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This page will hold tips, tricks, and frequently asked questions (FAQ) about lampwork, beadweaving, wire wrapping, stringing, and just about anything else that interests my beady friends and me.

Have a question?  How about a tip of your own?  Email me.



1.  My clear glass gets scummy.  What can I do about it?  This could be a number of things;  the flame could be too hot, or too dirty.  For example, MAPP gas on a hot head torch burns less clean than a propane/oxygen mix.  Your glass could have dirt and oils on it that you can't see.  Try cleaning the glass rods with alcohol on a cotton ball before you use it in the flame.  Also, I've read that Vetrofond transparent glass gets less scummy than Moretti glass, as does Lauscha.  These glasses are compatible with Moretti, so you can use them together. I just ordered some clear Lauscha and Vetrofond.  I'll run my own tests and let you know what I find out.  (Thanks to Micki from Iowa for this question!)

2. Is there a difference between Vetrofond and Moretti glass?   Both Vetrofond and Moretti (or Effetre) have the same COE (Co-efficient Of Expansion) of 104, which means that they are compatible and can be used together.  Another compatible glass is Lausha, which is German made.  However,  the glasses are made by different processes and may not react the same way with other glass or metals, or may have a different "feel".  I was fortunate to see Kate Fowle-Meleney give a demonstration at the BSGW Bazaar in November.  She mentioned that Vetrofond ivory behaves very differently from Moretti ivory. 

3.  How do you clean a hothead torch?  Hey, Micki!  I found an answer for your question. Just click on this link: .  If it doesn't work, let me know and I'll reprint it on this site!

4.  How do you place dots so they stay round?  Sometimes when newbie lampworkers make dots on a bead, they come out lumpy or pointy.  Sometimes the dots even pop off the entire bead!  All it takes to fix this is a little patience, and, in my case, math.  Well, counting, really.  When your bead is shaped how you want, place it in the "sweet spot" of the flame (usually just above where the inner flame cone ends, about an inch or two from the torch).  Rotate the bead to get an even glow.  Continue to rotate, but move the bead just behind the flame.  Wait for the glow to disappear, but the bead will still be hot.  Pick up your stringer and poke it through the flame to touch the bead where you want the dot.  WAIT!  Don't pull away too fast.  Count 1 second, allow the flame to burn off the stringer, then slowly pull the stringer back out of the flame.  To myself, I say the mantra "Touch, wait, pull, burn" to keep my timing consistent.  Now, put the bead back in the flame, and rotate it so the dot is pointing towards the ground (but still in the flame).  As you watch, the heat will smooth the lumpy dot and and make it gravitate towards the bead.  It's kind of like gravity in reverse.  You want to make sure the dot connects solidly with the bead.  You don't want it to look like a small sphere sitting atop the bead. It should look more like a spike (without a sharp point, of course).  Rotate the bead to keep it warm.  Depending on the size of the dot, you may need to apply more heat until it fuses solidly.  When placing the next dot, go to the opposite side of the bead, where it is less molten. This will prevent the previous dot from accidentally burning in (unless you want it flat).  My students find this a very helpful piece of advice when first starting.  As you practice, you may find you can speed up the process.