Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Frit and the Vacuum Cleaner

"YAY! ANG is BACK in the SADDLE!"
-- Becky's Facebook reply to yesterday's blog post
Bless you, Becky, I think it ended up being more like riding bareback on a bronco and landing face first in the muck. Scratch that. It really wasn't a rough ride, it's just that the one measly bead I ended up making is muck-worthy, LOL.
I don't know about you all, but I remember well the fear of turning on the kiln for the first time, wondering if it would explode without warning because I had inadvertently pushed the wrong button. The propane tank didn't scare me so much, but when I finally tried an oxygen tank I felt that something's-crawling-up-my-back fear with each turn of the valve. Of course, practice and experience quickly alleviate the fears, and you learn to keep a careful eye on your equipment without worrying yourself into a perpetual state of twisted panties riding up your butt while you try to torch.
But yesterday?? Yesterday, I suddenly developed a case of the I'm-not-sure's. Screw the torch mount back onto the edge of the worktable. Check. Angle iron and a Great White torch can be a little heavy to hold with one hand while fumbling with screwing the nuts back onto the bolts, but check. (And let's not even talk about how strange that last sentence sounds!) Attaching regulator to propane tank. Check. Not hard at all. Oxygen tank and regulator. Check. If you don't get that right, oxygen bursts from the valve, so there ya go. Turn on the torch, light the gas. Check.
Adjust the flame next, right? PROBLEM! The flame is wobbling here, there, and everywhere. What the heck did I do?? Well, when you're unsure of yourself around this kind of equipment, the best thing to do is turn everything off and walk away for a while. Walk away, I did. Turn off all of my equipment, I couldn't figure out. DUH! The raised writing on this particular oxygen tank's valve has worn down through the years (it's a rental exchange, so ya get what ya get when you exchange tanks), I couldn't read or feel the direction of the arrows to "close" or "open," and all of a sudden my brain froze and couldn't remember which I should turn the valve. I know, I know, I should've been able to tell by looking at how the needles on the regulator moved when I turned it. Anyway, I finally called the hubby to ask him about something else and to slip in a weeeeeeeee little question about oxygen tanks, LOL.
When all was said and done, I had about twenty minutes left to torch something. That isn't much compared to the hour or more I'm used to torching to create one sculpture. But I *had* to make something, didn't I? I can tell you that was one funky little bead!
I can also tell you that this all brought back my frit and vacuum cleaner nightmare. See, I have virtually no experience with frit, let alone with reactive frit. Soon as I looked at that jar of Chalcedony frit, I remembered the vacuum incident. Amber from Naos Glass once sent me some raku frit so I could try it. It was in a cute little vial, and it was just enough to create a frit addict. . . if it hadn't accidentally been sucked up by the shop vac while I was cleaning around the worktable! Argh. I was mortified. Not to mention, at the time, I was pretty inexperienced with using a shop vac and didn't think to just open it up and fish out the vial of raku. Long after the vac had been emptied into the trash, I realized my mistake.
After the I-sucked-up-the-frit trauma, I just never tried frit again. . .
And that, my dears, is the longwinded version of why you don't get any glass goodie pictures from me today :)

1 comment:

rosebud101 said...

Like Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day!"

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