Monday, June 7, 2010

How much it costs...!

I've been asked how much it costs for a basic lampwork set up, and what equipment you need to buy...
You can buy yourself a basic starter kit here: - it's about halfway down the page...£56. For your money you get a Hothead torch, for which you will need to buy a cannister of MAPP gas from B&Q or plumbing suppliers. These cost approx £14 each and one can will run for around three or four hours. You should also invest in a pair of safety glasses, both to guard against glass splinters which can be a problem...and also against the flare from the torch which can damage your eyesight. You will need either some fibre blanket (also from Tuffnell's) or some vermiculite (from a garden centre) and a heatproof container to place your beads into to cool.
If you find you're liking it from here, the next step is to get a bulk fuel kit which enables you to connect your hothead to a large propane bottle, like the ones you see on caravan sites etc. Mine is about three feet tall and costs £20 to fill, I've been running on it for about six weeks from it's last refill...much cheaper than the MAPP!
To be able to sell your beads they need to be kiln annealed, or they remain prone to fracturing or breaking when used. The cheapest kiln I've found is the Beadcube, it costs LOTS! About £400 gets you one, which you can use to anneal up to eighty beads at once, it comes preprogrammed for bead annealing and can also be used for other work, such as PMC, glass fusing and enamelling.
Then you may wish to upgrade further and go the dual fuel route, you'll see the kits with oxycons at the top of the page I linked above!
Other extras include shaping tools, presses, marvers (for rolling beads to even them out), leather apron to protect clothing (I don't have one) and you need to bear in mind that you'll need a very well ventilated work area because of the fumes...
Nuff for now - post any other questions below and I'll have a look later on!

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