As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been looking into small tabletop glass blowing equipment in order to do larger vessels, sculptures and paperweights in a shorter period of time. A tabletop glass blowing set up would be very useful considering the high cost of a full hot shop and the time it takes to work with large quantities of glass at the torch.
One choice for a small studio without investing in huge furnaces and all the other equipment needed to run a full scale hot shop is a Tabletop glory hole.
One choice for this is the Murphy Firebucket which is available at Fusion Headquarters.
For under $600 a small glass blowing setup similar to larger hot shops can be ready to go using purchased cullet or using an existing kiln for a crucible.
I have an old AIM kiln that is suitable for converting to a crucible. A crucible or a furnace is a vat that the clear or colored glass is heated till molten. Glass is dipped out of the crucible using a blowpipe or punty and brought out to a marver to shape and then is blown or shaped at a bench. I’m guessing with the purchase of additional tools, glass and a couple of crucibles for the old kiln my initial expenses would be appoximately $1000. According to their website, operating costs run less than $.25 per hour.
Since 1986, this tabletop glory hole has been used to make custom glass rods, millefiori, stringers, pattern bars, canes, twists, hollow tube beads, drip lines, and small blown objects such as rondels, perfume bottles and paper weights. Fusion Headquarters has modified the old burner system so the Murphy Bucket now fires hotter than before, reaching chamber temperatures in excess of 2200 degrees F. They have modified the tools so that they are much smaller than those used in typical hot shops.
The Murphy Fire Bucket comes with a shutoff valve, hose, regulator, punty rod, blow pipe, rod rest/wrapping form, long jaws, and safety glasses. Exterior dimensions: 16″ tall x 13″ wide x 8″ deep. Interior firing dimensions are 6″ x 6″ cylinder with a 5″ chamber opening so there are limitations of course on the size of pieces that could be made. For paperweights, small sculptures, bottles, glasses, etc this would be a really nice addition to a flameworking studio.
If you have worked on the Murphy Firebucket, or any tabletop glory hole for that mater, add a comment here. I would love to hear about your experience.
Coming soon: The Don McKinney Tabletop Glory Hole