Tool Time: The essential marver

New week, new “issue” of Tool Time where I share with you my lampworking tools, glass colors that I can’t live without, books that I treasure and techniques that helped me to improve my lampworking skills.

Let’s talk marvers. There are so many different marvers out there, that I could write a book about it – and most probably somebody did already LOL. The most commonly used materials are graphite and brass and I use both of them, depending on the glass used and effect desired.

But the one graphite marver that I use since the beginning and that I use each day with every single bead that I make, is the Smircich-Henley Graphite Paddle. I believe I can’t work without it and when I forgot my marver earlier this year after attending a Michael Barley class (highly recommended!) at Frantz Art Glass, I was heartbroken. I had it back after 3 days, but those 3 days showed me again how much I love and need this marver.

Here’s a picture of the marver, and you can see right away that one corner is different than with your usual graphite marvers:


It is a 2″ x 4″ graphite paddle and was developed in a corporation between Jim Smircich and Vince Henley. One of the outside corners is clipped off at a 45º angle and has a cup shape with stainless steel insert. Here is a different view of this marver and you can see the cup shape and the stainless steel insert:

I hold the mandrel in my left hand, the paddle in the other hand, and I place the tip of my mandrel into the cup to steady it. This means that I can take some of the weight from my left hand, hence decreasing wrist fatigue, it’s easier to control the bead within the flame and keep the marver horizontal, which makes it easier to keep the bead on center.

Especially when I started lampworking, I found this tool helped me so much to improve my bead shape – it makes it easier to make a round bead instead of a wobbly bead! It’s also great if you’re like me, and your wrist is not strong or your hand is not quite as steady as you would like it. (LOL, to be honest, it would also help if I would drink less caffeine).

So this is my most used “basic” tool that I have always laying next to my torch on the work bench. There are many others, but the Smircich-Henley Graphite Paddle is certainly on top of my “essential tools” list.

You can buy this tool online with many of the glass tool vendors, for example here, here or here.

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One response to “Tool Time: The essential marver

  1. Hi Judith, it's great that you share your beadmaking knowledge. I think it's very helpful for all lampworking beginner. I also use this tool every day for every bead I make. Have a nice Monday afternoon, with hugs from Germany, Iris

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