Friday, 24 February 2012

Which size mandrel?

One of the problems I mull over is what size mandrel to use. I was lucky enough to have a Grandad that used to be a welder. He's a bit of a hoarder and had stashed away some welding rods that made perfect mandrels. I wasn't sure what size they were but I bought myself some digital calipers the other day and have discovered that they are 2mm. I also purchased some 1.6mm from Tuffnell Glass.

The 2mm are lovely to work with but obviously the hole in the beads, with the bead release is just over 2mm. This is fine unless you want to thread the beads on wire, then they don't stay centered. George on the By George it's Lush weekend introduced me to some tube from Bead Smith that you can cut off and put a piece inside your bead and that makes the hole smaller. This is great.

Alternatively I could use my 1.6mm mandrels but there is a problem. I like to make my beads using a bead roller so that they all come out the same size. The bead roller is not made for 1.6mm mandrels but 2.4mm. This makes it difficult to make successful beads as there is play in the channels.

I have come up with a simple but effective solution!

Dip your mandrel in bead release and then leave to dry. Once dry use something to remove the bead release. I use a file which will allow enough room for the largest bead on my bead roller.

Then dip your beads again. This leaves a single layer of bead release where you make the bead but makes the mandrel thicker so that it fits into the channels of the bead roller better.

I hope you find this little tutorial useful.


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