Thursday, March 1, 2012

My 'must have ' lampworking tools by Laney Mead

looking from behind the torch
I will start with a picture of my work bench in my studio, this is it on a good day!

When I first started out with lampworking I 'needed' every tool that I saw, some I have brought and found them to be over priced, over enthused and no use to me, others I have found in the hubbys garage and they have been my wonder tool.

Here is a picture of all my favourite tools, all laid out nicely on my fusing kiln...

My 'must have' in any studio have to be the glass rod nipper, top left, my 'poker', bottom right with the wooden handle - perfect for bum holes, belly buttons, nose 'holes' and flower centres.  Next to the poker is my razor tool, this is the most valuable 'mark making' tool for me, it does mouths, petals, centre lines for bums and legs, it also gets into those corners to be able to push the glass where you want it to be, its a versatile and brilliant tool.  My fourth, must have tool available from glass suppliers is the tweezers.  Mine are long handled ones, fourth in on the bottom right.  In truth mine probably need replacing they have become a bit warped, but they still work.  Tweezers are brilliant for flattening the little bits of glass, picking off unwanted blobs of glass, holding the shortest of short lengths of the rod and removing scum from the ends of rods.

All of these tools are available through major glass suppliers. 

Over time I have added some tools that I have 'found' - if I don't put in writting I've been in the hubbys stash I don't have to give them back!

The three smaller tools in this picture (on the right), are my 'can't live without' tools.  Starting from the bottom, is a dental pick.  Hubby had a small collection of dental instruments, I took them all, this is the only survivor.  Its like my wooden handled pick but smaller, so the indentations I make can be more subtle.  Above him, are two tools from a collection of six that hubby found in a model shop.  Originally they were sold to aid the building of model railways, but they are perfect for glass.  The middle tool is the only one that is not double ended, but has a long flat 'blade'.  I use this one in the same way as the razor tool, but this one doesn't leave the deep dent the razor can.  Above him is a double ended tool.  This one has a pointed spear at one end and a flat small leaf shape at the other.  The flat small leaf shape is great for mouths and marks on petals.  Just above those three tools is a tool I have no idea on the name of, but I use it to hold the small pieces of rod ends.  Its like a pair of scissors with two triangular shapes at the ends.  Another well used and warped tool, but it still works!! 

My wall

As well as tools to help me create at my torch I have lots of images, photos, cut out pictures from magazines, seed/flower brochures, my old colour wheel from my painting days and even first beads.  All of these I pin to the wall around me, sometimes just looking at something can inspire an idea.  See my dragons?  When I first started lampworking, I wanted to make dragons so I drew some, the bottom one I can create in glass, the top one...I'm still working up to her, but when I do make her I will use all my favourite tools!!

Hope this helps when choosing tools for lampworking.  You don't have to buy commercially available tools, although some are invaluable, just look around, a kitchen knife will work like a razor tool, a pencil (graphite) will give the same pokey holes as a poker tool and model shops will turn up some real cheap but fabulous alternatives to mark making tools, just remember to make sure the metals are steel, some are not, which is why the dental collection that my hubby once owned is now down to one pokey tool, who knew they were second grade metals that burned bright in the flame!!

Laney x


  1. Thanks for the GREAT article Laney! ♥

  2. You are very welcome, I enjoyed doing it! x

  3. Fab article Laney, My must have tools are a graphite tile, a tiny graphite paddle and long tweezers (oh yep and rod nips too :D )

  4. Fantastic article Laney. I was cheeky and asked our dentist for dental tools. He gave a few of his old worn out ones and they are great.