Sunday, November 28, 2010
Odds and Ends - the Using Up Thereof.
After you've been lampworking for any length of time, you start to wonder - what do I do with all these leftover ends? You try using them, but then they aren't the colour you want right now - or you find you've made truly hideous beads because you were trying to use up the ends.
You try sticking them together, end to end, but they are shocky and if you aren't using them right away, it doesn't really seem to buy you anything.
And the rod grabber tool is great for using up ends, but still - they keep accumulating.
One thing you can do to make these ends more usable is to re-anneal them. Part of the bummer about trying to use them is that they keep shocking and dropping a tip off the end. A half-inch falling off a 4 inch rod is more annoying than falling off a 13 inch rod.
In particular - I accumulate a lot of ends of clear and black. They are very reusable, but the shocking is annoying, so every once in a while, I will pile them in the kiln, and run an annealing cycle - same cycle I use for beads (and if I don't have quite as much as this, I might do it when I am going to make beads.) I don't care if a few of them shock and break, so I don't worry about a slow ramp-up. I just put them in, and ramp up at the usual speed.
When they come out, they are significantly less shocky - and my black and clear ends go and stand in a nice little can for re-use. Punties, bases for more expensive-glass beads, encasing stringer, twisties - lots of uses.
I find they do better on the floor of the kiln. Occasionally I have annealed a shocky batch of full-size rods, and I have to put them on an angle on the rod rest to make them fit. In that case, they tend to come out with a distinctive bend in them. At least then, I can tell which ones have been annealed!