Last Updated: Feb 19, 2018     Views: 397

Artists working in small studios have developed a variety of equipment that suits their way of work.

Using your example, the furnace, glory hole, and annealer have do not have standardized sizes. A glassblower will want a larger capacity furnace if they create big pieces that require many gathers of glass. In that case, the glory hole doors must have an opening large enough to insert blowpipe with its molten glass for re-warming. The doors may be designed in three sections: a small opening to conserve heat while the piece is being started; a larger opening to accommodate the piece as it is being shaped; and a wide opening to keep the piece hot as it is being finished. The doors may or may not have an automatic opener.

Likewise, the annealer fits the size of the piece -- or the quantity of pieces made in a blowing session (many Christmas ornaments require a fair amount of space.
Annealers may have a door at the top of a box; on the side; or the walls and ceiling of the box may rise to reveal the floor of the kiln/annealer.

There are lots and lots of variations. For example, some glassblowers have developed energy saving devices for their furnaces.

In a very small space, some beginning glassblowers use a portable furnace, like the "Murphy Fire Bucket"

Or, there are other types of glassmaking, like fusing (melting glass in a kiln), casting (in a mold), lampworking (melting glass with a torch), etc. You can even melt tiny bits of glass in your microwave with a special insert.

Coldworking equipment is usually part of the studio as well (grinders, sandblasters, etc.)

Are you setting up a small glass facility? Or, is this a theoretical class project?

Dudley Giberson's book is a wonderful compilation of designs for a variety of glassmaking equipment. He also has a website that provides additional information and designs, including an annealer made from a mailbox!

Henry Halem's classic book, Glass Notes..., is another treasure trove of information about studio equipment and techniques: He provides some information on the website as well.

The website, is another good resource: It includes a message board.

I am sending a couple bibliographies listing resources describing building furnaces. If these are helpful, I will be glad to send additional lists for annealers, etc.

If you wish to obtain copies of any of the items in our list, please contact your local library. The Rakow Research Library is a member of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC); your library can contact us through OCLC or they may mail an Interlibrary Loan form to us. You may request up to five items at a time. We send photocopies of articles and microfiche copies of our books (if they have been microfilmed) through Interlibrary Loan for four weeks use.

Mike Firth provides a good overview of glass studios and equipment:

Many glass artists build their own studio equipment; others purchase it from vendors who design and make furnaces, annealers, etc. Check the Glass Art Society for additional resources, and a list of manufacturers and suppliers:
Please let me know if you have additional questions.


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