Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Essential Tools: Graphite Stump Shaper

And - one more "don't leave home without it" tool. I have quite the kit of tools that I routinely schlep about, actually.

This is the Graphite Stump Shaper. For this, as it is lighter than the brass stump shaper, I prefer the larger size. This is the 2 x 2.5 inch size. I appreciate that the handle is wood+metal. I have to admit - the rubber handle of the brass stump shaper can definitely smell of much-too-hot rubber if you let the head get too warm.

Here is the head, from various angles, so you can see the planes and curves and etc.

The beveled plane at the end is particularly nice for shaping bicones.

So - why do I have both a brass Stump shaper and a graphite one? Well - I find brass and graphite move the glass in very different ways.

Because graphite is slipperier, it slides more over the glass. The brass is a little "grabbier." So - if I am putting on dots, and flattening them with a tool - instead of just melting them in by themselves, if I want to "steer" them into position - i.e. I'm doing something that requires more precision (as unlikely as that seems!) - then the brass tool is better, as I can tweak the dot into the best position as I flatten it with the brass dot - by sliding in one direction or another. With the graphite tool - it's just going to flatten it.

And, as subtle as that distinction sounds - it's enough to justify both tools.

Also - I don't use the graphite tools for the heavy duty cutting and separating that I use the brass Stump shaper for.

The graphite Stump shaper is also large enough, and being flat on one side, to function as a flat paddle for marvering. If you are just starting out, I would suggest skipping the flat paddle and going for this instead, as it is more versatile.


  1. agreed! i broke my graphite shaper and miss it like a plumber misses pipe.