Jim Moore Glass Tools
Frequently Asked Questions
I remember my first parchoffi and I even remember making it. I had lots of ideas for it but I quickly ran into trouble. The first thing I did was burn some bad notches in the sticks while trying to make some bowls. I think that I did not soak the sticks in water long enough because they burned so easily but they were still really stuck in the parchoffi. So I set it off in a corner to dry out. A few days later the sticks fell right out and I put the sticks back in water and my new parchoffi back with my tools. Once the sticks quit floating I took them out of the water and carved them down until I could just push them into the parchoffi handle. So the next time I used them I rotated the sticks and moved the notches so they were out of the way. There are real benefits to setting up your parchoffis this way, the handle will never rust and the sticks can be replaced any time.
The next problem was the marks that the parchoffi left inside of the bowls I was making. I was using translucent colors at the time and I could see the groves that were left where the sticks had been. So someone told me to wrap some newspaper around the sticks and get it wet. The newspaper can be held on the sticks with a twist tie or wire where the parchoffi meets the wood. Not so wet that it would drip because that could check the glass. With the paper on the sticks there were no marks and all I had to do was keep it wet. If you use paper the type of wood in the sticks does not matter since it is not in contact with the glass. This is more work but I think aesthetically well worth the trouble.
Some time later I picked up a job at a glass studio where they made glass lamp shades. Each one had to fit into a brass cap and was held in place by three set screws. The tricky part is sizing the top of the shade too big or too small it is a second. Parchoffis were the answer to the problem. Instead of sticks there were two flat blades with a hole cut in them that as the proper size for the shade to fit into the cap. Once the shade was formed the last thing to do was to size it with the parchoffi, then it was puntied up and opened.
One other interesting I have seen done with a parchoffi is rolling on bubbles to make a grawl blank. The parchoffi was outfitted with paddles that were about three inches across and six inches long. Once the bubble to be rolled on was stuck to the bubble on the pipe it was opened just enough to get the parchoffi inside. The parchoffi was inserted into the bubble and the pipe was turned. With pressure on the parchoffi the wood blades rolled the bubble on with little problem until the bubble was about a third of the way on. The job was finished with a parchoffi with round sticks. This was a two person job but it sure made the process look easy.
And finally a quick word about graphite. Graphite is great stuff - it will not leave scum but it will draw a lot of heat from your glass. The common problem with graphite is it will chill the surface of the glass and cause surface checking. The most common place for this to happen is where the glass is thin like on the lip of a vessel or on a corner of a cast foot. Graphite is brittle and soft so you will be lucky if you can drop it more than once.