A Tale In The Desert TL:DR – Glassmaking

Welcome back for another A Tale In The Desert infostravaganza. Why, no, that wasn’t a word three minutes ago. Now it is.

I was originally intending to write a bit about the wonders of Cooking and how bloody complicated it is, but since starting that post, I’ve played with some other things in ATITD, and come across the Wikified horror that is… Glassmaking.

So, with no further ado, if you’ve been staring at the Wiki entry for Glassmaking and wondering if you need to buy some graph paper, here’s what you need to know.

Before I start – I will be referencing a LOT of things that you can look up in the Wiki. Rather than link them all – anything that’s capitalised below you can look up in the ATITD Wiki.

You’ll be making glass on a Glazier’s Bench, and your first job is, yes, to make some glass.

(This is Tale In The Desert. Pre-made glass is for the ATITD equivalent of carebears. We make our glass from sand, dammit!)

So. Glass. You’ll need Sand. Not too tricky.

You’ll also need Lime. That’s made from Limestone in a Firepit. And here we drop down one of ATITD’s rabbit holes. See, for the Firepit you’re going to need to build it, then you’re going to need to get your Carving to 1 to make Tinder, then you’re going to need 200 wood each time you want to use the Firepit (no more, no less) plus Tinder, plus some Flint to spark it, plus the Limestone you want to make into Lime. To get the Limestone, you’re going to need a Mallet and a Chisel, and to do it with any speed you’ll need a Heavy Mallet (for which you’ll need someone with Carving 3 for the handle, plus some lead and a Casting Box for the Handle) and a Lead Chisel (more Lead, plus a Forge, either Student’s or Master’s). Oh, and you’ll need to find some Limestone to dig up – ask in your region’s channel or check the Wiki.

You’ll need to check the Firepit page to get details on how much limestone makes how much lime. If you don’t want to spend time Stoking your pit (and I can’t be bothered with that) you’re looking at 13 Lime for 96 Limestone.

For the final ingredient, you need to consider what you eventually want to make. You’re either going to want Soda (which you get free with your Limestone – hurrah!) or Potash, depending on what you want to make – see the Glass Making page. (You might also want to make Jewel Glass, but that’s waaay more advanced than where I’ve gotten to).

Quick cheat – for Glass Rods, Blades and Pipes you want Soda Glass. For Sheet Glass, Glass Jars and Wine Bottles you want Normal Glass, which needs Potash.

Soda Glass? 1 Lime, 2 Soda, 10 Sand for one glass. Normal Glass? 1 Lime, 2 Potash, 10 Sand. Oh, and if you’re using a new Glazier’s Bench, you’ll need to budget for 20 more glass than you think you’ll need. Why? You’ll find out below.

(If you’re making Sheet Glass and you’ve not done it before, budget at least ANOTHER 20 glass on top of that).


I just mentioned it and moved on – that must mean it’s simple, right?


TO make Potash, you need to:

Grow either Flax or Leeks – Flax is much more efficient.

Rot the flax, then dry it. You can only dry 10 at a time on a Drying Rack, so make lots of them.

Burn the dried flax in a Firepit – see above. You need 100 Flax to make 11 Ash, which is the product.

Take the Ash and make it into Potash by boiling it in a Kettle. You only need Jugs of Water and Wood here. However, it takes about 15 mins per kettle for 5, so you need either lots of kettles or lots of time.

And now you have potash!

Actually Making The Glass

Ok, you’ve got your glass ingredients, finally. (It’s no coincidence that everyone’s trading for Potash right now). It’s time to start the glassmaking.

Now, if you look at the Wiki section on glassmaking, it looks pretty frightening. There’s maths. There’s formulae. There’s coefficients.

Don’t worry. It’s actually pretty simple. Every glazier’s bench has two numbers attatched to it – the UP number, which is the total amount it’ll heat up after you add two pieces of charcoal (it’ll do that over time) and the DOWN number, which is the amount it’ll cool down every time “tick” after it’s stopped heating up.

Your job is to get the bench to the right temperature by balancing UP and DOWN. Too hot and your work fails, too cold and… your work fails.

Let’s get going. Job #1 is to figure out your up and down numbers. Get a piece of paper, then add 2 charcoal to your bench – don’t worry that it doesn’t have anything in it yet. Watch it like a hawk. Record the highest temperature it gets to, then record the NEXT temperature it gets to after that, and the one after that.

The highest temperature is your UP temperature. The DOWN temperature, by contrast, is the difference between that and the next temperature it hit. That should be the same as the difference between that temperature and the final one – in other words, it should have cooled down in even steps of the same drop.

Right, let’s get glassmaking.

First step is to melt your glass. Make sure you have enough materials for your glass near at hand – you may need to go fetch some sand.

Add 2 charcoal and wait for the heat to rise. Now add another two. Wait for it to rise again, and add another two. That’s 3 sets of charcoal so far. Add another two every time the temperature rises for the next two rises, meaning you should have put 10 charcoal into your bench. Now wait for it to get REALLY hot.

When the temperature’s above 3200 degrees, choose “Melt Materials” from the glazier’s bench menu. Repeat if you need to go get more sand, until you have enough glass in your bench to make what you need to make, plus 20 additional glass, which apparently the bench needs for, you know, some reason.

Making Stuff With The Glass

After all that, it’s time to actually Make Some Stuff. This, after all the faffery, is actually kinda easy, graphs and charts nonwithstanding.

If you’ve already got a hot bench, wait for it to cool below 2400 degrees. (If you’re starting from cold, do what you did to heat it up for melting glass, but only use 4 lots of charcoal).

When the temperature drops below 2400, click the button to start making whatever it is you want. Now, when the temperature drops below 2300 degrees, add 2 charcoal ONCE ONLY. Watch the temperature slowly rise. Wait for it to fall again. As soon as it starts falling again, add another 2 charcoal. Repeat.

The temperature will, on average, slowly drop off. If you’re only making a few things, that won’t be a problem. Otherwise, don’t start any products after the temperature drops below 1700. As soon as that happens (and you’re not currently making anything), add 2 charcoal, wait for the temperature to rise, then add another 2 charcoal. Now wait for the temperature to fall – it should spike above 2400 degrees again, so you’ll then have to wait for it to go below 2400, and start the process again.

That’s all there is to it! Unless you’re making Sheet Glass, that is. If you’re making Sheet Glass, you need to know that, much like making flint blades, there’s a Sheet Glass skill. Most of the time at first you’ll get nothing when you make sheet glass, because your character will break it. But persevere – after about 20-30 attempts, you should start making decent amounts of sheet glass.

Do you have any other glassmaking tips?