You may not have noticed, but that simple piece of curved glass on your lampshade or your window was actually quite complicated to create. In fact, there are only a handful of glass manufacturers in the United States that are capable of producing curved glass due to the highly specialized processes involved.
Artisans who specialize in curved glass usually begin with steel pieces that form a mold as a baseline for the piece of glass that they will bend into the desired shape. Once the mold is completed, it’s preheated to the desired temperature for about an hour before the glass is put into the mold. Any great temperature disparities between the mold and the glass could cause the glass to shatter, so preheating the mold is very important.
While the mold is preheating, the flat pane of glass that will eventually be stretched and curved to the desired shape is cleaned, polished and checked for other dust particles that may not be visible to the human eye with a UV lamp. Any particles on the glass while the glass is heating could cause cracks, so it’s important to remove any stray traces. Then, to prevent the glass from adhering to the mold, it’s painted with a mixture of calcium carbonate and detergent.
At this point, the mold is preheated, and is removed from the kiln. The glass is then placed on top of it, and the whole thing is loaded back into the kiln. Once the kiln reaches the desired temperature – about 700 degrees C – the molecules in the glass begin to speed up and it begins to melt and bend, melding into the shape of the mold. The kiln is very slowly cooled down, completing the curved glass.
At Bent Glass Design, we’re experts and creating custom designed glass for architectural features and specialized industrial applications. For more information, contact us today!