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Sean Jones 11-20-2019 01:40 AM

Worn jack blades
When I made my jacks I used mild steel for the blades. I wasnít sure there was any point in using carbon steel and hardening them as they were going to get hot in service which could re soften them.
Now I have a little experience I can see that they need to be ware resistant. Is it worth using manganese steel (if I can find it) or is mid/high carbon best. From the colour of my used pair Iíd guess it is worth hardening them as they donít appear to get hot enough to draw there temper and loose there hardness.
I know I shouldnít be grinding them on cold neck lines, Iím getting better at that.

Eben Horton 11-20-2019 11:10 AM

This is just my opinion but you shouldnít judge a jack by its durability but by its workability. You want a set of blades that heat up quickly and hold wax.
Ivan Smith made his blades out of medium carbon Sheffield spring steel. He personally told me this.

If you blow glass properly you should not wear out your blades in your life time. The worst habit (and I have seen many English blowers do this) is to grab the punty rod with your jack blades to apply the punty to the bottom of your piece. This will wear your jacks out in a year of doing this on a regular basis.

If you make blades that are built to be durable the working properties of the steel on the glass may be less than favorable.

Shawn Everette 11-20-2019 11:53 AM

If your jacks are getting hard enough to lose temper, you're doing it wrong. Medium steel should be fine, but Jim uses high and Jeff uses spring. Just remember to be nicer to your jacks that the other tools, your tweezers don't care what you do to them.

Pete VanderLaan 11-20-2019 01:26 PM

My best pair of jacks was made for me by Shorty Finley out of a leaf Spring on an old chevy. Those sadly vanished but they were light and held wax well.
I had a job at one point about 20 years back doing 800 weights and heavy vases for Washington Mutual. The weights were large and involved a hard jacking down off the punty. I wore a groove in the Moores and replaced them with Cutting Edge which have not worn at all. Of all of them, I really miss the one's Shorty made but a lot of that is probably sentimental.

Shawn Everette 11-20-2019 02:05 PM

Jeff's materials and workmanship are top notch, but the ergo's always a little off for me. The angle the handles are set just seem too funky for me to want to get used to. If I had those demascus shears I might change my mind.

The Moore's have always fit my hand better, but they can get beat up easy. I have to fix shop sets every semester, but my personal set is working on 10+ years.

I won't bother to talk about essemce.

Pete VanderLaan 11-20-2019 03:40 PM

My first duck bills came from Essemce. Henry Summa wound up with them but they were wonderful compared to the stuff from Putsch, Jeff's duck bills continue to serve me well.

David Patchen 11-20-2019 06:50 PM

There's a new glassblowing supply store opening in the UK called The Glass Toolbox; you can find them if you google. I'd recommend you see what commercially made jacks they carry and get a pair. The issue of jack blade material has been worked out (with varying degrees of success) and I bet any decent commercially-made jacks (Maruko, Jasen Johnsen, Carlo Dona, Jim Moore, Cutting Edge) are going to be better than what you make. That is unless you enjoy spending more time metalworking and less time glassblowing. :) Work hot and they won't wear much at all.

Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig 11-20-2019 06:56 PM

Essemce jacks were the Volvos of jacks for me, after working in Japan I got the best from a Japaneese guy, absolutly beutiful, Ive never worn out any jacks in 29 years, and wheve run production

Nick Delmatto 11-20-2019 10:29 PM


Originally Posted by Pete VanderLaan (Post 146002)
My first duck bills came from Essemce. Henry Summa wound up with them but they were wonderful compared to the stuff from Putsch, Jeff's duck bills continue to serve me well.

A lot of first names thrown around.....who's Jeff?

Pete VanderLaan 11-21-2019 06:55 AM

Jeff Lindsay- Red Hot Metal, also known as Cutting edge.
Henry Summa.- first apprentice deceased
Shorty Findley- Gaffer at Blenko. Quite the character.

Shawn Everette 11-21-2019 07:34 AM

Essemce aren't volvo, I loved my s80. I'd say maybe saab. They worked, but needed improvement, and you only really see them in shops as curios.

Shawn Everette 11-21-2019 07:35 AM

I really hope Jim doesn't need to be explained.

Pete VanderLaan 11-21-2019 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by Shawn Everette (Post 146009)
I really hope Jim doesn't need to be explained.

You'd be surprised. Jim Moore, a fine toolmaker.

Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig 11-22-2019 03:15 AM

As in common, utilitarian, workhorse, students cant ruin them. Agree room for improvements

Kenny Pieper 11-22-2019 09:03 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Check these out. They were Walter Evens

Scott Dunahee 11-22-2019 04:53 PM

That is awesome.



Sean Jones 05-28-2020 01:39 AM

I made a new pair of jacks with D6 blades, a ware resistant high chrome steel. Hardened the blades and tempered them to about 60 HRC (very hard and possibly a bit brittle).
The difference is remarkable. These have a much smoother feel. Especially as you squeeze down on a cooling neck line. You donít get that grinding feeling when youíve run out of heat. As yet, no dirty jack lines as Iím not leaving any steel behind.
I imagine they are going to last a long time.

Pete VanderLaan 05-28-2020 07:23 AM

Don't work your glass too cold and they will.

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