Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lampwork Mandrels, And Bead Release Problems

I wish to write a few things about the treatment of mandrels, and dipping. Recently, I made a trip to our local welding supply, because all my mandrels, had become bent.
So I purchased 3 lbs, of 316L quality mandrels, 3/32 size, only to find that the manufacturer, had stamped and printed there name on one end. This as you all know would ruin, one end of two pieces of 12 inch lengths, out of a total 36 inches per un-cut rod. Make sure you look at your rods, before you purchase. I still cut them up, and filed down the good ends, and can use them for myself. They just would not be good enough to sell though, with one bad end.
After you CUT them into either 12 inch lengths, or 9 inch lengths, they have to be prepped for the bead release to adhere. I have found that if you heat one end of each mandrel in the flame, until just lightly glowing hot, and allow to cool, that the mandrel will be ready to go.
Now a BIG TRICK, what, I recently discovered, is that the speed of your dip, makes a big difference. I am self taught, so I discover as I go. If you dip, and pull out fast, you will have a thicker coating. If you dip, and pull out slow, then allow just a few seconds,still holding the rod, upside down, it will have a nice thin coat. Try this process of a slow removal, of the mandrel, from the bead release, and waiting a few seconds, before turning upright. When you do this, you will not have a lump of release, at the top of the rod, where, it has gravitated down. I then insert my mandrel, into a container filled with sand. Hahaha, as SAND, is so easy to find for free in Florida. Got it out of the BACKYARD!! But then I live in a rural resort area, next to the water. So my backyard, has all kinds of FREE sand.
Here is a HANDY trick for removal of stubborn beads. You can easily use a pop rivet tool, to remove stubborn beads. Also, putting them into, the freezer, for awhile, will help with stubborn beads. And in Florida, with all our humidity, I have found that if you heat the rod, and remove all the moisture out of a pre-dipped mandrel, you will not have sticking problems. Sometimes, when I dip the day before, I end up with moisture in the pre-applied bead release, even if they just sit over night. This happens, to me, because, my sunroom, is not air conditioned. So I heat the complete end of the mandrel, where the release has been applied, and then let cool, ever so slightly, this way, the moisture has a chance to escape. Hope this has helped some of you with your mandrels, and bead release lampworking problems.

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