People in the various departments at Bullseye HQ have their own pockets of expertise on the subject of glass.  This is because casters look at glass differently than QA people, and they look at it differently than salespeople, and so on.  Add to that, each person in each department has his or her own unique experience with glass.

Which is what makes Working Glass, an annual contest in which Bullseye employees are invited to submit their own original kilnformed glass artworks, such an interesting competition.

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In our new video lesson, “Tabletops”, we show you how to make a thick glass tabletop.  I really like this lesson for its practicality.  I live by myself in what some might call a “bachelor pad”, and still more might describe as “underfurnished”.

Most of my furniture came from one store.  (I’ll let you guess which one and here’s your hint: everything came with “some assembly required” and a little hex wrench in a plastic pouch).

So this lesson is perfect for people like me because it teaches you how to make something personal that can fit in any size space.  In the lesson, we give you the formula for determining the amount of glass needed to make a tabletop of any dimensions you want. And that includes thickness, which I want to elaborate upon.

The thickness you choose for your tabletop will require a few considerations including how much glass to use, and how much time is needed to heat the glass to process temperature.

Most importantly, however, is how much time is needed to bring the glass back to room temperature.  The thickness of the glass will significantly affect the amount of time to safely cool the glass to room temperature.

This is because the glass must be heated and cooled uniformly, and for thicker slabs this means there is the potential for large temperature differences throughout the piece, which means greater possibility for thermal shock or other problems.

In the lesson, we create an example tabletop with a thickness of 3/4” (19 mm).  A 3/4” tabletop is not an especially thick slab, and so the annealing phase is relatively quick — only three hours — and the prescribed cooling rates through all of the cooling phases make it a relatively quick process.  All told, it will take approximately nine hours to safely cool a 3/4” glass tabletop.

But let’s say we jump the thickness up to 1 1/2”, twice the thickness of the example tabletop in the video.  One might assume the time to properly cool the piece would also double.  But actually, while the time for the anneal soak doubles, the rates for subsequent cooling phases are significantly reduced.  (e.g. The cooling rate from 900 degrees Fahrenheit to 800 for a 3/4” tabletop is 45 degrees per hour; the cooling rate from 900 degrees to 800 for a 1 1/2” tabletop is 12 degrees per hour; therefore, with a 3/4″ tabletop it should take you a little more than two hours to go from 900 to 800 degrees while for a 1 1/2″ tabletop it will take over eight hours to cover that same temperature range). In total, a 1 1/2” tabletop will actually need approximately 28 hours to safely cool.

Just for fun, what if you were making a 3” thick tabletop? Again, there would be a significant decrease in the cooling rates.  The total amount of time to cool would room temperature would be approximately 99 hours.

And, hypothetically, what if you were making a 6” thick tabletop?  The total time would be approximately 375 hours.  Yes, it’s a long time.

I’m not telling you this because I think you go and make a 6” thick tabletop.  Rather, I am telling you this because I want you to be aware that you have the freedom to make a tabletop as thick as you want — but you must be aware that different cooling rates must be considered for different thicknesses.

Here’s the good news.  We have a handy dandy chart that shows you the cooling times and rates for various thicknesses.

Take a look: the Bullseye Chart for Annealing Thick Slabs.  Keep it handy when making those tabletops!

Exclusively for subscribers: This month we feature three new videos recorded at BECON 2013: CHROMA CULTURE: read more

How to describe the works of Mel Douglas?  I would start off by saying they’re not especially showy.  If I saw one from across the room, it likely wouldn’t pull me in.  But as I moved closer to the piece as I would naturally, I would notice it and the closer I got to it the more it would pull me.  I guess you could call that “gravity”.

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Photos from last week’s workshop–

Karl Harron, of Northern Ireland, began his 2014 US workshop tour at Bullseye Glass Resource Center Bay Area. read more

The Realm of Quantifiable Truths, the debut solo exhibition of Emily Nachison, was on view at Bullseye Gallery from July 2 – August 30, 2014. Emily, who is a Portland native, dropped by to speak about some of the ideas she was exploring while working on this project, some of her inspirations, and goals of her work.

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Folks come from far and wide to take classes in Bullseye’s Research & Education studios in Portland, and this week was no exception.

A group of 10 students from Japan have been here participating in a five-day glass fusing expedition organized by Junji Miwa of Jujo, a Bullseye dealer in Nagoya, Japan. This is the sixth such group trip that Miwa has led to Portland since 2005. For several members of the group, this was a return trip. Here are a few pictures snapped throughout the week. read more

In the newest Bullseye Kiln-Glass Education Online video lesson, we showed you a fun and easy project that uses the pâte de verre method.  Day of the Dead Skulls is a great way to learn the basic principles of the method, and have a finished product to show for it.  Now let’s take a look at some more advanced applications of pâte de verre.

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Day of the Dead (Dios de los Muertos) conjures some very distinct imagery: skeletons and skulls, often with big toothy grins, adorned with bright marigolds and intense saturations of color.  Macabre but also festive.  Most of you know it, or have seen it without realizing.

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Bullseye glass celebrates its 40th anniversary at the Portland factory

Welcome to the Bullseye Boardwalk!

Bullseye had its 40th Anniversary Boardwalk Bash party at the factory in Portland, OR in August. read more