Using wood for building furniture is all well and good but wood has industrial uses as well. Until recent times, much machinery was made from wood. Gears, pulleys, line shafts were all made from wood. Were you aware that wood was used for glass blowing?

Wandering through an antiques mall in Cincinnati last week, I found the following:

Wood mold for blowing glass.

Wooded mold for blowing glass.

I have been looking for a wooden mold for some time but never found one at a reasonable price. At least not my definition of reasonable.

Wooden molds have been used for glassblowing since the beginning and are still in use today. For limited production run items, wooden molds are much cheaper and easier to make than metal or graphite molds. Molds are good for a few hundred uses before they burn up.

Molds are cut from fruitwood logs, typically black cherry. The mold is cut from green wood and kept wet, as in submerged in a bucket. This keeps the wood from drying out and catching fire. Fire bad.

This view shows the log and where the strap hinges were attached.

This view shows the log and where the strap hinges were attached.

The wood does char and will eventually enlarge the cavity.

IMG_0507This looks to be a Victorian lamp font. But I could be wrong.

This top view show that this wood has dried out and done what drying logs do, shrunk.

A shrunken log. Note the vent holes.

A shrunken log. Note the vent holes allowing steam to exit the mold. Molten glass and wet wood makes steam.

A little know fact about me is that I have one of the largest collections of mid-century, South Jersey blown glass in our neighborhood. And there are 18 houses here. I don’t think I am a collector as much as an accumulator. As a part of this collection (or accumulation), I have several iron molds.

Iron molds cost more to more and weigh much, much more.

Iron molds cost more to make and weigh much, much more. They don’t dry out, however.

In his Lost Art Press blog earlier today, Christopher Schwarz made some interesting claims about my past. I ask you, how could my father have served as a boy in World War II when it is well documented in Campaigning for the Truth that Chris and I met in Manila in 1946 at the end of WWII? It’s on the internet. it must be true.