nj> I have recently started making glass beads after taking some classes
nj> with Cindy Jenkins. To anneal my work, I use a fiber blanket.
nj> Several of the books I've read suggest using a kiln for this. Could
nj> anyone help with info on brand, how this is done (do you keep
nj> opening and closing it as you complete a bead?
I use a small electric wok filled with vermiculite, and it works very well
for me. I turn the wok all the way up and let it heat thoroughly before I
begin, and I usually let the beads soak for about four hours before I turn it
off. I really don't know if that's the recommended time, because I am mostly
self-taught through trial and error and only recently purchased Jenkins' book.
I don't know how well large beads would do in a setup like this because I'm
still using a Hot Head torch, and will until I sell enough beads to purchase
a Bench Burner in addition to just covering my material costs. I am very
pleased with it so far, though.
I have a friend who uses a custom-made hot box made from a toolbox lined with
firebrick and heated with coils. He cut a small door in one end, which is
covered by a metal rotating flap, and there are grooves in the edge of the
box so that he can open it, set the mandrel in the groove with the bead insid
ethe box, and quickly close it again. He's more limited in the number of
beads he can anneal at a time, but he can anneal larger beads and they're
The advantage of my wok setup, however, is that you can purchase a used
electric wok for under $10, or a new one for under $70.
nj> Also, some of the glass I'm working with is shocky...The books
nj> suggest using a hot plate to gradually warm the rods. How is this
nj> accomplished...though I know it sounds silly, Do you place the rods
nj> in a pot of water warming on the hot plate or what?
I know someone who does just that, but I also know someone who bought a
"buffet warmer", which is a type of flat rectangular hot plate designed to
keep food at a bacteria-safe serving temperature. He just lays his rods
directly on the warmer.
It cost a bit more than a regular hot plate, but it seems to be really