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Glassblowing Info

Lampwork (flamework) vs. Soft Glass (blown glass):
These are the two main types of glassblowing. The majority of Legacy Glass is produced through lampwork. Lampwork involves the use of a torch fueled by propane and oxygen where glass tubes are heated and shaped above an open flame. Following this, color is heated and applied to the glass tubes. The artist blows into the tubes which creates shapes. Once the piece is done on the torch, it is placed in a kiln to heat the piece evenly and then cooled down evenly to prevent cracking. This is the glassblowing technique used to make tobacco pipes, jars, shot glasses and a great deal of glass art. Soft glass is when the glass is heated in a molten furnace of glass. Next the glassblower gathers glass on the end and blows a bubble with a blowpipe or blowtube. This is how the artist manipulates the glass. This technique is used for larger objects like vases, mugs and other larger pieces of glass art.
Imported Glass vs. American Glass:
The vast majority of tobacco pipes sold in the United States are imported from China and India. Legacy Glassworks ONLY sells glass made in the United States with the majority crafted in Minnesota. Imported tobacco pipes are almost always made in sweat shops by children who are lucky to make $1 a day. When buying imported tobacco pipes, a customer is directly contributing to this inhumane industry. Further, imported pipes are thin and easily breakable. They are made with low quality glass and are sold at a very cheap price. These pipes are found in nearly every tobacco shop and pipe shop in Minnesota. To distinguish between a high-quality American pipe and an imported pipe, look to see if there is a large amount of bubbles in the color (imported), pick up the pipe and see if it is light (imported) and examine the pipe for overall appearance. It is easy to tell the difference. They don’t add any ‘tender loving care’ into their pipes, like we do!
Need to know terms:
Borosilicate: This is the type of glass used for all tobacco pipes sold at Legacy Glassworks. It is a very hard and sturdy glass that has to be heated to a much higher degree than other glasses. The result is tobacco pipes that last longer and are less likely to break.
Inside Out:
This style of glass has the color applied to the inside of the pipe creating two layers of glass. The layer of color on the inside shines vibrantly through the clear outside.
Fuming:
Silver: when pure silver is burned inside a tobacco pipe, it stains the glass. This allows the glass to change color, reacting with the chemicals created from smoking tobacco. With silver fuming, the glass no longer looks clear but instead has a cloudy bluish white tint.
Gold: Pure gold is burned to create chemical changes that add a magnificent effect on the piece. When clean, the gold fuming produces an array of vibrant purples, reds, pinks, or even burnt orange. This fuming changes the color of the piece after smoking.
Raking:
This style is where color is applied to the outside of the glass. The colors are then “raked” back and forth.
Dicro:
This is a metal created by NASA- the U.S. space agency. Color is applied to the Dicroic glass. This is applied to a piece in endless ways. This result is a shimmering, glittery metallic color.
Magnifier:
Clear glass added to the outside which enlarges the detailed colors inside.
Cane:
Color rods wrapped around each other creating unique color patterns.
Marble:
Glass balled together with an endless array of patterns found inside.
Frit: Small pieces of color that are used to decorate pipes.
Mouthpiece:
In a glass tobacco pipe, this is the point where your mouth touches the pipe.
Choke:
In a glass tobacco pipe, this is a hole in the glass that you put a finger on. This helps regulate the air flow through the piece.
Diffuser: Multiple holes in the bottom of the drop-stem of a bubbler, creating a smoother airflow.
Wig-Wag:
This is when one takes rods of color and hand-makes solid color tubing. It is made with an endless variety of color patterns and twisted back and forth, creating a distinctive look. A higher level of skill is required to use this method. A specific type of wig-wag is called a reversal where the solid color tube is made and the axis is switched during the blowing process. The result is a stunning visual treat.