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The rod rack (or rod rest, whatever you want to call it), is kind of a copy of the Italian rod rack made by Carlo Dona, which is great, but unfortunately too expensive for most beadmakers who can't go to Italy and wiggle out some discount...I bought one many years ago and paid over $ 250. One thing we kept in mind when designing this particular rack is the "shippability". When disassembled it fits perfectly into a small Priority Mail box, which is the cheapest way to ship, both domestically and internationally....
But now to the details: you might wonder if you need a rod rack, and if so, what for. The easy answer is: no, you probably won't need it - BUT, I can say from more than my own experience that once you HAVE it, you will wonder how you could have ever lived without it.
The rod rack has basically two functions: it holds rods on your work bench, which is great when you have a mega-cluttered table top like me, but it's just a nice (if expensive) way to organize your rods while you're working with them.
There are 4 "slots" in the rack - but that doesn't mean that it only holds 4 rods, actually, each slot accomodates 6-7 average size rods....if you like it cluttered, like me.
The rack has a cool little function: the devider on the far left actually slides out, you can either use it all the way extended, or you can push it in, to support really short pieces of precious glass: (the extension can also installed on the right of the rack, if you have extra long rods...)
This is pretty much all you need to know for the "rod-holding" function - the more interesting function - the one most people will probably never use - is the way that the rack is being used in Italy, where this is an indispensable tool for every lampworker. It is mostly used as a ROD WARMER.
The following picture kind of illustrates the idea:
The idea is to align the rack with the flame - and place the glass rods so that they are just in the flame, or the edge of the flame. The lower the rod is placed on the rack, the more heat it gets and the higher you place it, the cooler it stays, of course. Keeping rods warm like this is not all that important for most of us, because we work with small diameter rods, but in the Italian tradition of lampworking the artists use really fat rods, and they save a lot of time and money by using the rack.
There are also certain techniques in Italian lampworking that can't be done without the rack - those of you who were in Murano with me last November know exactly what I'm talking about. Making Murano-style rings is just one example... which also requires the Ring Tree listed below... yet another not available tool to hold the ring, and a quick trip to Murano to learn how to make it...
Just to finish a complete description of the rod rack: it can be adjusted up and down, and the angle of the holding part can be changed from steep to flat, all of which is illustrated in the following pictures:
rack in the lowest position
rack on the highest position
top of the rack adjusted flat
The rod rack requires a small amount of assembly - but all the necessary wrenches are included with your package! One more note about shipping the rod rack - it is designed to fit into a small Priority Mail Box - which is relatively reasonable, as far as shipping charges goes. It you add ONE more item to your order, we will have to ship in a medium box, which is way more expensive..... so we would ship in two small boxes, which costs less than one medium box... so, if you only have one more item you want to order, you might as well order 3 more for the same cost of shipping - or wait to order that one additional item at a later point. Hope this all makes sense....
If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me, as always!
The Ring Tree is another tool that was inspired by my last trip to Murano, but it's not a copy of a Carlo Dona design, it's an ORIGINAL design that Tool-Tony and I cooked up together. The basic idea is to use it to make Murano-style off-mandrel rings - which is great, when you a) know how to do it and b) have a bunch of other necessary tools. Darn, I should be selling this in Murano! So, you might get the impression that I am selling a tool that only a few people can actually use - and you are darn right about that. But the reason I AM offering the Ring Tree for sale is that it can be super useful for other ways of making rings - like wire work or PMC. And a lot of beadmakers DO these other things as well, so I help this awesome tool will find the way into your heart somehow...
What you get is a very solidly mounted ring-mandrel that starts at size 5 and goes up to size 9, each size has a working area of 1 inch. The mandrel part is made of brass, so it should NOT be used to hammer silver, as it would damage the brass.
One of these days I might figure out how to make those Murano-style rings without the special holding tool....but not today, sorry.