How Much Does it Weigh?

By Greg Owen, Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes

This is a question I get asked all the time as the Museum of Glass Hot Shop emcee. My stock answer is “I don’t know, I haven’t weighed it.” Well, people want to know! It was time for the Hot Shop Team to figure out a solution!

In the past, the Hot Shop has used a cumbersome hanging scale on a hook. These work great for weighing your latest haul of Coho salmon, but are tricky to use on a constantly-turning blowpipe. More importantly, using a scale of this sort does not give us the weight of the glass; instead, it gives the weight at the fulcrum point. This will double the weight for every foot of distance between the glass and the fulcrum point, giving a distorted reading. We knew there had to be a better way.

Hanging scale

Last week, while working with Visiting Artist Kit Paulson, Hot Shop gaffer Gabe Feenan came up with a great idea. He figured out that if he weighed himself before he was holding the glass, and then while he held the glass, the difference would be the weight of the glass and the blowpipe.

IMG_7689

Gabe came in at 160 pounds, which is pretty light for a guy who works out as much as he does. Anyway, we then put him back on the scale holding a big wad of glass that he would be stuffing into a cup made of cane. Kit asked the Team to “go big,” so there would not be much time to wait for the hot glass to settle down. Watch the needle of the scale bounce around while Gabe stuffs the cup!

As you can see, after Gabe stopped bouncing, the scale read at 203# (203 pounds). If we subtract the weight of Gabe and the pipe, that leaves 36 pounds of moving liquid to wrangle around. You can try this at home with a wild wolverine on the end of a broom handle to approximate the feeling (on second thought, don’t try this at home).

Tune in next time to see more fun facts from the Hot Shop!

Greg Owen is the Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes at Museum of Glass. Greg can be seen working the mic as the Hot Shop studio emcee, assisting Visiting Artists, and teaching soldiers how to blow glass during Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire classes. 

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