Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kiln Harvest and Lani Ching Tool

Today's Fresh Glass Beads... And a tool I've had on my work table for ages but am now in love with!

Confession time: My name is Holly and I have an addiction. I.... am a tool hog! I love tools. Maybe it's leftover from my childhood obsession with my dad's plumbing tools but I've often owned more and better tools than the guys I've dated. Glass is the perfect venue for a tool hog....there's always something newer and better! It's my embarrassment over this that keeps me from talking about tools very often. But I have to with this.

The proper name of this tool from Arrow Springs is The Lani Ching Shaper. And before you run out and buy it, let me tell you, there is something newer and better! I've had mine for years...probably since I took Lani's class in 2008. But I only recently figured out how to use it and why it's so wonderful. I only wish it were a bit longer so I could use it with my long skinny beads I love so much.

First of all, this all goes back to the dot challenge... My goodness! Is that silly challenge ever going to stop teaching me something???  It was early on when I was struggling with consistent sizes and I was taking a break. I picked up an ancient issue of the Flow Magazine and Craig from Arrow Springs had written a piece about the new Cylinder Speed Shaper. I read that and got back to work... and noticed the Lani tool on my desk.

Before, to shape a cylinder, I had been using a brass mold with very shallow sides...kinda like the opposite side of the Lani Shaper... which I rarely use. I find I have to make a specific size bead to have that side work for me.  But I immdidately recognized the value of marving two sides a of a bead at once and the slanted groove side does just that!

Suddenly, making a huge cylinder was easy!! I had struggled with volume control and keeping things centered before...but not with this tool! And messy ends are GONE!

And here we go back to the dot challenge. While I didn't use tools in that...I learned something about repetition. While I'm a total dropout on the 2nd Challenge as I get ready for my Trunk Show... I am making LOTS of the same basic cylinder! I've had several regular customers request that I make wine stoppers / bottle openers as gifts this year. So every session...I've been making substantial cylinders...look back through those fresh glass photos if you don't believe me!

By making this same shape over and over, I've taught myself so much!

  • Footprint is vital when making beads to a specific size. 
  • Once that footprint is set, unless I do something stupid, it's really hard to actually mess it up!
  • Marvering two sides at once really helps keep the bead centered perfectly! 
  • Volume control is also easy breezy... heat a little where there is too much glass and a lot where you want the glass to go. Marver in the Lani Shaper and viola! 
  • Heating and marvering each end one at a time off the edge makes a bead that can stand up on it's own! 
Here are how I marver both ends:
I'm certain the Lani Shaper gave birth to the cylinder speed shaper and the Arrow Springs video of the speed shaper in action is pretty darn cool to watch. And yes, the speed shaper is on my covet list. But either one is a nice addition if you are making cylinders. These are "must have" tools!!

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