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Members in the news – Liveryman David Wilkinson

Good News from Liveryman David Wilkinson and ambition long in the waiting is finally realised…………………………

WE ARE FINALLY BLOWING GLASS………………

Carl Nordbruch, our glassblower for the last 20 years is now blowing glass at Wilkinson’s new glasshouse in Sittingbourne
Over the last couple of months we have shared with you,the transformation from raw materials to built furnaces, glory holes and lehrs that have been installed

On 21st July,after many months of waiting, the gas was connected. It took a week for the glass to get up to the required temperature of 1140 degrees centigrade. . Carl was then able to blow our first pieces of glass with his skilful assistant Peter.

The following images show the process which is used to make a large bell shaped lantern

The image on the left above shows the glass melting in the furnace, here it is about 800C and you can see the molten glass inside. When it up to 1140C the glass and the inside of the furnace are white hot and very difficult to see.

Carl and Peter then gather a blob of the molten glass onto the blowing iron, they roll it and shape it and then dip it back in the furnace to gather more glass. After three gathers they are ready to start blowing. Now, the blob of glass weighs about 18 kilos!

BLOWING

Carl blows the molten glass blob into a ball shape. Peter helps using the rest which sits on a track to move the work into and out of the glory hole. The glory hole is 1300C inside and softens the glass again to allow it to be blown a bit bigger each time. They must constantly turn the iron so the glass keeps its shape.

When the piece is big enough to start shaping, Carl forms a hole in the end and using tongs and with many trips into the glory hole, he continually works on the piece to get it to the desired shape.

Once finished it is snapped off the end of the iron into a big tray of vermiculite granules, a sort of fireproof sawdust.

Peter then dons the fireproof coat, hood and gloves, (it is still over 400C) and carries the lantern and places it in the lehr.

The lehr keeps the glass hot until the end of the day and then cools down slowly over a couple of days to “anneal” the glass.

A challenging piece and it took Carl & Peter an hour and a half to make.

If you have any items that you would like to have blown, please contact us on repairs@wilkinson-ltd.com or call 01795 830000