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Old 07-17-2020, 06:50 AM
bob gent bob gent is offline
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tool prices

Okay, I haven't been in this game as long as some here, but I've been around long enough to remember when you could buy a pair of Essemce shears for $25. This was the early 80s. Now I see they cost $150. That's double the rate of inflation!
I guess it's because demand for glassblowing tools isn't what it was back then, and lower volume means higher prices, but does anyone else here have another explanation?
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:19 AM
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I don't ever recall that tool being that cheap. Jim Moore tools and Red hot metal both make fine tools that don't approach the hyped up costs on the Italian or Japanese ones in my opinion. You have to be an extremely good glassworker to benefit from the differences.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:01 PM
bob gent bob gent is offline
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no danger of that here. I really like my moore jacks, can't imagine getting any real benefits from more expensive ones.
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:21 PM
Brice Turnbull Brice Turnbull is offline
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I like my Moore straight and diamond shears, but only keep my Moore jacks for the odd piece every couple months. They are small/medium jacks - 16" which were my only jacks for the first 14 or 15 years I blew glass. They are good jacks!

I had a good run of business about 10 years ago and after much consternation, as a treat I bought some larger Maruko jacks. Tried them once, and didn't like them. Poor balance, and I didn't like the blade profile. I felt a little ill. After a couple days I called Gaffer and asked if I could return them, and they said if they inspected them and saw no use or wear they would exchange them for other Marukos (thank you!!).

I exchanged them for the biggest they had - 21 1/2", as the proportions seemed a better bet. The first time I touched them to glass, all my concerns went away. Wonderful balance, intuitive blade profile, great tension in the handle. I've loved them every day I have the pleasure to use them. Just my experience, but they were quite reasonably priced for what they have helped me accomplish and help me enjoy.

I just checked, and if the largest model Gaffer now sells is the same one I have, $550 is a very good deal for that tool. I seem to recall the price a decade ago was about the same as it is today!
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As to the original question you had Bob, I have only blown glass since 1991, but I think the Jim Moore trim shears were maybe $65 (?), and diamond shears maybe $90 (?) in the early '90's.

Aside from inflation I would expect the price to go up as people age in their careers. I would be quite uncomfortable earning the 2020 equivalent of what I was earning in 2000. They are handmade quality tools made in the civilized world. I don't think the comparison works to say a factory made pair of pliers costs virtually the same as it has for 20 years so glass tools should also. Slave labor in China of a mass produced item has a different economic profile than handmade designer/maker tools from the West or Japan.

Just my thoughts.

Last edited by Brice Turnbull; 07-18-2020 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:24 PM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is online now
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Everyone talks smack about expensive tools until they use them. It’s an investment.
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:01 AM
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This leaves me, right here. Why is it that these tools are held in such high regard while at the same time, glassworkers for the most part treat their primary material like it's some discovered dogshit? My tools are mostly from Red Hot Metal at this point. I haven't bought tools for the bench in over 20 years. But every time I do go to work the material, I want the glass coming from the furnace to look like I considered it important. Every piece I polish is engineered to have the highest luster the base glass could have without lead mainly because it's impossible to get these days. While some seem to spare no expense buying tools, I always was inclined to spare no expense developing glass itself.

How many people are out there making glass fruit with really expensive tools? Shorty made me my footing tool from some scrap aluminum and a pair of jacks from a Chevy leaf spring. It's what I used, and for a long time there Shorty was arguably the best glassmaker in the US. I watched him handle 80 lbs regularly with Earl.
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:24 AM
Art Freas Art Freas is online now
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I buy the tool, not the name. I love my large Jim Moore Jacks, my Carlo medium jacks, my Carlo casting shears and diamond shears, my Moore cup Jacks, and the best pick is the one my son forged out of a railroad spike. Same thing with hammers, hated the dewalt titanium hammers love my 23 ounce framer with the wooden handle. To me it comes down to two things, the fitness for use and fit in my hand.
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:00 AM
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Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:04 PM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is online now
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I made about 50 footed tumblers yesterday. Sometimes I get a little bored and Use different jacks to make the same thing and see the difference. It would take 2 maybe 3 reheats to open them to the a perfect shape with a larger pair of Dino’s but just one reheat with my vandium bladed maruko cup jacks as well as my small “wines” made by Ivan Smith.

Some glass makers take great pride in the tools they own and others don’t care at all.


I believe the successful glass maker can see the big picture and focus on the whole thing - quality glass, quality design, a good studio he enjoys working in, a great gallery attached to the studio that sells glass by itself and also the right tools to make their job easier when making glass.
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:58 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eben Horton View Post
the right tools to make their job easier when making glass.
I think this is the key point, and the whole thing is quite subjective. It's fairly easy to separate truly poor quality tools from better quality ones, but past that it's really up to the user. I personally don't care for the cutting edge and maruko stuff, but I appreciate how well they're made. My favorite diamond shears are a pair of beat up xl morre's, and that's because of the way they fit my hand, I've never come across another pair that felt the same.

I'm definitely not of the "tools make the man" crowd, seen plenty of students buy things they thought would make them better, the only thing it did was remove money from their pocket. However, when you start to get into the diy solutions I think you've come to a place where you are truly understanding the material and your needs. I guess, the man that makes his tools makes the man?

Last edited by Shawn Everette; 07-19-2020 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:42 PM
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I've had people stop and jaw drop when they find out that the right glass actually makes the process easy. Is the glass a tool?
Try doing this with bottle glass.
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:04 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Material is fundamental. You can make alcohol from shit, doesn't mean I'm drinking it....
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:12 PM
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I'm going to take this to a rather different thread and the concept will be fairly simple but really telling, at least for me. It will circle the simple notion of what you want your legacy to be in the history of things as to how you approached this material and how you added to the overall knowledge of it. That's you in your 80 years.

Since my philosophical training is Socratic, expect to see it start with "what is a tool? I don't think the answer is easy.
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