Saturday, November 20, 2010

More On Tools

It's easy to lust after new tools like the Peddinghaus block, but seems I should try to make use of the ones I have first right? 'Specially if I haven't used them at all yet. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that part of the thrill is in the hunt and in the collecting, but a girl can only hoard for so long and at some point she needs to buckle down and use that new (insert favorite item here: tool, glass, software package) or she's wasted her money.

The other night I enjoyed a nice little session on the torch and finally tried Jeri Warhaftig's puffy mandrels for hollows. Well, technically I guess they're Dr. Fab's mandrels, but same family.

Jeri's Puffy Mandrel

What took me so long? I got these mandrels at the Gathering in July, and they've sat near my torch since then, undipped, while I've been making hollows my old stand-by way: make two disks on a regular mandrel and then seal them together. The expanding heat trapped inside the bead inflates it just a little and you get a nice hollow bead.

Well I finally used the puffy mandrels and they worked perfectly! It was easy to go a little wild and make ginormous beads, but other than that I really liked how easy they were to use. Lightweight too, and the beads were nicely thin and symmetric. I can see that I'll be grabbing them for making shards too.

Big Hollows
One of my typical hollow beads (lower left) next to two that I just made with Jeri's puffy mandrels.
Are there steroids inside those tubes??

The other tool I finally used and really loved was my curved mashers (the tong style), another thing I picked up at the Gathering but hadn't used yet. I can't find a picture online to show you, but they're like Zoozii's Kalera shape but in a BBQ masher style, with brass ends. They turned out to be just the thing for a very large bicone focal I made - gave it just the right amount of spread and graceful tapering along the sides.

What's your favorite, perhaps newly discovered tool?


kate mckinnon said...

That mandrel is simple genius!

kate mckinnon said...

That mandrel is genius!

Narrative jewelry said...

OMG Patty, the beads are simply gorgeous !

I did mine with the ancient method like you explained in your post, but now, i need this type of mandrel.

Would you please be kind to inform me about the place you found them. As i live in France, i won't find them here of course, but may be in England, what do you think ?

If they are really "Puffy mandrel", i saw some at Tuffnell in England.

Many thanks for your answer.


Patty said...

Veronique- click the link for Dr. Fab and you'll find them there!

Narrative jewelry said...

Many thanks for your answer Patty, i found the link and how to use the mandrel on Jery's book, on Amazon.

NuminosityBeads said...

Those are impressive! You just created some tool lust for me with this post, Thank you very much!
xoxo Kim

Sharon Driscoll said...

Patty, I love those mandrels. I've used them for years and they are wonderful! You can make gigantic beads with those. Wait until you see Jeri's book this spring and see what you can do to the insides of those things...ack, it's going to blow you away.

Patty said...

Sharon, if you're talking about the irridized coating she uses on the inside of some of her beautiful hollows, yes, they are simply amazing. My next toy simply *has* to be a sand blasting chamber. Chemical etching has just become so (yawn) boring.


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