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  #51  
Old 11-25-2020, 11:41 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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For me a lot of the loss of value for such information predates what I see as my generation. There was literally no one that I knew of that bothered to start from scratch. My exposure to making color consisted of, "don't go in that room, if ohsa's here, it doesn't exist", "here's this cabinet, wear a mask; don't mind the arsenic", "you think Ghihuly makes his own color?". Most people were too afraid of liability of letting students near raw materials. While as a scientifically inclined individual, I feel like I missed out; I also empathize with those fretting about which idiot will find a spoon to eat it. Or snort it.

I don't blame you for a second for not taking the "offers" to teach for places that didn't see the value. But unless someone else takes the mantle, there or elsewhere, I'm not sure what you expect to happen to the passing of information. Not to mention that nearly everyone in the younger generation is too destitute to afford a furnace; let alone own a full studio to experiment with.

Spruce was/is cheap and effective; cullet made things even easier. Nearly any color you want, in any format you want, that's already compatible, is a mouse click away. Casting? Buy some Schott(if you can get your hands on what you want) and R&R. Boro's made significant strides, and even the chinese base junk has made some bounds. Necessity is the mother of invention, so in an environment of material abundance, people lose focus on innovation.
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  #52  
Old Yesterday, 08:09 AM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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I'm inclined to quote Joni Mitchell:

"You don't know what you've got til it's gone."

I can build a top notch furnace today that costs about $2,500. if it's gas. Not $40,000.00. Moly would run nearer to $12K. Transformers, SCR's and elements are expensive.

I can make gold ruby color for about $3.00KG, maybe $4.00

I would think those would be motivators for the apparent impoverished young glass artist. It may truly be the case that all this knowledge gets lost every other generation. That's been the case so far.
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  #53  
Old Yesterday, 09:59 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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And how much was the cost to gain the knowledge to be able to do that? Any programs or apprenticeships teaching such things?

I'd say it's a pretty advantageous skill to be able to convince the public to pay for your furnace. That's definitely something they don't teach at a workshop.

Expecting new grads that are straddled with 10's of thousands of dollars worth of debt, for an education that likely taught them little of economic or fabrication value, to then take on the expense of owning a private studio, seems kind of naively sanguine. Know of any banks that aren't going to laugh you out of the building for that kind of thing?

Several people that had their own studios around my old shop have closed down in the past few years and started renting because the is was effectively cheaper to pay $41+ an hour to make their work. Makes it hard to believe that someone not heavily backed by mommy and daddy's money is going to lead the charge anytime soon. I also have a strong feeling that a person of such privilege isn't interested in an independent path. Plus I thought there were already too many fish in the pond to sell work anymore?

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  #54  
Old Yesterday, 10:06 AM
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Paying over time for the acquired skills has offered me friendships I will have until I die. That alone is well worth it. I still think the well examined life is worth living. Every time I engage in this sort of discussion takes me back to the aphorism

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."
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  #55  
Old Yesterday, 11:05 AM
David leonard David leonard is offline
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babbitts

never met a glass I didnt like, furnaces on the otherhand...
mr. Pete do you know anyone that can pour babbitt bearing?
he's the guy I am looking to meet cannot find him anywhere
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  #56  
Old Yesterday, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David leonard View Post
never met a glass I didnt like, furnaces on the otherhand...
mr. Pete do you know anyone that can pour babbitt bearing?
he's the guy I am looking to meet cannot find him anywhere
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  #57  
Old Yesterday, 11:22 AM
Art Freas Art Freas is offline
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I have to note here that the quote doesn't really sound correct to me

"I can build a top notch furnace today that costs about $2,500. if it's gas."

You can't do that under current code in my town, not even close. And any other town that follows national codes. Under current code you have to have proof of flame, and even if you have a a fireeye you have to have a system that verifies that the fireeye isn't malfunctioning. And that is true with making color. In my town, a town that is pretty typical on the west side of the cascades in WA I have to report on every hazardous material that I use. If I tried to make color from scratch and reported the chemicals I would be in a whole new regulatory environment. From an osha perspective I am leery of batch as that could require me to do a lot more monitoring of employee gear and medical checking. Believe me, if I won the lottery, could build a building from scratch, and afford all the right equipment and safety gear, I would be first in line to make my own color. My lottery dream is to win enough to buy the zimmerman formulas and revive some of their colors along with my own. But in the here and now, my facility won't work for making clear or color.

Also maybe due to size of my furnace, 400lbs, but between the castables, brick, frax, burner and crucible and labor, I just don't see under 2500 being realistic.
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  #58  
Old Yesterday, 11:31 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I'm pretty sure I've asked where the trough is a few times. Everybody seems to tell me I have to dig my own.
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  #59  
Old Yesterday, 11:35 AM
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In the last two years, John Croucher, Mark Peiser and Chuck Savoie all held classes on the subject. They were well advertised. You make time for what you want to make time for.

I own books on the subject that I knew would have very short lives in print. I bought them as I became aware of them I suggest repeatedly where some of them can still be had. Mark Peiser went and knocked on Weyl's door. Eric Trulson did the same with me bringing a bottle of a very nice single malt when he did. He spent a year with me.
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  #60  
Old Yesterday, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Freas View Post
I have to note here that the quote doesn't really sound correct to me

"I can build a top notch furnace today that costs about $2,500. if it's gas."

You can't do that under current code in my town, not even close. And any other town that follows national codes. Under current code you have to have proof of flame, and even if you have a a fireeye you have to have a system that verifies that the fireeye isn't malfunctioning. And that is true with making color. In my town, a town that is pretty typical on the west side of the cascades in WA I have to report on every hazardous material that I use. If I tried to make color from scratch and reported the chemicals I would be in a whole new regulatory environment. From an osha perspective I am leery of batch as that could require me to do a lot more monitoring of employee gear and medical checking. Believe me, if I won the lottery, could build a building from scratch, and afford all the right equipment and safety gear, I would be first in line to make my own color. My lottery dream is to win enough to buy the zimmerman formulas and revive some of their colors along with my own. But in the here and now, my facility won't work for making clear or color.

Also maybe due to size of my furnace, 400lbs, but between the castables, brick, frax, burner and crucible and labor, I just don't see under 2500 being realistic.
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I recall that you can't weld either. Is that right?
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  #61  
Old Yesterday, 01:09 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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Pete you are right on for the $2500 furnace. Today no one wants to risk anything, everything has to be guaranteed. In the late 70s I could make a small gas furnace, glory hole and annealer for under $1000. I did it. It didn't look pretty and it was not perfect but at that time there was no Glass Notes or Dudley's book. It was Kulasiwyzk (sp) or nothing . I had a lot of trial and error , lots of error, but I wanted to make glass and somehow i got it done. My first annealer was copied from Labino's and Lotton's. A 55 gal drum with frax inside and I started with elements I scrounged from an old electric 110 V dryer and used as the others did , a small sign control wired with rope to a small transformer that slowly turned down the power and the temp. I used an analog pyrometer and thermocouples that were scrounged from old ceramic kilns. Over a period of 10 years, I upgraded and built better equipment as I learned from visiting many other artists and studios and pestering kind people for help.
I survived and was actually able to get pieces in a few museum collections and had a lot of fun. When I hear of all the fuss of the ventilation and safety factors that people straddle themselves with today, I wince. I will be 74 on Saturday and my physical problems that I now have did not come from anything remotely related to my work with glass.
I know of many others who traveled the same journey. There were more than one annealer made from old deep freezes. We all experimented and some things worked and others didn't and most of us survived. I tell people a quote that my high school art teacher told me, "If you can make a living doing anything other than art do it, but if there is something inside you that says you have to pursue art, do it." I always told my students that if you wanted to drive new BMWs and have have expensive clothes etc., don't bother trying to be a glassworker. They were few and far between. I know of many who still reside in the old farmhouses they started in 40 years ago and they still love their places.
I found places to put my studios where safety and building codes were less stringent than some others, but when insurance companies came and inspected and fire marshals I got their approval.
After this many years, my suggestion is that if you're not having fun doing what you are doing 75%-90% of the time, look for something else. That's why I closed my studio 5 years ago. Life is shorter than you think, you better enjoy it while you are able.
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  #62  
Old Yesterday, 02:34 PM
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Ah, Bob Barber controller!

Actually built my first Moly too. Salvage transformer in portland, shipped to Santa Fe, Watlow SCR for 1K was the expense six elements at 50 bucks each imported from China and a 4-20 milliamp controller from Love. Did it with guidance from Steve. It held 1 19 inch pot, 1 24 inch pot and two 7 inch pots. No special safety systems required. That was true of all my gas units as well.
Making color, I do believe in good ventilation.

Currently, I live in a place with no building code at all.
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  #63  
Old Yesterday, 10:25 PM
Rick Wilton Rick Wilton is online now
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a good friend of mine has just finished building a hot shop in a commercial bay in Canada. The absolutely ridiculous hoops he has had to jump through are insane. The control systems on the glory holes and furnace alone are in the multiple tens of thousands of dollars. Then add in unnecessarily redundant makeup air units and high temp sprinkler heads that are 30 feet up. The list goes on and on, not to mention that the inspections that cost thousands of dollars were basically useless as it turns out they were WRONG and numerous things required changing. The old saying that you get nickel and dimed to death except this time the nickels are thousand dollar bills. The codes are clear as mud and often contradict other codes, you get told one thing from a "Professional" only to have to pay some else to change it. Everything was done properly with engineered drawings by actual engineers and shit was still wrong and there is little accountability when they are WRONG. The "good ol' days" of throwing something together yourself are coming to an end.
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  #64  
Old Yesterday, 11:28 PM
Art Freas Art Freas is offline
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"I recall that you can't weld either. Is that right?"

As predictable as it is irrelevant. We just rebuilt our furnace an older beehive model. I know exactly what we spent, what we spent it on, and I know what the code is. The crucible alone is up around 1000. If you can build a furnace at our size that meets code please tell me how, I am just not buying the 2500 number and meeting code.
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Old Yesterday, 11:31 PM
Art Freas Art Freas is offline
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BTW, here is the list of default building codes in NH. https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/...ember-2019.pdf
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  #66  
Old Today, 07:24 AM
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Your skills set determines what you can and can't build. I love the kid in Halifax who has a wood fired furnace. He seems to do fine. I don't factor in pot size, just the furnace.

At the beginning of any code book is the phrase "Or acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction" which says what it means. I used to be an AHJ and treated it carefully. Certainly quite a number of us, including Canadians have managed to build and operate safe facilities.
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Old Today, 10:29 AM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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If you have a business model that is dependent on teaching classes and having lots of people come to blow your own ornaments then you have jump thru the hoops and pay for the assurance you will not get sued. If you are just wanting to make glass and art the model is quite different .
There may be good reasons why the popular glass schools were established in rural areas besides being beautiful places to work. i.e. Penland, Pilchuck, Snow Farm, etc.
There are many factors to be assessed when building a studio and new equipment. If you are attuned to having to go to Costco and Trader Joe's once a week then those are factors that require you to figure that into your overhead and the outcome of your profitability. If you grow your own produce, and live and work in rather remote regions then the costs are completely different just as they are from one country to the next. Businesses have relocated or been established in many different places due to a lot of those factors such as cheap energy, labor, codes, etc. That is why the old glass factories kept moving west along the Ohio River valley and then further as they found more abundant gas and huge amounts of good sand in Illinois. Historically, glassworkers were rather transient workers going where the factories moved. The waterways back then also offered a cheap means of transportation to get their goods to markets. Some of these factors still haven't changed. If you want to compete in the markets, adjust your business so you can survive.
BTW: Mark's studio in NC I bet has never had to deal with many inspections or codes but he has been very successful in many ways. and I don't think he makes many pumpkins. For many years he still used the old graphing controllers and swore by them. If you can make equipment and are creative you can make it work. There are others in that same area that have similar situations.
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  #68  
Old Today, 10:51 AM
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The only contact we really needed with an outside world when we were doing shows was twice a year, Feb and June. We'd take a few hundred thousand in orders and go home and do it. There were not very many of us which helped enormously. Most studios were quite rural.

In the shop, Early on , we had marginal requirements like a solenoid valve and a hood but never more than that. We did have building codes but not for the furnaces. These days, no codes at all where we live. Then Seattle and Portland happened.

Mark also had no codes, he still may not but he builds exceptional tooling. I remember when Spruce Pine was the first town I ever went to that had no codes at all. They're rare .

I think you need four skill sets to do this. Learn to draw, learn to weld, learn to make rudimentary glass work, and learn some basic business skills. .

The last time I was at Charlie's, he had this annealer that he had built years earlier that never got used and told me I could buy it for 10,000 dollars. I was amused and declined. I went home and Eric was building us one with materials around the shop that were here. The white board being the greatest expense and I had a box full. It had a new control panel box too from years earlier. It didn't cost more than the time. Great annealer, I use it today. I finally put away the one built in the stainless steel dishwasher. We used that one a lot in the classes.

I remember the first class. People showed up and appeared totally disappointed in the furnace equipment. It looked really beaten up and it indeed was. For that class I had 11 pots. Once they began to see the quality of what came out of them, the ridiculing stopped. By the last class, I was building those $2500 dollar furnaces on trailers so I could keep them outside. They worked great. I sold one in Maine in 2013. I talked to it's owner a few weeks back and it's still running great. Moly's are actually easy too, just pricey. Having no gas, it would be an easy install. They don't have to cost $45K either.
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  #69  
Old Today, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Freas View Post
BTW, here is the list of default building codes in NH. https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/...ember-2019.pdf
****

All for show. Tamworth has the curious circumstance of subscribing to the Uniform fire Code but not the Uniform Building Code and it's a town by town decision. Since the UFC is couched in the UBC and can't exist without the UBC . doing it this way is asking for enormous liability on the town's part.
The only thing we had to do to get a building permit under the UFC was to state it cost under 10K to build, then build it. No one shows up, no one does a thing. When they put my 1000 gallon propane bottle in the ground, they then filled it up and they left. I did use a licensed plumber and no one inspected his work either although he did a good job. He had valves on the walls with 2lb pressure. Everything after that was my work. If I had wanted more than 2lb, he wanted me to write a letter to the state explaining why. He said it would automatically be granted. I don't want to run venturi systems which my friend Dudley advocates for so it never occurred.

If indeed you do this in NYC it will be involved. I thought that Urban glass built some of the dumbest systems I'd ever seen but adhered to the NYFD requirements. Fresh air registers coming in right above the gloryholes was special. It's your choice where you build. In California the furnaces can't be on wheels.
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Old Today, 01:08 PM
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Here’s the rub, what they overlook is still your responsibility. In the US right now it is illegal to remove a older woodstove to clean your chimney and then reinstall it. You actually have to remove them to sell your house legally. This is everywhere in the US. I get that your local town isn’t real keen on the specifics of the code but that is becoming more and more rare. I think the wood fired furnace is awesome and brilliant, but legal in the US, doubtful. Would you be able to build a recuperating furnace for 2500, absolutely not. Can you build a working efficient furnace for 2500 (excluding the crucible), maybe but only if you work for free. Can you build a working, legal furnace for 2500 including your time, no way. If folks are going to build sustainable businesses in glass they have to have realistic expectations, that is why I am pushing on this. I also push because like you I have been in the fire service and have been in the building trades.
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Old Today, 01:36 PM
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Both of my original furnaces for this venture were recuperated. I built the recuperators as well. The real point in building your own furnace is you get to understand how it works.

As Dave Bross suggests, "Art isn't a thing, it's a way". What is my time worth in a recession, Who knows? My grandfather as a trained machinist in the depression would clean yards for sandwiches. I would have to have some sort of guaranteed pay structure. I had my first straight job at 35. I've never worn a suit in my life. I've lived by my wits mostly.

The AHJ is the person I look to in the building family. Show me all the citations people have gotten cleaning their woodstoves. Then show me all the insurance proof of loss filings that were challenged through the ISO. .

For me, fake teaching of making an ornament is really a disservice to the people who have spent their lives learning their craft . If you choose to spend your time on that , or training your competition, the venture will likely eventually fail. If you aspire to making work that will live longer than you do, I think that to be the bulk of the goal. As my friend Eveline in Shanghai said "I want to make a difference."
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Old Today, 04:21 PM
Scott Benefield Scott Benefield is offline
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“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

We all get into this for different reasons, under different circumstances, and we try and make it work. We stay in it for the love of process mostly, I think, or for some other mesmerised phenomenological fascination with glass, or perhaps other reasons that escape me. (Certainly not for the money or the fame unless you’re quite silly. I just want to blow glass is funny because it’s true.) People get out of it when it gets too hard—too uneconomical, too challenging, too litigious, too complicated and conflicted.

Making glass has always been expensive, going all the way back to when you had to cut down forests to fire your furnace, and those that couldn’t navigate those shoals—be it through cost overruns, cutthroat competition, advancing technology, changing fashions—went belly up on a regular, even cyclical, basis. The history of glassmaking is largely one of business failures, if you want to look at it that way.

The emergence of the studio glass movement didn’t really address any of those existing economic issues; it was an ideological revolution that had, at its core, the division of labor in glass production. It scaled things down (facilities, markets, skills and training) but shifted the entire burden onto the individual, instead of making it a corporate concern. So the maker, who now had to be the designer, was also responsible for doing sales and marketing, as well as facility fabrication and maintenance, bookkeeping, shipping, billing, etc. People who took that on and flourished under those circumstances tended to be people with a pronounced preference for autonomy who placed a high value on independent functioning. Not to generalise, but those were also character traits of high cranky individuals.

But events never stand still and circumstances continue (and will continue) to evolve. I remember a GAS lecture that Mark Peiser gave in the late 90s that brought the house down, and not in a good way, when he suggested that the really innovative phase of the studio glass movement had passed and everyone was now engaged in something fundamentally different than in the previous thirty years. What he was saying, if I can put words in his mouth, is that the Age of Discovery had passed and the Age of Exploration had begun—that people become acclimated and now took things for granted (technology, technique, market development) that were wholly new and uncreated for a previous generation. Mark, who has never deliberately courted controversy, was aghast that people hadn’t understood what he was trying to say, which was only the simple truth.

But it seems to be rule of thumb that any Golden Age existed just before you happened to arrive and be told about it. I remember hearing that at Pilchuck in 1986, or at the ACC Baltimore show in 1991, or in Seattle in 1993 and on and on. Nothing stays the same and people have a terrible tendency to nostalgize the past.

If you need to do this, you’ll figure out a way and people are still building furnaces and launching studios and businesses without the entire enterprise devolving to trust fund babies. You don’t need a university degree to blow glass (and neither did Lino or Dante) and you would be well advised to avoid situations or business models that have inherently high overheads. From my own experience, I’d say that your success depends more on your appetite for risk, you innate talent, your ambition, what training you can accumulate and luck more than your bank balance. You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed, if it’s going to make any sense at all.
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