W is for Woozy (AtoZ 2016)

When I fired my first bead, it was the end of October and it was cold outside. I figured that I should have some kind of ventilation since I was burning off the binder and it was bound to create some fumes, but I also didn’t want to spend too much time in the cold. So, I opened the windows in my kitchen, set up my firing block near them, and held my breath when it started to smoke.

Yet I still felt a bit woozy for a few minutes afterward. The next time I fired a bead it was even colder, but I still opened the windows, and still felt a bit lightheaded after. To be honest, I can’t tell if the wooziness was real or just my overactive/worried imagination, but with it getting colder I couldn’t do much about it other than open more windows.

When the warmer weather finally rolled around, I tried my hand at firing outside. And discovered that it’s better to fire my pieces inside! You would think with the fumes and flames and burning that it would be better to do it outdoors. But, even a slight breeze can affect the flame, so it’s harder to keep the piece heated consistently. And, the brighter outdoor light can make it harder to see the red glow, making you think that the piece isn’t as hot as it is. I melted part of my bead because I couldn’t see how hot it had gotten!

So, back inside I went. But, I still needed something to pull the fumes away.

It turned out that there was a simple solution. Now I put my firing block in the middle of my kitchen stovetop. Not only is the surface meant to absorb heat to a degree, so any heat that isn’t absorbed by the firing block is safely absorbed by the stovetop, we have a built-in fan above it to pull fumes. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it earlier!

Even flame. No melting beads. No more wooziness.

Have you encountered any unexpected tips for one of your hobbies? Something that seems to go against logic, but makes sense in the end?


  1. Obvious, yes—once you think about it. But I wouldn’t have, either :D

    Thanks for the visits, and awesome comments, over at Life In Dogs, Tracy. I’ve loved connecting with you this April, and I look forward to staying in touch post-A2Z :)

    1. They say that hindsight is 20/20, right :D I’m pretty sure that there isn’t actually any risk from the burning binding, but I do feel better now that I use the vent. And, with the cooktop, I also have fewer fears that I’m going to accidentally burn down our house!

      It has been wonderful reading about your rescue tips, so I will definitely still stop by after the challenge is over :)

    1. It is perfect! Not only is it safer, but it really is more comfortable to fire the bead while standing up instead of crouched over my firing block on floor!

    1. It is funny that the torch came with directions to use in a well-ventilated area and I even found instructions on how to safely fill it so that you don’t get pockets of gas around your space. And I’m sure that the clay also had instructions on using in a well-ventilated area. But I couldn’t find any practical instructions on what exactly that meant. I wouldn’t have done it in a closet, but even giving me an approximate safe square footage would have been helpful considering it’s not a material that most people would be overly familiar with to start. Metal clay really is a hobbiest craft (although I know that some people sell their items, they still can’t be making it at a high volume, I imagine) so they really should keep the audience in mind and give a few extra hints! Perhaps most people start with a class where they get this information?

  2. Ooh your W and my V are the perfect match!

    I know a few folk start out lampworking on their cooker top… but I like to get my legs under a table so can’t imagine sticking them in the oven!!

    Glad you’ve figured it out, nice one :)

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

    1. I did think of that when I saw your V :D

      Sitting would be great, but standing isn’t so bad. But I’m really only standing for a few minutes, since I usually only torch one piece at a time. And I don’t need as steady of a hand as you would need for glass work. If I was doing glasswork I definitely would want to have a setup like yours :)

  3. Yes, I’ve learned to make sure that I’m downwind before I do any spray painting. :) I also tend to do it on the lawn since it will disappear faster that way. I once spray painted something and even though I put down newspaper I didn’t quite anticipate how far the paint mist would go. The large square outline was still on the sidewalk years later. :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *