Lampworked beads

Hi, folks: I’ve been away from my computer for a while and I
missed keeping up with all the great questions and answers. I
learned a lot. While I was away I took a one week workshop in
making Lampworked beads. I really enjoyed it. It adds color to
my metalwork. I also find that people enjoy owning just one
special bead that’s one-of-a-kind. Unfortunately, I have limited
studio space occupied by my tools and equipment for working with
metals. I also don’t have the type of fuel most recommended for
working with the lampwork. I now use acetylene which, I’m told,
is not suitable. I’m reluctant to add the propane/oxygen into
the same space. I’d love to hear from anyone who has been
working with this media. Frances

Visit me or “beam me up” at:
or @frangro

Hi Frances! I make lampworked beads with a HotHead torch and
bottled MAPP gas from Home Depot. You are a bit limited with
this system, but it does work well enough for my needs. The
torch cost about $39. and clamps to the edge of my bench when I’m
working. It’s worth looking into. Cindy Jenkins has a good book
out about lampworked beads which shows this torch in use. --Vicki

Hi, Frances- nice to know I’m not the only one diverging into
beads! I just got my minor burner- now, if I can only get it
hooked up! I would think that for you to switch from acetelyne
to propane, if you are already using oxy/acetylene would not be
too hard. you could just put a splitter in the lines for the
glass torches. A bigger problem, to me, is the annealer- I just
can’t stick mandrels into my Paragon, which has naked wire
elements. Where did you take your course? Anne

Frances, I’m into my 6th month of Muretti glass beadmaking. My
teacher told us to work a year or two using the hothead
propane/air torch before trying with a propane/oxygen torch. She
said that it would teach good technique; once a person learns how
to make beads on the hothead without burning them or making the
color muddy, then using a hotter torch will be a whole lot
easier. I would suppose an acetylene torch would do much worse
than the hothead, as there would be a greater tendancy to burn
the colors or to smoke them, plus the difficulty of seeing the
colors in the too hot flame.


Frances, I’ve also been trying to intergrate a little lampworking
into my work and have found that you’ll proably have to have a
propane/oxy setup. Unless you want to try boro(pyrex),
acety/oxy is too dirty for other glasses. What are your plans
for a burner/torch? A good fireproof table and computer
controled kiln would be a great start. Many use a very basic
setup with just a “hot head” torch (using small propane or MAPP
gas cans mixed w/ air) and just a hot plate full of pearlite to
help them flame aneal.

You'll most likely get hooked if you get into the glass and so

as many have said before “bigger is better”. There are minor
burners, major burners, hand torches, glory holes, propane
valcanos, ribbon burners,… you get the picture.

I’m a member of a hot glass discussion group that could answer
many more of you’re Qs. It is part of the Glass Line online
magazine. If you would like to check it out, here’s the URL…

this one goes strait to the hotglass forum…

Hope that helps,

Jeff Cleveland aka JevFro
505 E. 3rd
Ellensburg, Washington 98926

Hi, Ox/propane is much cleaner, as well as the proper
temperature range. Don’t know of any bead makers using anything
but oxy/propane systems.


I just wanted to let you know that you can contact Frantz Bead
Company. I don’t have their number but they do have a 1-800
number that you can get by calling 1-800-555-1212. They sell a
variety of torch systems for beadmaking and lampworking. The
cheapest torch is only $30 and called a hot head. That runs on
MAP gas and does not need two tanks. Also, some very skilled
lampworkers who are doing large scale sculptural work with
borrisilicate use an acetylene torch I believe. Hope this

Tracy Wharton
Brain Press

Charles Lewton-Brain
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada