When I first started lampworking I heard of people cleaning their glass rods before using it. Everything from putting it in the dishwasher to cleaning each rod upon arrival with vinegar and water to using little wet wipes or alcohol pads that are individually packaged. I thought, ‘now, why would you waste your time doing that…it all burns off, doesn’t it?’ Same when I would see them nipping off the ends of their glass to avoid ‘scuz’. Pfft. Who would even notice?
Well, I’m a bit more seasoned now and a lot more picky. Maybe you are too, or will become that way someday. Or maybe you don’t even notice, like I didn’t. But for the former group, today I highlight a nifty little gadget I’ve started using. After a further realization that the underarm t-shirt swipe only got off dust, not fingerprints (yes, they do show up and don’t burn off) and any other schmutz (is that a yiddish word? Did I use it right?) I realized that some type of liquid should be used. You see, the glass has micro scratches that we can’ see. I think it’s Larry Scott who goes as far as pickling his glass under the premise that rods are pulled through metal, or laid on metal when cooling (one of the two) and that scratches develop with a residue of metal something-or-other. Pickling removes that. I can’t attest for that and I’m not really sure how that works because pickling, by definition is supposed to remove residue from the surface of metal, rather than metal from something else. But he’s a smart guy and I believe it.
Anyway…I’m not that picky (maybe someday I’ll get there) here’s what I’ve come up with. A manicurists dispenser. I got it at a beauty supply store for $3.99 and fill it up with half window cleaner, half water. You could use vinegar and water if that is what you prefer. The way it works is that it has a cool little pump-top dispenser that you put your cloth on top of it and push down. The pushing action causes the liquid to come up and pool in the top, where you cloth absorbs it.
I usually work with a cotton towel in my lap to protect my clothes any myself from shattering, flying, glass and just use a corner of that cloth since it’s already right there. Swipe your rod through the wetted portion and voila! Clean rods at your finger tips.
Now you just need to start worrying about those scuzzy ends and nipping them off and you’ll be ready for crystal clear glass without a whole cleaning day.
Did you find this useful? Check out my other Studio Series posts. I’m slowly building this section so if you have a question about something business related or studio related, please let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.