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Old 01-26-2018, 02:44 PM
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cullet shortage

Coming to a distributor near you and sooner than I thought . Now it's only Cristalica and they will not be able to keep up with demand.
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Old 01-26-2018, 04:26 PM
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Well, that's a game changer. Did you get an email?
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:34 PM
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Well, I talk to a lot of people, including distributors and manufacturers. This has been coming for some time and has to do with why I keep suggesting that the price has to go up. - a lot. Several suppliers are now out of Spectrum ( Really SP87 cullet) entirely which happened a little more quickly than anticipated. Olympic hoarded it and has the remaining supply. Phil went and raided Cristalica since he's not an idiot, getting Cristalia to violate its exclusivity agreement with Spruce Pine. Given Spruce Pine, that did not surprise me. I would have done something similar.

The only trouble with this scenario is that Dobern has a furnace that can't make enough cullet to supply America, let alone Europe. Dobern , last time I checked had no plans to change out furnace productivity even though they are in a giant building occupying a small corner of that place. What I have gleaned is that they plan to push the current furnace with no maintenance plans and that could well crater in a few years. They already had one unanticipaed shutdown two years back. Even so, it still comes up short five tons a day with demand. What do you suppose happens when demand vastly outstrips supply according to Keynes ?
Eveline and I have talked casually about starting a cullet supply. We looked at it a few years back and did all the math and figured out the supply chain across the pacific. Then, Spectrum resurfaced like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction". We bagged it and invested in bringing Cristalica to the US through Spruce Pine. I really tried on that one, got the exclusive and had a lot of difficulty with the melts coming clean. Coupling that with biz practices I could not cope with, I withdrew from that partnership with SP taking Eveline with me.
The Spruce Pine furnace had already failed spectacularly with apparently no desire to actually do it over right. That was too bad in my mind but it is what happened. There have been hiccups surrounding a restart but I think it would take a massive change in thinking and managing and a cash infusion of about 500K. I'm 67. I make my own glass. How do you get by? I don't need it certainly.

Now the line I'm seeing is one I have been concerned about for some time. I got news last night from one furnace maker that the Cristalica is eating the liners for his furnaces. I'm not surprised by that based on the borax/barium content of the goop. I offered Dobern a change in the formulation to affect the problem. They passed, which I expected. They have too much invested in Kuchinke and I get that. What I expect to hear next is that the pots are dissolving as well. The stuff is really very similar to Sys96 but has a higher expansion, around a 97. Sys96 was actually a 94.1.

If it was me as a small studio glass blower, , I'd suck it up and melt SP87 batch. Ever so much harder on the absolutely spoiled glassmakers of today. I currently know of no other startups even considering the issue. Oceanside next year is no answer. I don't particularly want to bring Eveline and the Shanghai group on right now although we have the capacity for raw glass now. . I'm tired of the way they get treated. In this community, China is viewed suspiciously. i know better. You get what you pay for. Just look at how many clear cullet makers have failed.

I may hold a class just based on making your own clear. I bet it would fill right up. Takers?
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:05 PM
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The cullet market seems so dumb.

Where else is there a ton of demand, prices that even seem fairly tolerant to increases, inventory that doesn't spoil and relatively inexpensive shipping? Yet the suppliers keep bailing.

I get that it's energy intensive with furnace equipment that wears quickly, but with the right engineering and energy costs this seems like it would be a pretty good business. There are a ton of studios who don't want to deal with batch and are willing to pay a pretty nice premium to melt cullet. (Cue Pete's rant about people like me wanting clear glass as easy as squeezing a toothpaste tube I appreciate the glass chem experts! I really do! I just want to be able to focus on my work, not the clear.)

I set us (Public Glass) up with a year's worth of cullet because I don't want to worry about gathering over my existing tons of cane and murrine with Crystalica. I just hope that Oceanside gets their production up and running during this year.
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:13 PM
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I don't think Oceanside is going to do it.

Cullet needs to be $1.75 lb to get anyone out of bed.
For something so simple, it's not. There's a lot that can go wrong, and does. Otherwise, I'd be on the phone With Eveline. She's a lot younger than I am.

Back before color rods, this was easier. You made your own color from the cullet you had or you made color based on your personal formula. Then the rod biz exploded without as much attention to physics as might have been made, but no one cared. Finished work was actually pretty cheap. Not true these days. You guys try to fit everything under the sun into a single piece and rarely test anything.

and, it's cristalica, not Crystalica...
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:01 PM
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I would definitely be down with the class on clear. Depending on the timing. I assume it would not be for awhile. My income got slashed by 2/3's at the start of the year because I'm just an adjunct, and can be thrown-away at a moments notice.
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:08 PM
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If schedule and parenthood permitted I would be interested in said clear class
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:18 PM
Drew Hine Drew Hine is offline
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Class

I would take a class on learning to make batch from scratch. I have been melting sp87 for years. I would like to understand the materials and formulas. Sign me up
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Old 01-27-2018, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Patchen View Post
The cullet market seems so dumb.

Where else is there a ton of demand, prices that even seem fairly tolerant to increases, inventory that doesn't spoil and relatively inexpensive shipping? Yet the suppliers keep bailing.

I get that it's energy intensive with furnace equipment that wears quickly, but with the right engineering and energy costs this seems like it would be a pretty good business. There are a ton of studios who don't want to deal with batch and are willing to pay a pretty nice premium to melt cullet. (Cue Pete's rant about people like me wanting clear glass as easy as squeezing a toothpaste tube I appreciate the glass chem experts! I really do! I just want to be able to focus on my work, not the clear.)

I set us (Public Glass) up with a year's worth of cullet because I don't want to worry about gathering over my existing tons of cane and murrine with Crystalica. I just hope that Oceanside gets their production up and running during this year.
It seems straightforward and simple but it's not. Spectrum had rail car service and capacity. Their process and customer service was shit. We'll see how Cristalica shakes out. No one is enthusiastic about the borax in the cullet.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Kube View Post
It seems straightforward and simple but it's not. Spectrum had rail car service and capacity. Their process and customer service was shit. We'll see how Cristalica shakes out. No one is enthusiastic about the borax in the cullet.
********
Indeed and as to the borax they seem just about as responsive to the complaints as SPectrum was over the sys96. I'm sure the crucibles will be blamed pretty soon.

It takes railhead, ports hopefully, cheap labor, inexpensive fuel, excellent material prices, a decent chemist, lots of capital. The dollar has dropped almost 15% against the Euro since Trump took Office. That will make Cristalica a good deal more expensive as well.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:22 PM
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Pete,would you be willing to share the recipe that you told Dobern about.I would like to use the sodium silicate powder in it.I am currently using 15.5 lbs of silica, 29 lbs of the sodium silicate 7.5 lbs whiting, 5 lbs Custer feldspar,4 lbs pot carb ,10 oz lithium carb ,10 oz. zinc oxide,4 oz potassium nitrate 4 oz, 4 oz of barium carb and 3 oz of antimony. I am melting at 2350 and working at 2170.It melts and works fine but perhaps your recipe would be better.I know I have offered before but if anyone that is thinking about batching wants to try the sodium silicate I could get them a 1500 lb super sack free.You would just need to cover freight , that would do 51 batches using the current recipe.The source of this material gets a very good freight rate so I think it would be a viable option if you are thinking about wanting to get into batching. There are a few people using Sodium silicate so it does make good glass, I will be at Acre booth 1410 if you want to see it.My calculated coe is 94 and it works well with the current colors from Kugler, Reichenbach. If you decided to batch colors Rollin Karg uses it in his colors.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:29 AM
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As a weekend hobbyist, who is totally dependent on cullet, and who has no experience with making clear glass, I would also would like you offer a class.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:57 AM
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These days, my formulas are proprietary after a really bad experience with one student in my last color class. What I told Dobern was that the borax was going to cause trouble and that there were specifics as to how to eliminate the dissolution issues I saw for the furnace parts. I did write a replacement formula for Spruce Pine which removed the Lithium entirely and remained a lower melt glass. That was field tested by a number of people who all really liked it. Tom however found lithium wasn't going to be as expensive as he thought, nor was it going to be rationed. I can still see the second thing happening as the battery market keeps growing. That beast that Musk built in Australia takes a lot.

Originally the low melt cullets AKA sys96 claimed you would save a ton on fuel and that was indeed pretty much true but what you didn't get told was that it would eat up your expensive furnace and crucible and that would off set any savings. Once again, no free lunch. As the wire kiln has made it's way into regular usage, melting batch has been eliminated in that type furnace unless you're really patient.

So a class in clear really only applies effectively with people running equipment that can take the heat. If it can take the heat, Spruce Pine 87 batch continues to make the most sense, it's the wire melt people who will experience all the grief. If you don't want to melt SP87 because of dusting, they do make respirators after all and you could always consider a career change.

In a clear , you can go in a couple of different philosophical directions. You can be a runny Italian stem maker and you can also go to high luster glasses. Runny glasses like lithium and sodium . They are normally prone to devit and have poor polishing character. They don't really take color well either. The high potassium glasses are going to take color really well and they certainly are shiny when polished. Most glassmakers don't make their color so that feature of potassium gets ignored. Then you have these borax glasses which are low melt but they melt everything. Follow that with Barium which is shiny as Hell but is best made with zinc. So, just like your studio, you tool up for what you make. It's smart to do that with your glass too. The real world is only going to offer you one cullet apparently. When it offered three, they were all incompatible with each other which was just dumb in my mind. They should at the very least all be hovering on 96.
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Old 01-28-2018, 10:57 AM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Mynatt View Post
I am melting at 2350 and working at 2170.It melts and works fine but perhaps your recipe would be better.I know I have offered before but if anyone that is thinking about batching wants to try the sodium silicate I could get them a 1500 lb super sack free.You would just need to cover freight , that would do 51 batches using the current recipe.The source of this material gets a very good freight rate so I think it would be a viable option if you are thinking about wanting to get into batching. There are a few people using Sodium silicate so it does make good glass
So the person that Pete just mentioned having a bad experience with in his last class would claim that he or she can get away with lower melt temps because of starting with the sodium silicate mix in a homemade batch. If that's accurate, then I'd be curious, Ron, about your melt and working temp which seem higher than most I think. Does your mix have a higher viscosity that needs the higher gathering temps?
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Old 01-28-2018, 11:07 AM
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If you want to drive over here Josh, I have many barrels of the sodium silicate I am pretty sure I will not use ever. My life is considerable slower than it was. There are elements for your moly here as well which I could sell.

I get really hinky about the iron content of that particular silicate. Ron indicates that he melts in the mid 2300's which is way too hot for consideration in a wire melter. There's nothing wrong with it at all, it just doesn't address the cullet issues.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:33 PM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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I'd love to come visit again, but I'm not planning on trying any silicate in my mixes anytime soon. I have enough separate bags of silica and sodium carbonate to last me a while. Still curious about whether Ron needs those higher temps. I agree there's nothing wrong with it except maybe that it's more fuel consumption and wear-and-tear then (perhaps?) is necessary considering what I've heard touted about the silicate?
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:43 PM
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the Corming protocol said "melt as cold as you can get away with. "
It seems hot to me as well if the goal was to cut fuel costs. The sodium silicate would make aspects of the melt easier certainly. My concern was more around iron and is why I did not pursue it. I don't melt my own clear that hot, preferring 2250F during the melt and then when it has gone flat, going up to 2300-2325 for an additional four hours.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:02 PM
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You didn't see the announcement from Olympic back in October that Cristallica was, at that time, in the midst of installing a "new, larger furnace with increased production capacity"?

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Originally Posted by Pete VanderLaan View Post
The only trouble with this scenario is that Dobern has a furnace that can't make enough cullet to supply America, let alone Europe. Dobern , last time I checked had no plans to change out furnace productivity even though they are in a giant building occupying a small corner of that place.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:37 PM
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"...the announcement from Olympic back in October that Cristallica was, at that time, in the midst of installing a "new, larger furnace with increased production capacity"?"
You mean this one?
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:43 AM
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cristallica should just steal the spectrum 2.0 recipe just as they stole it from Tom Littleton. problem solved.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:50 AM
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Currently, the Euro is up against the dollar 15% in the last year. That makes it more expensive. Cristalica has resisted changing the formulation containing the borax. I'm unaware of any additional equipment being built and the business is already subsidized which will be tough to sustain. The cullet does not seem to be getting a great reception with furnace makers and more than a few users.
So, I'm reasonably aware.
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Old 01-29-2018, 11:16 PM
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Josh,I have spoken to 2 of the studios that the melt the Sodium silicate Rollin and Terra Studios They do melt at between 2225 and 2250 so it does melt well at that temp they are working at between 2050 and 2000 .Rollin uses the sodium silicate for most of his colors and Terra does solid copper blue glass forms. It may be my recipe , since when I cut my lithium in half it seemed stiffer then what I was use to. A benefit of lowering the lithium is that my cords went away I don't even potato any more since it was not helping . I did bump my temp up from 2140 to 2160 to stay with old my comfort level.I charge 28 lbs of batch every 45 min. and by having it at 2350 the batch is melted and flattened out so I can stay on schedule. In regards to the iron content, since everything I make has color frit or bar the iron does not affect me .I know Rollin's clear glass sculptures are much thicker so that is why he does not use the sodium silicate in his clear .Again if your glass has color in it then iron does not seem to have a impact. I do know that having sodium silicate does help in melting faster and is less corrosive and less material is lost to volatilization since it is already in a glass powder form. For wire melters sodium silicate might not work for them but if you are thinking of batching with a gas furnace then just pay freight on 57 % of your batch works for me.
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:59 AM
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Iron actually does affect color. Fe can be in a lot of states of valence and can profoundly affect glasses that contain silver, copper or gold.

Lithium is a great place to get cords. It also reduces thermal shock substantially when used in excess. It also eats your crucible/ Hotter melts save time, but that time may get spent later banging the furnace apart replacing the pot. Hotter melts also bring cords. It's because the pot is dissolving.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:50 PM
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Back to Pete's comment about possibly running a clear batch class--- I'd drop everything to come to that.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:23 PM
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Basics of Batching Clear

Very basic - sand, soda, lime glass oxidised clear (so it will fine)

You want:

As close to 70% sand as you can get, usually in the high sixties due to necessary compromises.
As for sand, see if you can find Short Mountain silica. It works better than most. Usually found at pottery suppliers, just like everything else you'll need here.

At least 8% modifiers, usually lime because it's inexpensive but could be almost anything in the 2nd column of the periodic table.

Try to keep it under 18% total alkali (see 1st column of periodic table for alkalis), usually sodium for economy but it won't polish well or be as pretty without some potassium. If you have to go over 18% alkali (matching Moretti?) you can still do it without devit if you use...

Enough alumina to keep it durable. Nick Labino's rule for all soda lime glass...divide total alkalai by 8 and that's your alumina percentage. This applies to all glass. Go below this and eventually the glass will devit.

Add 0.2% antimony and 0.4% sodium or potassium nitrate so it will fine out.

----------------------------------------------

OK, now let's spend a little more money and get some way nicer glass.


Again, potassium. Yeah, it's a bit expensive but 3-5 % will make a noticeable difference in appearance and polishing. % 5-6 will give you a glass you can use as a color base with things like manganese purple and not have the color brown out.

Strontium is inexpensive and works well replacing around half the lime. It does nice things for the appearance of the glass. Very similar to what lead does but it's not toxic.

Zinc will brighten up even your basic cheap-o soda lime alkali only glass at around 2% with a big bonus of much added durability.

Lithium will make it melt like gangbusters even at very small percentages. 0.2% is enough to get the basic benefits, as in speeds melting, improves glass strength and reduces thermal shocking. The price is spiraling up daily but worth whatever you have to pay if you're melting in something under powered or want the benefits and an easy way to change working characteristics.

Of course, if you change things, you'll have to tinker with the amounts of other things to keep it compatible. See below about spreadsheets.


Want to change the working characteristics?


Lithium drops the viscosity and extends the working time of the glass.

Leave it at 0.2% or cut it out altogether if you prefer shorter and stiffer glass to work.

Want sloppy and long like SP? It has roughly 0.9 to 1% lithium so take yours up in that range.

Need to go the other way on that or just want it much stiffer? Add more alumina in tiny percentages. A little goes a long way.



To match expansions you'll want to track what you're doing in a spreadsheet. You're welcome to a copy of mine, it's open source and free. Email me because I don't think there's a way to post a working version here.

Changing the amount of sand can be one of the easiest ways to match an expansion number because one pound of sand in a 100 pound formula will move the expansion about a half a point. In my particular case it moves the expansion .6 per pound added or subtracted.


All the calculations in the world only give you a "ballpark" number for glass melts. The truth is in melting it and seeing what you get.

There are too many ever-changing variables to get a truly accurate number on paper.

If the first melt missed, then you go back to your E&T calculations to get a ballpark number of what you'll need to add on the next melt to raise/lower expansion.
Then you melt that and see what you have.

This is where the E&T numbers in a spreadsheet really shine, they seem to be even more accurate for this "adjusting" phase.
Sometimes it takes a third melt to dial it in where you want it, but rarely more than three unless something else among the variables has gone wrong and is messing with you. Stuff like thermocouples, melt times/temps., hyroscopic moisture in the chemicals, etc. etc.

I always assume I'm in for three melts to dial something in and I'm often pleasantly surprised when I hit it in two.


The more you can standardize your process and sources of supply the fewer strange surprises you'll have.

Water in your batch chemicals can change quantity with the weather and screw up your results.

-------------------------------------------

Be careful to balance thought with empirical experience...or in simpler terms don't let too much analysis get in the way of hands on experience.

This is particularly important with glass formulas/melting because everyone gets unique results depending on their location, equipment type, phase of the moon (kidding) etc.

Something I learned the hard way myself...

------------------------------------------

I mix batch in a bucket or small plastic drum cut in half. I use a drywall mud or paint mixer and a drill, cardboard with a hole for the shaft on top of the bucket to keep the dust down. Fast and some of the most complete mixing so far. If you want super-sanitation on dust issues the industrial supply houses sell plastic bucket caps that look like a womens showercap. You'll have to add the hole for the shaft. I mix outside so the dust just fertilizes the grass.

When I was mixing a lot of clear I bought an inexpensive Harbor Freight concrete mixer.

Use a respirator and rubber gloves at a minimum for your protection.

----------------------------------------------

I know, you want an actual formula. I'll include some screen shots of my spreadsheets for the basic and something fancier with zinc and strontium.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Basic Clear.jpg (69.0 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg Basic Clear Fancy.jpg (69.9 KB, 20 views)
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