Using Glory Hole

Glory hole furnaces are a type of hot flame glass furnace used by glass blowers, glass fusing kiln workers and bead makers to manipulate and shape heated glass.

Normally used by glass blowers the use of these furnaces has now expanded to include other aspects of glassworking.

In its simplest form, a glory hole is a cylinder containing a hot fan forced flame, which is used to heat glass for manipulation and shaping. The glass is usually attached to a metal rod or glass blowing pipe held by the glass artist.

Apart from the large industrial style glory hole furnace there are some tabletop models on the market. These models consist of a cylinder lined with a refractory material and mounted on a steel stand.


Powered by either propane or natural gas they can reach a temperature of around 2200° F.

The heating system feeds both fuel and air; a blower is used to provide the airflow.

Tabletop models can be fired with a propane gas bottle or a bead working torch attached to a fuel source.


Kits are available which have a hose, regulator and the tools required for working with glass.

The pipes and rods have been scaled down so that it is easier to manipulate the glass than would be the case with larger size furnaces.

The small system can be used by glassblowers, bead makers and fusing glass artists to make ornaments, pattern bars, millefiori, paper weights, stringers, rods, canes, beads and other glass items.

One of the better known kits is the Murphy Fire Bucket available from Fusion Headquarters. In use since 1986, this system has recently been redesigned and is available as a complete package less fuel source.

Furnace Placement

Furnaces are often used alongside a glass fusing kiln, that may be heating glass or being used to anneal glass items that have been made using the glory hole.

As a very hot flame is used, it is essential that these furnaces are located away from flammable materials, fuels and structures.

Adequate working space needs to be available for handling and manipulating the hot glass. Glass is quite often rolled on various metal plates during the forming process.

Appropriate safety clothing and safety glasses must be worn when working with these furnaces.

Although a glory hole furnace is not normally used in day to day fused glass work, they do provide scope for an increased range of activities.


Fusion Headquarters have now posted on YouTube a three part series on using The Murphy Fire Bucket.

Listed underneath are the three videos.

If you require further information on glass blowing please visit where you will find tutorials,tools and books.

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