Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Ok so G3T films asked what the molds that I use are made of. Trick question and here is why. We use all kinds of different molds for all kinds of different reasons.

Lets list the molds real quick and give a quick description.

#1. Blocks: Which are used to shape the glass wile on the pipe or punti. These are used at the bench to shape the glass into workable globs of stuff and to level out globs/bumbs/ugly spots. It is a very basic way of getting the glass in a shape we want before we blow air into it to make something. We also use bigger ones to help keep it on center and in good shape thoughout the whole process. This kind of block/hand held mold is used the most.

#2. Optic Molds: These consist of more or less two different kinds of molds. We have what I like to call normal optic molds and Diamond or Pineapple molds. The Normal Optic mold is what anyone in the world would be talking about when they said "Optic Mold".

It is used after shaping the glass into a pug and smashing it down into the old. This creates a lined optical pattern in the glass which you can see in the ornament above.

The Second kind of optic mold is above. These are the Diamond or Pineapple Molds. They also put an optical pattern but they are crazy expensive. The ones picture here are solid bronze and cost about 780 bucks. The one up above is aluminum and run around 160 dollars. I have the smaller one of these coming for Christmas! How do I know you ask...well because I just ordered it for myself...I am the most awesome gift giver to myself ever!

Last but not least. The blow mold, spin mold, whatever you want to call it. These molds are made out of Cherry Mold and soaked in water before they are lathed. Then after they are cut/shaped they stay in water so they don't burn up while you use them. You get a basic shape of the mold before you go in, then they open up and close around the glass. The pipe will be coming out of the top of them as well as a little bit of the glass. Then you blast away with air to inflate the glass inside the mold. It will come out the basic shape of the mold. This might sound easy but to be honest it takes a whole skill set just to know how to do this well. It is always a new learning cycle every time I get a new mold like this. They are all different and all require the original shape of the glass going in to be just a bit different to work correctly. Little bigger here or there, hotter here colder there. It can be very mild boggling until you figure out just how to go in. Just how hard to blow, just how fast to spin....Guys that are new to this figure out quick it is not as easy as it looks. I would also state that the larger the mold the harder it gets...FAST! I have a very very large mold that I am pretty sure anyone at any time would find a challenge to get a good piece out of. Alas, once you get it wired you can really make some nice stuff. I gave my mold maker a plug on the is his picture so I think it is only fair.

Ok that is it for today I am off to a Belmont Art Center Guild Meeting. As my brother Ryan likes to say "Get it hot, keep it centered, and remember Gravity is your friend".




EXSENO said...

Oh, I'm reading your posts to get a little caught up, so I didn't know what you were talking about when you said they were not interested in wood.

Well to heck with them, I found it very interesting. I have always wondered what kind of miracle a glass glower makes to get all of those shapes.
Thanks Gnat. Mystery solved.

Jax said...

Ok I was thrilled with this post too. We got to see a demo done by local glass blowers at the Christmas in the park event in San Jose CA and the guy used a Pineapple mold to make an ornament. Thanks to you, I knew what he was doing! I was wondering too if you going to be putting any of your ornaments up for sale on your ETSY site?