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Can someone please tell me how to get a bead to actually look like a bead???? :?:
I just had my first time at the torch and I can not for the like of me get a bead to acrually look like a bead :confused:
How do I wind the glass onto the mandrel correctly any tips puuuurleeeeaaaaas?????
do you have any books? corina's or cindy jenkins?
they have great tips and I lived with those books for months! LOL
The best way to wind glass on a mandrel is to heat the glass and mandrel. You don't want the mandrel glowing hot. When the glass is glowing, put it on the heated spot on the mandrel, and start by spinning the mandrel away from you. Keep the mandrel and bead below the flame, and the glass in the flame.
I would highly recommend picking up a beginners book if you don't have one.
Thank you for your advice :-) I do have Cindy jenkins book. I think I have sussed it now!! lol, well almost.....
Best advice I got from the person who taught me....don't work it red hot...do most of your shaping OUT of the flame.... and the bead *WANTS* to be round...which once you get the hang of it is SO true!! (and a pain if you want sharp edges on a cube! haha!) :)
Good luck...You CAN do it!
I've been teaching a few beginner's classes and I'm noticing with my students that the most important thing to "get" is where to have the glass rod and mandrel in relation to the flame. It's exactly like Lynn says: "When the glass is glowing, put it on the heated spot on the mandrel, and start by spinning the mandrel away from you. Keep the mandrel and bead below the flame, and the glass in the flame." I'd like to expand by adding some common mistakes that new students make in their bead winding, and tips to avoid them:
1 - Most of the students start by keeping their mandrel in the flame and the glass cane tip somewhere above it.. then the base bead gets mushy-hot and the rod is too cold to wind evenly. This can cause lumpiness, uneven footprints and even broken bead release. :( Moving the mandrel down a half inch makes so much difference in your control! Remember, molten glass sticks to solid glass - if your base bead is hotter than your cane, you'll just be moving the glass around and hardly adding anything.
So, my tip #1 is: "Keep the tip of the glass cane in the flame, and the mandrel just below the flame." (What Lynn said!)
2 - Another thing to remember is that the glass cane tip has to be in front of the mandrel - between the mandrel and the flame! New students often let the mandrel turn with the glass cane attached, so that glass rod gets "pulled" behind the base bead. This means that once again the base bead is getting more heat than the glass cane, which causes the same problems as mistake #1. Your glass cane tip should stay still in its happy hot spot while you're winding the mandrel! If the mandrel wants to move the cane, your glass isn't molten enough - try slowing down your winding or moving to a hotter part of the flame.
Tip #2: "Keep the tip of the glass cane IN FRONT of the mandrel."
3 - Often, new students will spin their mandrel in the wrong direction. Look at where the flame is hitting your glass cane tip. One side of it - the side facing you - is getting red hot. You want to be winding the hottest part of the glass onto the mandrel. The mandrel should be pulling the glass away from you over its top as you wind. This make the best use of the hottest, stickiest side of the glass cane and improves your control. If you were holding the mandrel in your right hand and looking at the bead end of the mandrel, you would see it moving clockwise - vice-versa (counter-clockwise)if you're spinning with your left hand.
Tip #3: "Wind the top part of the mandrel AWAY from you, so that the hottest part of the glass cane tip is being wound against the hottest part of the bead."
4. Keep the mandrel horizontal! Remember to keep it horizontal even when you take the bead out of the flame - it can still droop for the first 5 second or so. Remember to keep spinning in and out of the flame. If your bead is just warming up and isn't glowing or molten, you can spin quite slowly; then speed up as the glow gets more intense. Remember that your bead can still droop for a few seconds after you take it out of the flame - keep turning, and keep the mandrel horizontal!
Tip #4: "Keep spinning your bead and keep your mandrel horizontal."
5. You'll probably find it more comfortable to keep your elbows down close at your side rather than sticking out in the air.
(No need to summarize...)
6. New beadmakers (I personally did this for a LONG time!) often wind beads by stretching the glass cane tip and then winding on the stretched glass like spaghetti. This will work but it's really hard to stay even and to avoid flopping. A better way is to heat just the tip of the glass cane red-hot, then WIPE it directly onto the mandrel. You're spreading the small bit of very hot glass between the solid base bead and the solid glass cane - like frosting a cake. It's a series of tiny HEAT-WIPE-TURN cycles. This makes a wider coiled-belt look instead of an ultra-thin coiled rope. It takes some time to get the hang of this but it allows you to make bigger even beads faster and with more control. I learned this from watching Jim Smircich's DVD and it clicked even more when I took a class with Nicole Carson last winter. Check out the picture Jim has of a starting wind (the black bead, picture #3):
Tip #6: "Wind the glass by spreading the hot glass cane tip into a flat belt, spreading it between the solid cane and the solid base bead."
7 - You only want about half of the tip of your glass cane to touch the bead. This gives you a small, slightly-skinnier-than-the-cane area to focus your heat on. At the same time, this gives you enough space to avoid melting the base bead or the main part of the glass cane. If the whole cane gets attached, then you'll have to heat EVERYTHING to get it loose again and keep moving. (Does this make sense?) The dangers here are the same as in mistake #1 - lumps, uneven footprint, and possible broken bead release. So, in summary: you don't want to pull out a long skinny string of glass (mistake #6), but you don't want to stick the hole face of the glass cane onto your bead either. Just touch around 1/2 of your glass cane tip to the base bead, and focus your heat there. It's a balancing act! With practice, you'll get the right angle to hold your cane and your mandrel to keep the hot glass controlled right between them.
Tip #7: "Touch only 1/3 or 1/2 of your glass cane tip to the base bead and keep your heat focused there for better control."
8 - Beginners often pull or force their glass to wind or shape. This often leads to broken bead release. If you encounter ANY resistance in your glass, add some more heat. You should just be guiding the glass, not really pushing or pulling hard at all.
Tip #8 - "Add plenty of heat to the specific glass you're trying to move or shape, then guide it gently."
This is a lot to remember when you're first starting - it's like patting your head and rubbing your tummy! Luckily, if you keep practicing it will all slowly become automatic and you can explore new techniques to keep yourself challenged!
I hope it's okay that I posted all this rambling. :) It's amazing what I learned by teaching! Its gets me so excited! I think I made it sounds really hard - it's NOT that hard, it's just hard to explain! I went back and summarized all my points - I hope that helped somewhat. :)
Thanks Heather. Your comments really struck home. I have taken a few classes and already have 10 hours torch experience on my own. But I still have problem winding glass onto the mandrel especially encasing. I find that the spaghetti method work for me. But I know this is not the best way. I usually have problem in the middle of winding the glass, when I can't move my mandrel away from me. Maybe the glass rod is not warm enough. So I will concentrate of getting it hot, what happens is that the whole glass cane wind onto my base bead. This takes a alot of time for me to make it round again if that is I'm still able to save it. I read the books on how to do it, but I guess subconciously I might be pushing the glass cane onto the base bead that is why I end up with an end of the glass cane that is not warm enough. Or maybe I might have not warm enough of a blob of glass in the beginning to start to wind to mandrel. Do you know of any video tutorial online that I can watch?
Jim Smircich's 1st DVD is really excellent. He starts of with basic winding tips and moves to quite advanced techniques, but watching him is what helped me to understand the approach that I'm trying to teach now. It costs $40 US, but that's pretty reasonable when you consider how much a class with him would cost. It's worth it because you learn more from it on your 2nd, 3rd, 4th viewing etc. He has some free online picture tutorials, as well. His website's www.smircich.com .
I'm happy with the "flat wiping" approach because I feel in control of the bead size and shape, and because the approach of heating the tip of the cane and "wiping" it onto the bead in a flat swath can be applied to many different techniques - especially for thin encasing and for line-encasing longer beads! So for me it's been good to practice and understand it. I'm still learning every time I torch. :) By the way, applying clear encasing is a really tricky technique! Most people take months to get the hang of it, so it's great that you're even trying it at 10 hours. Practice, practice practice!
I also looked at the beadworx tutorial posted above me. It's a totally different approach - first making a big, hot gather, then winding it all at once! There are lots of ways to make basic beads and none are "wrong" if you get results that make you happy. The "big blob" method works well if you are confident in controlling lots of really hot, soupy glass. It's also a great technique for encasing smaller, rounder beads. Working "hot and soupy" might be more appealing for people with powerful torches, as well. I've been on a small torch but I'm upgrading and will try playing more with the "big blob" style in the future. Find the style that works best for you, or mix and match!
But I do think that Smircich's DVD is an excellent resource and that his approach will really help develop anyone's core beadmaking skills. He's really got the whole heat control thing figured out! That's the key to everything in lampworking.
A note about the "pushing": you should be pushing the cane tip against the base bead/footprint, but not pushing towards the centre of the bead - you're wiping it across the surface of the bead at an angle. This helps to keep your whole cane tip from sticking. It should feel like spreading soft, slippery frosting. Check out the pictures I've attached - hopefully they make more sense than my explanation. :)
Wow Heather, that's really fantastic. The illustrations really put things in perspective. I have read the books by Corina and Cindy and also my teachers have tell me what to do. But still it's different to see your picture and make it so blatantly clear. I will think about getting the DVD. I'm just a newbie at this and already spend alot with Corina's book and buying the hot head torch and glasses and attend all those classes. Joining this forum has made me learn more stuff with so many generous people like you willing to teach. Thanks alot Heather and keep it up =D>
One other suggestion I'll add. Stick to one color of glass till you learn about hot, glowing, soupy, etc.
I find if I'm trying to figure out how something works, or won't work, I make it in white. Then I can watch to see if I'm letting it start to cool or if it is about to drip, etc.
There's a great discussion on WC right now as well about this topic, and a link to a great tutorial on ways to fix uneven beads. Check it out!
Thanks Heather for your informative post. It has given me much to think about and consider when I start making beads tonight. Since I am OLD, and have trouble holding my arms up high, I developed a different method which is in the tutorial I wrote that I linked on the wet canvas thread you mention above. So the problem I would have using your technique is the position of the rod above the bead - means my arm has to be up in the air putting strain on my shoulder muscles. I always have to consider the ergonomics of how I do something, so I don't end up hurting myself with repetative motion actions. One thing I have noticed in the video's of the long time bead makers, which is never really discussed, is how they rotate the rod when applying glass. This is because the rod is being heated on the underside of the rod, and rotating it while applying glass causes a new colder side to be heated while applying the hot glass from the 1/3rd opposite side - this way you are applying continuous stream of hot glass rather than waiting for the rod to get hot all the way through. I saw Leah Fairbanks do this, and she did it unconciously without even realizing she did it.
I am going to try the swipe method, although I don't believe Jim really demonstrates it that way, to see if I can get more uniform round shaped disk beads.
Thanks for pointing out the problem in my drawing! I'm under 30, but I still don't really hold my arms as far back as my picture would imply - you're right, that wouldn't be comfortable for anyone! I was trying to find a way to draw it so that it was clear that the glass was being pushed onto the bead at an oblique angle and not being pushed towards the centre. The angle of the cane isn't really important as much as the direction the tip is being pushed... I'll have to watch my dvd again too, look more carefully at what I'm doing, and do the drawing again, maybe with a close-up sequence as well.
I really loved your tutorial, by the way! I agree with you that all beads will start off slightly wonky and your explanations of how to fix various problems are really clear. In the section where you describe how you wind your beads, I think the angle that you drew your glass cane is closer to how I really hold mine, except my cane tip is higher on the bead. I don't personally wind my round beads by hot-dragging, but I always wind my cylinders that way because it automatically gets rid of any grooves between winds and, as you explained, it evens out any lumps I may have added in earlier winds!
I guess it's kind of a continuum - hot dragging at one end, flat wiping in the middle, spaghetti winding at the other end... Or it's probaby more complex than that; it's also affected by the heat of the base bead, the angle of the glass cane and the position of the tip, whether you spin the cane or not, how hot your flame is... There's infinite combinations!! People will choose the one they like best for their personal Primary Winding Technique, but I think everybody can benefit from having a variety of winding techniques in their lampworking repertoire! For example, I sometimes use spaghetti-winding to make thin spiral wraps - I think this is the same as tack-spinning? ('Tacking' the tip of a gather to a spinning bead, then pulling out a thin line to wrap around a bead.)
I'm really enjoying this thread! You can tell 'cause I'm rambling. :)
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