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Old 04-12-2019, 05:48 PM
Brian Bradshaw Brian Bradshaw is offline
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Backyard Studio/Wire Melter

Iím looking for some advice from the wire melting/backyard guys or anyone for that matter. I retired from teaching a couple of years ago and my wife is encouraging me to start blowing glass in the backyard. Back in the day I built all my own equipment and will be building my gloryhole. Where I need help is in selecting an appropriate wire kiln (melter) and annealer. My son & I installed a 7Kw solar system a year ago so I want to use every Kw Iím producing instead of selling it to the manÖ I like the Paragon Vulcan II but am open to suggestions. I havenít found a spot here in SoCal to rent studio time to try out any of the cullets or Spruce Pine so please include what glass you recommend melting. Iím looking a making a variety of shapes from stemware to paperweights. Hope this is enough info!
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:37 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I can't really attest to the melter, but I and most others on here are going to say is go with the right cullet on an electric, if you can find it. The unfortunate part is the current global cullet shortage, which you can read about on other threads. Basically, the things you are most likely to get your hands on remain relatively untested in the new "flake" from Oceanside, and a Czech cullet coming out shortly. The flake looks like sheet cutoffs and seems to be doing a fair amount of off gassing, and the horde hasn't gotten as much of a taste of the Parriot. Cristalica is being made, but is backlogged on production.

Most are going to tell you to stay away from batch because the dust and elevated temperature from charging are going to have a huge impact on the life of your wire elements. Otherwise it is perfectly good and available glass.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:40 PM
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Richard Huntrods Richard Huntrods is offline
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Get Mark Lauckner's video and build your own. Best thing you can do.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:40 PM
Brian Bradshaw Brian Bradshaw is offline
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Would love to build it all, but don't have the time or life expectancy...
Got any good soft brick suppliers in SoCal?
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:03 AM
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Google refractory suppliers Southern California. There are plenty. The cheapest and best for me continues to be Hi Temp in Fenton Missouri.
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:34 PM
Jordan Kube Jordan Kube is offline
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For those looking to build a wire melter I would honestly just get one from Skutt. I've spent time building several iterations of wire melters and when you factor in the time and energy it takes to put one together the Skutt can't be beat. Parts are readily available and I would say there are more Skutt kilns in use for glass than any other. It will accept an 80# crucible and is really only good for cullet.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:05 AM
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Brian Graham Brian Graham is offline
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I like Jordan's advice - I currently have a small 40# color pot that I run in a modified JenKen kiln. I would utilize as many off the shelf items as you can. I never run mine higher than 2050f - I have no problem melting SP batch - just needs an extra day to fine out. I also recycle my scrap cullet and run a small amount of it in amongst the batch.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:22 AM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Graham View Post
I like Jordan's advice - I currently have a small 40# color pot that I run in a modified JenKen kiln. I never run mine higher than 2050f - I have no problem melting SP batch - just needs an extra day to fine out. I also recycle my scrap cullet and run a small amount of it in amongst the batch.
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Take note "I melt SP batch"

It works, people are just in a hurry and few care about the quality of the resultant glass. It can be refined quite well.

When I was at Corning GAS in the Spruce Pine booth, I listened to the rep from Skutt giving out advice I considered to be quite risky, like melting above 2300F. You'll burn a lot of elements up doing that. Of the converted ceramic kilns out there, I thought the Jen Ken to be the best of the lot. That being said Lauckner has stood the test of time but you have to be willing to build it.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:58 AM
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Greg Vriethoff Greg Vriethoff is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete VanderLaan View Post
That being said Lauckner has stood the test of time but you have to be willing to build it.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Actually, the bank account's weak. I got the video, and a crucible from someone here on cw. That's as far as I've gotten. I have the tools to do it (welder, etc.), but I can't even afford steel right now. Semester's almost over, so I'm about to be unemployed (as usual) for the summer. Trump said we were going to get tired of winning. I couldn't agree more.

I know, waa, waa, waa. I'm lucky one of us has a stable job.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:56 AM
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You have a job in a stable? For Money? I have to clean for nothing.
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