Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy Anniversary National Park!!!
Today is the 50th Anniversary celebration of our National Park on St. John. If you have never visited the Friends of the Park web site be sure to take a look at it prior to your vacation they may have a function going on during your vacation with us. Go to!

The very creative guys at the Maho Bay Glass Studio have almost completed the 30 glass blocks for the store entrance at the pavilion. After a few trial runs of the blocks they have mastered the procedure and have been able to create them very quickly. The two glass blowers who have taken on this project are Greg Lee and Jake Barron who have both worked at Maho for quite some time. They are honored to be included in our project here at Concordia. Our vice president Maggie took a trip over to the studio to witness the block creation. Glass work utilizes a very intricate and scientific process that I'm not even sure I understand fully. I hope the pictures give you a good idea.
As mentioned before the glass blocks will be two different shades of blue and also green in the bottom level. In the picture above you can see how these blocks will look when light shines through them. The glass that is being used is made from Corona, Carib, and Heineken beers. Thanks to a love of beer in the Virgin Islands we have accumulated quite a collection of these bottles at both Maho and Concordia. The Corona and Carib will be turned blue using different metals as a coloring agent. The deep blue is created using Cobalt Oxide and the aqua is made by adding Copper Carbonate to the molten clear glass. The Heineken, of course, will make the green blocks. Below are the images of the steps of our glass block creation.
In this image you can see Jake gathering the glass from the furnace on his punty(metal rod used to collect glass). Due to the size of the blocks multiple gathers are needed to full the 8" iron mold. He spins the punty in order to get the molten glass to stick together. For the brick to be made they had to set the furnace at 200 degrees higher that usual in order to get the proper viscosity.
Once enough glass has been gathered both Jake and Greg work together to get the glob of molten glass off the punty and into the mold. They use clippers to snip the molten glass off of the punty.
The molten glass is now in the frame so they must apply extreme force to push the glass into the corners of the iron mold. This must be done quickly or the glass will become to cool to form. The guys take a moment to step back and admire their work. These blocks are the deep blue but they appear to be orange due to the extreme temperature. As they cool they begin to show the color they will be when complete.

The glass cools quickly so Greg works quick to remove the mold and place the brick on a spatula much like pizza so the brick can cool slowly for 24hrs in the Annealing oven. This oven is controlled by a computer which drops the temperature by the degree so the bricks can cool slowly. These blocks are a great way to utilize large amounts of recycled glass at one time. I would estimate that each block uses about 5 bottles. They haven't decided how they are going to design the vertical window in the bathroom area that was in the last posting but Greg and Jake are putting their creative minds to work on that one. I'm excited to see what they come up with. Be sure to check back for updates. We got concrete this morning are pouring the store walls today!!!



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