FAQ Index

Light Table

Construction / Molds

Choosing Glass

Pattern Preparation

Pattern Hints

Scoring / Breaking Glass



Fitting The Glass

Lamp Positioners

Solder / Soldering

Reinforcing Lamps

Special Considerations


Releasing a Shade

Ring and Rim



Special Applications

Tools, Aids etc.

Health & Safety Concerns


Selling Your Artwork

Workshop Renovations

Photographing Lamps


Nancy Pimental: For the past 14 years, I’ve been running a fairly large hepa filter to take care of the concerns of lead poisoning. This filter changes the air in my studio every 5 minutes. My students and I use the fume trap right on our work as we solder and take care to wash our hands frequently. The amount of lead in my blood continues to be at an acceptable level, but just as a precaution, I continue to have this test done every two years.

Mazhar Janjua: I’ve purchased different safety goggles to protect my eyes during glasswork, but end up not using them - for one reason or another and then have to visit the hospital to have glass splinters removed from my eye. Recently, I found a face shield at a hardware store that turned out to be perfect. It is light, does not fog up and is easy to put on. Manufactured by North Safety Products <northsafety.com>

Paul Crist: If you use kerosene to remove wax, remember that it should not be heated above 150 degrees F, since it is very flammable. It should be heated to the point when it is only warm to the touch.

Paula Putirskis: I’d like to share a reminder with you, in hopes you won’t go through what I just experienced! For the past 2 months, I have been unable to work with glass - a painful punishment! Instead, I’ve seen countless doctors and have undergone a lot of medical testing. Why? Lead poisoning from inhaled fumes. My studio is vented, however, when it turned cold, I shut the vent off to keep the heat in my studio. About the same time, I shifted to crafting my “small gift items” for the holiday season. I was working 16 hour days - doing hours and hours of soldering. The result: high blood pressure, facial and hand numbness, loss of appetite (30 pounds worth!), severe head pain and insomnia. Currently, we are installing an air purification system. Don’t be dumb like I was - VENTILATE!
Carol Conti: If you can’t work outside, make sure your work area is well-ventilated while soldering. An exhaust fan which draws out the fumes is necessary. A filtration unit is a sensible fixture in any glass studio. Plastic gloves will help protect your hands; long pants and a loin cloth will keep solder from your legs and lap! Shoes are a must to wear. Take off your rings. Pregnant women should NEVER be exposed to lead or lead vapors.
Mary Koehl: Adding salt will accelerate the action of black patina, however “salting” an acid can produce chemical reactions that could be dangerous, so take care.

Mary Anne Delorenzo tells of a tragic fire that destroyed her glass shop: “The solder on all the lamps just melted away. The pieces of glass survived, but there was no way to find what belonged to what. Make sure that you all have your lamps insured or have enough coverage on your homeowner’s policy. This money doesn’t cover the cost of replacing the lamp, but at least it will help with the cost of redoing it.”

Nancy Pimental: When designing or remodeling a glass studio, I would suggerst wiring your outlets in with your light switches. This way, when you turn your studio lights off at the end of the day, you’ll know that all the outlets are off, too. No need to worry that a soldering iron was left plugged in.

Dick Watson: To avoid breathing soldering fumes, here is a way to move the fumes away from your workspace.
•Lay an approximate1” diameter plastic pipe along the top back edge of your workbench and run it to an outside door. (If the pipe is too long, try a sleeve in the center.)
•At the workbench end of the pipe, fit an elbow with a short extension length of pipe. •Cut the small end off a large funnel and fit, glue and tape it over the extension end of the pipe.
•Raise the funnel to suit your work area.
•At the door-end of the pipe, take a strong, but old vacuum cleaner and cut the accessory end off its hose and slide it over the pipe. Use an auto radiator clamp to hold it in place. When you are ready to solder, start up your vacuum cleaner to draw the fumes out of the door. You can pack away the cleaner when it’s not in use.