Glassworking Hand Tools

   Previously I used various tools and scraps of metal to shape hot glass. Since then I have gotten a good idea of what sorts of tools are necessary for tube-making, so I made a dedicated set, primarily of graphite. This set contains what I consider to be the three most important glass tools. From top to bottom they are: a flattening tool, a lever tool, and a masher. The flattening tool can be used to form straight edges or faces, but for me its most common function is to straighten tubing that has spun off center when worked on the lathe. The lever tool is used to form the flares for tube bases, or to correct inward gathering when flame-polishing. Finally, the masher is used to form pinch seals. The mashing blocks are made of steel, and are aligned so that they are parallel when about 1/8 inch apart (the thickness of a seal). I have yet to use the mashers to create a complete pinch seal, and one issue I anticipate is that the large steel blocks may chill the glass, causing either cracking or a poor seal. I expect to have to preheat them, although I may be pleasantly surprised if this proves to be unnecessary.