4.23.2014 - Spirals & Stringers

I got to thinking about the wound spirals I make, and thought oh - it's because I use boro stringers - that all have a nice consistent diameter.  Well, that's true for the clear - but the colored ones are made from rods - I like to pull from 7-8mm dia. rods.  As I pull the stringer, it's spiraled up on the other side of the torch.  Feed boro in from the front of the torch - mandrel in back, catching the stringer and winding it up.  Does that makes sense to you?

 Red Boro Zinger Spiral Necklace - $250

That got me to thinking about how new lampworkers are taught to pull stringers.  I've heard about heating a rod in the middle and pulling out each end  with the stringer in the middle.  Or puntying on with a stainless steel chopstick.  I think Corina was just talking about how not to use tweezers, because the stringer retains the tweezer shape for a couple of inches in initial pull stages - and how that can get to be expen$ive if it's silvered glass your'e tossing away!

When I need a length of stringer, I pull using needle nose pliers... 
I fix my eyes about 1 1/2" to the right of the flame.  I slowly feed a thick rod from the left and pull to the right... always watching that same check spot 1 " to the right of the flame.  I pull about an inch, then let the glass slightly chill and set the diameter to what I need... once that's been established, I can control the speed at which the glass is fed into the flame from the left and simultaneously control the speed & temperature of the glass I'm pulling from the right. 

Do I have a stringer stash? Sheesh... I wish, but cataloging yet another thing is not in my mental makeup.  There is a sense of freedom pulling fresh ones each time!