once cut, the canes are very strong. When the weight is made, the canes are set up in a metal ferrule to the appropriate design. The ferrule keeps all the canes in place. They are then heated up with a torch to a high temperature (but not high enough to melt the canes) so that when they come into contact with the gather (ie the molten glass) they dont shatter - which they would do if a big difference in temperature. Although the gather is hot, again it is not hot enough to melt the canes. The maker brings the gather down onto the canes from above and picks them up.