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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2016-02-08, 10:13am
sjm sjm is offline
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Default Thin mandrels

I want to make beads with very small holes. I have tried using regular wire, but can't remove the beads from the mandrels even though I use the same bead release. Do the 1/16" regular mandrels work well for this or will I have the same problem? The surface of the wire seems to be coated with something that won't release well. Or is it because there is so little rigidity to the thin wire?
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  #2  
Old 2016-02-08, 11:06am
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It's just my opinion but I think your bead release is too thin.

If the glass sticks to the wire then it came into physical contact with the wire while it was molten and won't come off.
You might be able to drill the metal out but I think you would break a lot of bits on a lot of beads trying it.


Stir it well, don't use softened water from the tap when it dries out and make sure there is not any oil left from manufacturing the wire.

After that I would suggest a different bead release brand.


You could be pushing the limits of how small the hole can be with out having to make a marble and drill it out.


The methods that seed bead manufacturers use to make those teeny tiny holes don't translate well to the home workbench.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2016-02-08 at 11:10am.
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  #3  
Old 2016-02-08, 11:35am
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Elizabeth Beads Elizabeth Beads is offline
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I have heard of people making beads on piano wire.

Me, I work too hot, I burn through 1/16 mandrels and sometimes 3/32.
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  #4  
Old 2016-02-08, 11:39am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjm View Post
I want to make beads with very small holes. I have tried using regular wire, but can't remove the beads from the mandrels even though I use the same bead release. Do the 1/16" regular mandrels work well for this or will I have the same problem? The surface of the wire seems to be coated with something that won't release well. Or is it because there is so little rigidity to the thin wire?
Yes the surface needs to be cleaned before using release.
I use sos pads
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  #5  
Old 2016-02-08, 11:59am
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The 1/16ths make a pretty small hole, although not as small as some commercial beads and things like pearls. What size wire are you using?
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  #6  
Old 2016-02-08, 12:03pm
sjm sjm is offline
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Thanks for your replies. I cleaned the wire with steel wool, but didn't use any soap so that may have helped. I may have the bead release too thin, but want to keep the hole small so didn't want the release built up on the mandrel. The reason for the small hole is that I am trying to use a leaf press that has very small grooves for the mandrel to fit into. Larger mandrels will make my leaf thicker than I wanted. I will try these suggestions. Have you tried using purchased 1/16" mandrels? Do they work well?
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  #7  
Old 2016-02-08, 1:09pm
GregD GregD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjm View Post
Thanks for your replies. I cleaned the wire with steel wool, but didn't use any soap so that may have helped. I may have the bead release too thin, but want to keep the hole small so didn't want the release built up on the mandrel. The reason for the small hole is that I am trying to use a leaf press that has very small grooves for the mandrel to fit into. Larger mandrels will make my leaf thicker than I wanted. I will try these suggestions. Have you tried using purchased 1/16" mandrels? Do they work well?
Steel wool may leave an oil film. Be sure to use soap or a solvent as a last step. I purchased a pound of 1/16" SS welding rods. Cut them into thirds and got about a hundred mandrels for $8. I find they are softer than mandrels I purchased from Arrow Springs. Grab them in a bench vice really close to the bead release, twist and pull the bead off. Careful pushing. They will bend.
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  #8  
Old 2016-02-08, 1:18pm
Diane (clarus) Diane (clarus) is offline
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I have purchased .045 welding rods. They are perfect for tiny beads. They do melt easily so you have to work cool. You get a LOT of these in one pound. I flash them in a flame to burn off the crud. I use a mix of Fusion and Foster Fire for my release and rarely have trouble removing beads. They do bend easily, but the rods cut easily so I just cut off that part if I get a bend.

As Phill said, make sure your release isn't too thin.
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  #9  
Old 2016-02-08, 3:38pm
losthelm losthelm is offline
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I sell and use both the 1/16" and .045.
They do wear out faster, the .045 I use mostly without release for veil or hat pins.
I make the beads then simply cut and point the ends.

Wire can be iffy, they tend to be soft and can deform a little making removal harder.
Depending on brand/supplier they may also have surface treatments or coatings.
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  #10  
Old 2016-02-08, 5:10pm
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May I ask what kind of leaf press you are trying to use? Because 1/16 should prove sufficient for all that I have seen. Otherwise, perhaps try making off mandrel leaves with loops?
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  #11  
Old 2016-02-09, 6:31am
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Sometimes you can get stuck beads loose using a pop rivet gun.
You can stick the mandrel through something like a fat rubber band or one of those grippy pads for loosening stuck jar lids and use that as a cushion while the rivet gun slowly pulls on the mandrel to get the bead loose.

I think there is a freezer trick too where 2 hours in the ice box gets the metal to shrink as much as its going to.

But if you have solid metal to molten glass contact the odds are that the bead will break,

I remember using teeny tiny drill bits with a Dremel tool in a pan of water to slowly put a hole in some of my fused glass pendants a decade back. Lots of patience is needed though or you wind up breaking bits or the work itself.
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  #12  
Old 2016-02-09, 7:58am
sjm sjm is offline
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Lots of great tips. Thanks.
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  #13  
Old 2016-02-10, 12:16am
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How small is a small hole, and how big are the beads you want to make? What do you mean by "regular wire"?

I use the smallest mandrels Arrow Springs sells - 1/29", I think? - for my "tiny" beads, and 1/16" mandrels for pretty much everything else (up to around 6" - bigger than that and the mandrels start to bend from the weight of the glass); I always sand my mandrels (and then give them a quick swipe with the edge of my shirt or a paper towel or something) before dipping them, and I always use a fresh-from-the-pack mandrel for anything over ~4ish".

The most common causes of stuck beads, especially on thin mandrels:

- the bead release is too thin
- the bead release broke, and there's glass sticking to the mandrel
- the mandrel isn't perfectly straight

If you're using a press, be mindful of the amount of pressure you're putting on the bead; you may be breaking the bead release by pressing too hard. If your regular wire is coming off a spool, it may not be perfectly straight; same if you're reusing a thin mandrel over and over. The longer your bead is, the more problematic a bent/twisted/curved mandrel will be.

(*makes a note of the piano wire thing*)
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  #14  
Old 2016-02-10, 12:19am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedslug View Post
I remember using teeny tiny drill bits with a Dremel tool in a pan of water to slowly put a hole in some of my fused glass pendants a decade back. Lots of patience is needed though or you wind up breaking bits or the work itself.
Were you using teeny tiny diamond drill bits, or regular ones? Because if you're working wet you shouldn't be breaking glass with a diamond bit...
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  #15  
Old 2016-02-10, 8:13am
sjm sjm is offline
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Dsglass, by regular wire I do mean wire off of a spool. Getting the wire really straight is a problem so there may be some slight curve to the wire. The leaves I'm making are only about 1/2" long so I don't think that's an issue. I think my release was too thin, but I was trying to have as tight a fit in the press as possible. I do want to get my beads off of the wire, but mostly I want to know what others use and if I purchase the 1/16" mandrels will I have the same or other problems that come with the small size.
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  #16  
Old 2016-02-10, 10:32am
Robin Passovoy Robin Passovoy is offline
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Devardiglass.com sells 1.2 mm mandrels that are very nice, so long as you handle them gently. I've never had any trouble with those, and they make a very small hole.
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  #17  
Old 2016-02-11, 1:04am
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It was a decade or so since I did that drilling of fused glass but I am pretty sure it was a regular drill bit.

We might have used a diamond crusted reamer to get the scratch in the surface to get the hole started.

I remember pressing too hard as well as getting distracted ( it was an evening class at a bead store ) when I broke the bits and they were also probably the cheapest things available to boot.

These days I have seen much better quality encrusted bits whether they are diamond or carbide crumbs is anyones guess.
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  #18  
Old 2016-02-11, 10:07am
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I've used the thin mandrels and my best advice to you is to fool around with the consistency of your bead release. In my opinion, it all depends on how heavy handed you are with manipulating your glass. I tend to be too enthusiastic so I break the release a lot. Sometimes thinner release is better for me.
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  #19  
Old 2016-02-14, 10:38pm
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Sundance Art Glass sells 3/64". I find it worth the extra money to buy them with the ends already ground. i make most of my small spacers and earring pairs on this size along with anything I plan to mount on a post. Just use a light touch when shaping the glass with any tool.
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