before I purchased this nifty item.
As for cutters and breakers, I have many, but for me, the Silberschnitt breaker pliers
are a must for small (1/4") strip breaking.....saves so much glass. I use both plastic and metal breakers, and they are not expensive. Toyo
is my favorite brand for cutters, but there are others that I understand are wonderful. The pencil cutter is great for my hand, but you need to handle several yourself to see which is the best fit for you.
I do love the Morton cutting system
....especially the crates! They are wonderful for catching the shards that eat the sides of your hands as you score. It is also great for cutting larger straight cuts and catching frit. In addition, purchase several rulers in different sizes. Many of my rulers were purchased from quilting departments at retail stores. If they don't have anything to keep them from sliding, you can glue a few pieces of rubbery matting that you use to line cabinets on the bottom side. Don't forget a good pair of scissors and tweezers!
I do use glue(s). Although it is really only useful to get your pieces to the kiln, I use both Elmer's Glue and Super Glue....NOT gel! They each have their purposes. Alcohol is what I have chosen to clean the glass with, and soft clean, white towels or paper towels seem to work well for me.
Permanent black markers. both fine and regular points. are a necessity, and silver marker can be used for marking patterns on pieces that will be cut with a saw since they tend to lift the line of the markers and wash it away. We use Vaseline or Chapstick lightly to cover the pattern lines, but to clean this off, you will need acetone.
An alcohol burner with denatured alcohol or a small torch
from Delphi work well for bending stringers of both sizes. Keep a small pad of fiber paper to put under the burner or torch.
When I began, I bought Brad Walker's book, "Contemporary Fused Glass," and several others and began to read. So much of what I needed to know was found there for the price of the book! Time to get started.
Art by Donna Sarafis. Tool images from the home studio of Delphi Artist Melanie Churchill.
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