Me, Myself, and My Torch

"Well, hello there Carlise, my name is Cere. It's nice to meet you!"

As a flameworker, the most powerful tool at our disposal is the torch. From raw gas to burning flame, the torch provides the energy needed to take glass from solid state to molten magic. As someone that typically works with Borosillicate glass (32 or 33 COE), I tend to work towards the hotter parts of the flame, however, if you work with Moretti (104 COE), or soft glass, you may find the cooler areas beneficial to you. No matter what kind of glass you are melting in your torch, when properly familiar with the parts and type of the flame, you can bring your work to new levels.

Q: Oxidizing, Reducing and Neutral: What kind of flame do I have, and what does that mean to me?

A: When being worked, many glass colors are sensitive to the atmosphere or the ratio of mixed gases in the flame. Different atmospheres can produce a diverse array of effects, some desirable and some not as much. It's important to know what kind of flame you are working with and what kind of flame your glass desires. When in doubt, start with a neutral flame and adjust your settings from there.

Reducing Flame
- a flame that is low in oxygen saturation, typically has outwardly bowed edges and a "fluffy" appearance.

Neutral Flame - a flame that has a fairly even ratio of oxygen and propane. Flame typically has parallel edges.

Oxidizing Flame - a flame that is high in oxygen saturation, typically has inwardly bowed edges and a "sharp" appearance.

Q: What if I'm using a Hot Head or Fireworks Torch head?

A: Since you don't have control of the ratio of oxygen to fuel with these types of torches, by knowing the parts of your flame you can overcome some of the obstacles you periodically run into. For example, if you find that some of your colors have a grey or muddy appearance; it's often because they aren't getting their ideal oxygen saturation. By working further out towards the end of the flame, you are allowing more oxygen to enter the mix and therefore able to get some better results from some of the more finicky colors.

Q: How do I know what part of the flame to use?

A: Just like any adventure, you will be well on your way once you have a map! Below you will find the parts of the flame labeled with their primary uses.

Parts of the Flame

A - hottest part of the flame - used most of the time

B - used formetal fuming - gold or silver is vaporized at the tip of the inner cones

C - inner cones - composed of unburned gasses - cool and useless for heating

D - lower edge - used for precise, controlled heating - used for adding detail or stretching thin controlled tapers from rod

E - diffused heat area - used for pre-heating and for some tube work

F - outer reaches - used for preheating and for final heating of tubing just before blowing or stretching

Pendants shown created by artist Cere Seddon.

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Cere Seddon

Cere Seddon

Cere Seddon joined the Delphi team in 2004. She started in the Lansing Creativity Center before taking a yearlong sabbatical to go live in and explore New Zealand. Upon returning, Cere rejoined the Delphi team as part of the Contact Center where she brought her expertise to our International Services program. Recently Cere has joined the merchandising team and maintains many of the wonderful products listed on our website. Cere is no stranger to art glass. She got her start in 2002, when she underwent a yearlong borosilicate lampworking apprenticeship. Cere now enjoys many art glass and jewelry mediums and says that creative passion is something you can never have too much of.