Monday, February 05, 2007

I'll twist a pen in my hands absentmindedly, turning it over and over again. My absent mind is thinking, "Don't let the gather fall off, don't let it, keep it on center, keep it on, keep it on..."

I saw an ad for GE's latest model of InSinkerator recently, and I instantly thought of mounting the thing on a piece of plywood that fits over the opening of a Rubbermaid trash can. Voila! Instant frit maker, perfect for lost wax glass casting. A woman at the dog park a while back told me how shocked and amazed she was that her disposall had sucked a small wine glass into its speedy steel jaws and ground it up like it wasn't no thang. "Oh, yeah, it'll do that," I said knowingly, knowing she really had no clue...

My bud Justin, the tree man, got the biggest kick out of what I told him he could use a chipper-shredder for (see the InSinkerator thought above). The only problem: the glass would dull the blades. The upside: a sparkling clean machine on the inside!

Lately, I began to get some bad ideas concerning the Starbucks Barista coffee grinder my husband got for Hanukkah. The ideas are bad for two reasons: 1) it's just not built to handle glass grinding, and 2) ...the following story:

The thing was hailed as the answer to all the prayers of the pate de verre glass casters in the glass department. No longer would we have to grind up chunks of glass into smaller pieces using thick mortars and pestles. And what better way to try it out than with an assignment given by an honest-to-God fusecasting master? All eighteen of us trooped downstairs to the basement room where all the raw batch glass was stored, as well as the steam cabinet for removing the wax from casting molds. We beheld this time-saving machine, which sat on a welding table, with bated breath and fierce anticipation. Fusecast Master cut through all that bull and instantly dubbed the thing "the coffee grinder" because of its appearance.

The studio technician flipped on the machine, and had to enlist a few of us to help him hold it down, as it was jumping all over the table on which it was sitting. That was when my giggling fit began. F.M. smiled a little and, placing a small bit of faith in the jumping bean machine and its human restraints, threw a chunk of kugler (solid concentrated colored glass) into the funnel at the top of the machine. Nothing happened. I giggled a little more. A teeny chunk of kugler popped back out of the funnel, and the human restraints couldn't conceal their surprise as they ducked a little for cover. My giggles turned into full-on laughter.

"Stick a piece of wood in there, something, anything to push the kugler down into it," F.M. suggested to the tech, as I laughed a little harder. The students holding down the coffee grinder and crouching on the floor at the same time braced themselves for further mayhem as the tech found a small piece of wood from a pallet that had once held batch glass and tried to delicately mash the stick into the funnel. It's tough to be delicate with a screaming, jumping machine - the thing threw a chunk of the stick back out of the funnel and towards the ceiling. I was doubled over and howling with laughter at this point. My sides were hurting so much. Initially, I had tried to stop because of all the looks I was getting from my classmates, but I abandoned all hope and just let it go when I saw that stick in the tech's hands.

There was a struggle to get the machine turned off - the switch on it was stuck, so the plug had to be pulled. Ahhh, silence - except for the sounds of me laughing and gasping for breath. The student restraints stood at their full heights once again. I managed to collect myself a little when I saw a bemused F.M. inspecting the stuff that had come out of the front of the machine: some chunks of wood and kugler, about the size of peas, sat in the cup. It could be used for something, but not for pate de verre. F.M. grinned, laughed a little, and said,

"This is one useless five thousand dollar machine."

That comment was the end of me for the rest of the day.

2 comments:

Adrastos said...

You glass people are scary. I'm surprised the Saturn Bar tolerates you guys...

Leigh C. said...

I TOLD you I've heard it all, man.

If I haven't done it, I've heard about it...