The following how-to's are taken from the Murphy Fire Bucket manual, with tips added by FusionGlassblowing.com.
Getting Started with the Murphy Fire Bucket: Safety and Lighting
!!!! WARNING !!!!
Metal shell gets hot ... DO NOT TOUCH.
1. Fire bucket should not be closer than 4’ to a flammable surface including overhead.
2. Be sure fire bucket is not standing on power cord or gas hose.
3. Place fire bucket on a nonflammable surface—it’s best to have it bolted down.
4. Tie back any long hair to avoid accident.
5. Wear cotton clothing ... long sleeves should be buttoned.
6. Wear safety glasses.
7. Remove any melted glass from the inside of the fire bucket—hot glass dissolves the insulation.
8. Make sure the insulation fits snugly around the burner head.
9. Should you drop some glass in your fire bucket, turn it off and clean the glass out before it has a chance to melt.
There are two gas valves to be concerned with: the tank valve and the bucket valve. Place both gas valves in the OFF position.
Tuck insulation tightly around burner head.
Connect hoses. Use Teflon tape for best seal. (Test for gas leaks with soapy water.)
Make sure the bucket gas valve is in the OFF position (handle should be perpendicular to the gas line.)
Plug in electric blower—you should hear it turn on.
BLOWER MUST BE ON AND WORKING BEFORE THE FIRE BUCKET GAS VALVE IS OPENED.
Light small torch.
Turn tank valve all the way ON.
Stand to the side of the Fire Bucket.
Insert flame into the Fire Bucket.
Turn gas valve to the half open position or until Fire Bucket ignites.
Stand to the side because the Fire Bucket will belch a flame.
the flame. If the fire spills out of the bucket the propane is too
HIGH. If the bucket is quiet or the flame is blown out the propane is
too LOW. If a loud roar occurs with just a little flame coming out of
the bucket, you’ve set the flame just right.
Let the bucket preheat for 4 minutes and adjust the flame again if needed.
TO TURN OFF THE FIRE BUCKET
1. Turn OFF the gas at the tank.
2. Turn OFF the gas at the bucket.
3. Leave the blower on until the inside of the bucket is cool to the touch (approximately 15 minutes).
4. Unplug the blower.
5. Disconnect the tank and store it outside.
Remove any bits of glass from the inside of the bucket and patch any
holes in the insulation with a small piece of ceramic fiber.
PUNTY AND MARVER
terms are confusing when using a fire bucket because they both have
double meanings. The terms are punty and marver. A PUNTY ROD is the
stainless steel rod that the hot glass is on. The ball of hot glass on
the end of the punty rod is called a PUNTY. So a person makes a punty of
glass on a punty rod. The steel table on which the hot glass is rolled
is called a MARVERING TABLE. The act of rolling or shaping the hot glass
on the marvering table is called MARVERING.
a person will marver a punty on a marvering table. Some times people
will leave out the words “table” or “rod” and say “hand me the punty”,
which does not mean you should drop a wad of hot glass into their hand.
They mean the punty rod. With all the confusion out of the way, let’s
move on to the easy stuff.
MAKING A PUNTY
objective is to heat a piece of sheet glass and form it into a punty on
the end of the punty rod. It is best to have a partner help you do this.
One person should operate the punty rod while the other works the
long-jaw pliers. Stay out of each other’s way by assigning the punty rod
operator to the top half and the long-jaw pliers operator to the bottom
half of the fire bucket.
1. Light the fire bucket.
2. Rest the punty rod on the punty rod stand so that the tip of the punty rod is inside the fire bucket approximately 4 to 6”.
3. Preheat the punty rod until the tip is red to dark orange in color. Avoid overheating the tip (bright orange color).
4. Preheat the long jaws for 20 seconds. Rest the tip of the long jaws just inside the mouth
of the fire bucket.
5. Place the shard of glass into the mouth of the long jaws. Do not crush the glass. BE CAREFUL— THE PLIERS ARE HOT.
6. Heat the shard at the mouth of the fire bucket until one corner starts to soften and slump.
7. Prepare to transfer the glass to the punty rod by carefully sliding the rod out of the fire bucket.
Balance the hot shard on top of the preheated punty rod. The glass
should stick slightly to the rod. If not, either or both shard and rod
are not hot enough. Once the glass is stuck, fold the glass away from
the punty rod so that most of the glass is off of the tip. Release the
glass and immediately quench the hot pliers in the bucket of water. If
the glass shatters (thermal shock) get what you can onto the punty rod
then remove any chips of glass from the inside of the fire bucket using
long jaws. If you cannot get all the chips out turn off the gas and wait
until the fire bucket cools to remove them. YOU MUST KEEP THE UNER FREE
OF GLASS. Hot glass will eat through the liner like an acid. Keep it
9. Insert the punty rod with the glass on top into the fire bucket (reheat).
Watch the glass. As it melts and folds, start rotating the punty rod at
the same speed that the glass is moving. Keep the glass centered on the
tip of the rod.
11. Marver the glass by lightly rolling the hot
glass across the steel marvering table. Marver the tip by gently
setting the tip on the marvering table.
Continue to reheat and marver until the glass is evenly heated. If you
want to add more glass to the punty do so now by repeating steps 4 thru
11. Avoid overheating the glass already on the punty rod.
get rid of a hot punty, immerse the rod and glass in a quench bucket
full of cold water. After a few minutes, tap the tip of the rod and the
cracked glass will fall off the punty.
Heating and cooling will not
harm the glass as long as its temperature is kept above its annealing
point. Glass at these temperatures is not affected by thermal shock.
is important to keep the glass temperature above its annealing point,
if the glass cools below that temperature it will start to pop off the
punty. You only have a minute or two to work the glass and get it back
into the fire bucket for reheating, or into the quench bucket if you are
done with the piece, before the glass starts popping off the rod. When
the glass loses its red color it is getting close to its annealing
temperature. It is dangerous to let the glass cool uncontained. Use the
quench bucket to cool unwanted glass.
1. Turn the punty constantly once the glass is molten. It will run off the rod if you stop.
Keep your rod level, If you tilt the rod clown the glass will run to
the end of the rod. If the rod is tilted up the glass will flow toward
3. Use the punty rod rest for support when sliding the rod in and out of the fire bucket.
Avoid letting the hot glass touch the liner. Bits of ceramic fiber will
contaminate your glass. If you do contaminate glass, use tin snips to
cut it off.
5. Do not overheat the glass. You should always be
in control of the glass. Take the glass out and marver anytime you want
to cool or shape it.
6. Use both hands while turning the punty rod.
THE MURPHY - MARVERING
is used to control heat and to position and shape the glass. It takes a
bit of practice before you develop a smooth marvering touch and are
able to “read” the heat of the glass. Do not become discouraged. A
little practice and it will come to you.
When the hot glass
comes in contact with the cold metal of the marvering table it becomes
chilled. A skin is formed on the surface of the glass and heat is both
drawn out of the glass and driven into the center. Since glass heats
from the outside in, marvering helps force the heat to the center. Even
heat is the key to getting glass to the workable point.
majority of the glass off the tip of the punty rod. If the glass works
its way toward the handle, the near edge of the marvenng table can be
used to scrape the glass back into position.
a gentle touch while Shaping the glass. Flat spots on the sides of the
glass should be avoided. The punty rod should already be spinning when
the glass comes in contact with the marvering table. Roll the glass
across the table slightly supporting the weight of the glass with your
The rotating of the rod should not stop until the glass
is lifted from the marver and then only if the glass is stiff enough to
hold its shape.
shapes are best for certain activities. The three basic shapes most
commonly used are the barrel and flat-end and pointed cones. Practice
making these shapes. In time you should be able to have the shape you
desire with just one or two passes across the marver.
A shape with a
flat end needs to have its tips marvered by setting the tip down onto
the table. Do not push the rod into the glass. Just hold the rod so that
the glass is slightly resting on the marver. Equal time needs to be
given to both the sides and the tip if even heating is to be achieved.
Watch the color of the glass to get an idea of the temperature
1. Keep the marvering table clean. Your partner should wipe it with a wet rag periodically.
Let the heat do the work for you. You should not have to force the
glass into shape. If the glass seems too stiff to maneuver it is time to
3. Use a light touch.
4. Do not stop turning the punty until the glass is stiff enough to hold its shape.
5. Keep the majority of the glass off the tip of the punty.
6. Marver your tips.
7. Keep the glass temperature above the annealing point.
8. Practice, practice, practice.
first step is to determine what type of cane you wish to pull. Canes
that have a diameter of 1/ or more (thick canes) need to be placed in a
hot kiln (10000) to be annealed. Thin canes with diameters of less than
1%” do not need to be annealed and can be placed on the floor to cool.
The floor area used for cooling needs to be clean and heat resistant. It
is a good idea to store cooling canes out of the way of foot traffic.
the end of each pull you will need to break the cane off the punty rod.
To do this you need to have close at hand a metal file (mill bastard
type) and a bucket of cold water.
1. Determine where you want to break the cane.
2. Dip the file in the water.
3. Using a sawing motion, score the glass at the breakoff point with the edge of the wet file.
4. Lightly tap the metal part of the punty rod with the file.
canes may require dipping the file in water and scoring the cane
several times before the glass is chilled sufficiently to break.
hot glass that remains on the punty rod needs to be taken care of
before it cools to the point that it starts popping apart. If you want
to keep the glass, reheat it right away. If you are done with that punty
quench it for at least 3 minutes in the bucket of cold water.
canes are made by stretching a punty of molten glass. If you are
working with a partner, one person operates the punty rod while the
other person uses a pair of needlenose pliers. Do not heat the pliers
before making a pull. The pliers operator grabs the tip of the molten
glass and holds firmly while the punty operator pulls away.
pulling remember that the hot glass will stretch easily. When starting a
pull go very slowly at first so the glass has a chance to “set up”. As
the glass cools, increase the rate of pull. You can feel when the glass
is too stiff to be stretched any further. This is when it is time to
stop the pull.
HOT TIP...The thicker the cane is at the start of the
pull, the stronger it will be, thus the harder you can pull against it
without it breaking.
When you have pulled as far as you or the glass
wants to go, keep light tension on the cane while both of you walk over
and lay the cane down on the floor. The pliers operator should release
the cane while the punty operator chills and scores the breakoff point
with a wet file. Tap off and return the punty rod to the fire bucket for
reheating or quench it in the water bucket.
STRINGER or SPAGHETTTI CANE
Spaghetti canes are long, straight canes about the size of spaghetti. Generally they are a solid color throughout.
1. Make a flat-end punty from two shards of glass measuring approximately 2” x 3”.
2. Heat the punty of glass until it starts to flop. Do not overheat to the point that it is difficult to control.
3. Have your partner grab the tip of the hot glass with a pair of needlenose pliers.
4. Pull slowly and straight.
that have a diameter of l/” or more will have to be annealed. Your kiln
will work fine as an annealer. Place a shelf in the kiln that has been
coated with kiln wash and heat the kiln to approximately 1000°. You want
to hold the kiln at a temperature that is just slightly below the point
where the glass slumps.
As each thick cane is made it should be
placed on the kiln shelf inside the kiln. At the end of your session
slowly cool your day’s production down to room temperature using an
annealing cycle appropriate for the thickest piece of glass in the kiln.
Usually a cooling rate of 1° per minute from 950° to 750° is sufficient
for canes up to 1’ in diameter. Once the temperature is down to 750°
turn off the kiln and allow it to cool on its own to room temperature.
lines are made by a process that is almost like drawing with molten
glass. The punty is overheated to the point that the glass becomes
almost uncontrollable. Hold the punty rod above and perpendicular to the
marvering table and let the hot glass fall freely onto the table while
moving the rod to “draw”.
HOT TIP ... The more glass you have on the punty rod the more easily it will flow off the punty rod.
are made in much the same way that spaghetti canes are made except that
the punty rod is quickly rotted at the same time the glass is being
pulled. It is common to mix two or more contrasting colors of glass
together in a twist. One way to do this is to make a barrel-shaped
punty, then add a strip of your second color.
swirl is made in much the same manner as a spaghetti cane. The
difference is that the glass is wrapped around a steel form like your
rod rest while it is being pulled, the resulting swirl looks like a
glass spring. Different wrapping forms are used to get different shaped
swirls. The most common shapes are squares, circles and triangles.
The most difficult thing about making swirls is getting the glass off the wrapping form.
The trick is not to pull the glass too thin and to get the glass off the form right away.
Thin glass breaks easily and cold glass contracts tightly around the steel form.
bars have designs inside. The bars are usually sliced into thin wafers
like the slices of a jelly- roll. The wafers are called pattern slices.
are many ways to make pattern bars. Al] require evenly heating a bundle
(a large punty) of glass and pulling it into a thick cane.
Some of the things to keep in mind when pulling a pattern bar are listed here:
1. Use as many reheatings as needed to ensure that the center of the glass is good and hot.
Pay special attention when marvering to keep the tip as cool as the
rest of the bundle. The tip gets hotter than the rest of the glass
because it is closest to the flame. To keep the temperature of the glass
even, the tip will require extra cooling.
3. Usually the objective is to pull a rod that has a fairly consistent diameter. This requires even heat throughout the bundle.
4. Pull the glass by holding the rod down and using the needlenose pliers to stretch the glass.
easiest pattern bar is made by mixing several differently colored
pieces of compatible glass together and forming a large multicolored
Another style of pattern bar is made from bundles. This requires some extra steps:
1. Cut 8 pieces of glass 1 x 14.
2. Stack the pieces of glass on a kiln shelf.
Heat the stack of glass to approximately 1250° or until all of the
pieces are stuck together. Be careful not to overheat to the point that
the stack deforms.
4. Once the pieces of glass are bonded, the temperature of the kiln can be lowered to around
5. Form a small flat-end punty on your punty rod. Allow it to cool to the point where most of the red-hot color is gone.
6. Flash the punty for 5 seconds by shoving it all the way into the fire bucket.
7. Pull the punty out so only the tip is being heated. Heat the tip for 15 seconds.
Go to the kiln and use the punty to pick up the bundle by its end in
much the same manner that you would use chewing gum on the end of a
stick to get a quarter out of a storm drain.
9. Using a wet rag, clean any kiln wash off the bundle.
10. Reheat the bundle in the fire-bucket and marver five or six times.
11. When you think that the glass is evenly heated throughout, pull a rod.