Category Archives: Beadmaking-Lampworking


That’s Pretty Shifty!

Shifty and CFL are two terms to describe the same thing — a pallet of glass that changes color based on the light that it is under. CFL stands for “compact fluorescent light.” The glass changes its apparent color in fluorescent lighting.

The first CFL/shifty glass was done by Glass Alchemy in 2014, with the color Serum. Next, came Terps.

Serum by Glass Alchemy

Terps by Glass Alchemy


These are a bit tough to get, but other CFLs are available:

Potion by Glass Alchemy


Gemini by Northstar


Hydra by Northstar


Siriusly by Northstar

Check our hot glass section for availability.


Oxygen Concentrators

When we set up our flame room in our new location, we put a lot of thought into how we would get gas and oxygen to the burners. We ended up with piped-in gas and oxygen concentrators and think it is a great system.

We started with hot head torches and MAPP gas.

Hot Head Torch

MAPP Gas Canister Holder and Clamp

This was a great beginner setup and we had a great time with it.

We then took a big step and became Bethlehem dealers! Below are the Alpha and Bravo glassworking torch models.

Bethlehem Burner Alpha Glassworking Torch

Bethlehem Burner Bravo Glassworking Torch

With this system, we used 3-gallon propane tanks and some used medical oxygen generators. An issue we encountered with this system was having to make frequent runs to get more propane — and, of course, the propane would run out at the worst times. Another issue we encountered was that the used medical generators did not last. People tend to give up on these generators when they have a lot of hours on them.

When we moved, we looked at oxygen tanks. That solution sounded like a nightmare to me — the tanks must be allowed to bleed, so you are losing oxygen all the time. It is a time-consuming process to get the tanks refilled, and just having oxygen under pressure seemed to be a scary concept.

We went the concentrator route and have not regretted it. These rebuilt machines are like new and have enough power to run the Bravos — and that is a lot!

We sell oxygen generators but only for store pickup as they are difficult to ship.

A concentrator works by taking air from the room and compresses it. It then delivers air to where you direct it — in our case, to a bench burner. In a five-step process, the concentrator:

  1. takes air from the room
  2. compresses the oxygen
  3. takes out the nitrogen
  4. adjusts the way the air is delivered and
  5. delivers it.

The concentrator takes oxygen out of the room, so you must allow air to get back in by means of some sort of ventilation. We have our vented out through the ceiling and also have a door on each end as well as a vent toward the floor into the next room so there are plenty of ways to get air in.

I posed the question on the Facebook group Lampwork Tips, Techniques, & Questions. One person said the removal of the oxygen from the room is about as problematic as all the people in the room using up oxygen by breathing!




For a few years now, Stained Glass Express has been offering 33 coe glass.  We are still learning and still adding product.  One of the growing stock is our 33 coe tubes and rods.  We stock Simax tubes and rods made by Schott.  This is a high- quality borosilicate glass.  The main ingredients are silica and boron.  Boro has a high heat resistance and a low thermal expansion.  (thus the low coe number).

Simax works best in high heat and is commonly used in lab equipment, industrial equipment and cookware.  However, in our art world it is a favorite because it creates smoot, transparent and strong beautiful pieces.

For Simax to work at it’s full potential it must be annealed properly.  Annealing is the process of eliminating internal thermal stress.  This stress comes from one area of the glass getting hotter than a neighboring area and will later develop cracks.  Usually it is annealed at 1050 F for about one hour and then cooled slowly.  If you cool too quickly it will crack.  Of course, this can vary depending on the thickness of the glass and other variables.

You can use Simax glass with other 33 coe glass like Glass Alchemy, Golden Gate, imported, Momkas, Northstar, Tautman and others.

We have not put simax on our website but if you talk to us and allow us to cut it to fit a box (or are willing to pay for oversized we will ship it.  Our colored rods are on the site.


In the art world the top item made is tobacco pipes, but also ornaments, pendants and other wonderful works of art!







Sign up for one of our torch room classes and learn this art!




Info from Glass Art Magazine and Wikipedia

Japanese legend is that if you fold 1000 cranes you will be granted a wish by the gods.  The crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth so some believe that the 1000 origami paper cranes will bring you long life or recovery from illness or injury.  In Japan the cranes which are strung together are very popular as wedding themes.


Jeremy Grant-Levine (aka Germ) in  2018 is glass blowing 1000 cranes.  Jeremy is being back by $92,000 Kickstarter campaign.  This project will take 250 pounds of glass and approximately two miles of wire, totaling $20,000 in materials.  When complete the work will on display at the Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philadelphia.

Jeremy is based in Philadelphia and has been flameworking glass pipes for over 13 years.  He has exhibited at galleries in Philadelphia, Seattle, New York, Miami and Tel Aviv.




Tips from the Glass Academy: Beadmaking

Though not really new, because it has been around since the 19th century, bead making is gaining momentum very quickly.
One method is to buy an inexpensive hot head torch like you see being used in the pictures above. This is easily something you can do at home. Hot Head is sku 15613.

Or our newest addition is a Bench Burner. Sku 16035. You are able to do more with this one, but it is more expensive and you need an oxygen generator to go with it.

Janet’s Tips: Why the Heck is Lampworking called lampworking??


Lampworking is also called flame working or torch working or bead making. All those words make sense to the process except Lampworking which is the official name of the process. So, I looked it up. It is called lampworking because way back when this process started they did it by oil-fueled lamps while blowing air into the flame through a pipe. So there you go!

This type of glasswork is where a torch is primarily used to melt the glass. Once it is molten, it is formed by shaping with tools and hand movements. Lampworking is different from glassblowing in that glassblowing uses a furnace called a glory hole as the primary heat source. The methods today use torches that burn propane or natural gas for the fuel. It is mixed with air or pure oxygen as the oxidizer. MAPP gas in portable canisters can be used.

Coral Fish

bead project
Coral Fish Bead

Coral Glass Bead Directions

Materials Needed:
Moretti Glass Rods: black, white & orange
 Black and White Stringers
Stainless Steel Tweezers
Beadmaking Kit
Protective eyewear
Mandrels coated in bead release
Step 1:  To form a base bead, heat an orange rod until a 1/2″ ball of glass forms, apply glass to a warmed mandrel.  When thoroughly heated, poace bead between the paddles of a bead pre