The setting of a flame (a.k.a. flame chemistry) is a crucial aspect of a lampworker’s process. Different flames have varying effects on borosillicate glass.
Each zone or candle has its own characteristics such as color, sharpness, temperature, and length depending on the type of flame.
- Inner Cone – upper tip is the hottest part of the flame
- Intermediate Cone – not always present
- Outer Envelope – coolest part of the flame
- Diffusion – This is usually a starter flame. It is composed of mostly fuel and burns coolest of all flames. It is identified by its yellow-orange color and wispy appearance.
- Reducing – Once a little more oxygen (o2) is added, it becomes a reducing flame. It is produced when there is not enough o2 to cause the combustion of all the fuel. This flame has long yellow candles and an intermediate cone. It still has a bushy nature, but is more defined than a diffusion flame. A loud roar accompanies reduction.
- Neutral – Mixing equal parts o2 and fuel will create a neutral flame. Being the hottest of the flames, you will notice a sharpening of the candles. The candles are also white with a bright blue outer envelope. Most of glass working is done here.
- Oxidizing – This flame has more o2 than fuel. It is characterized with a hissing noise and even shorter cones. It can boil glass off. Therefore, it is important to keep the piece within the glass’ heat tolerance.
Flame chemistry can make all the difference between a cobalt rod being vibrant blue or dull grey. Learn more about the actual colors and setting effects here. When fuming precious metals, the flame used on gold would annihilate any silver that has not been encased. Basically, for every job, there is an appropriate flame, and Will has studied them to bring you beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces.