ALMOST Indestructable Mandrels

I work mostlywith borosilicate glass (better known as Pyrex), which tends to make me a mandrel-killer. These mandrels are stainless steel TIG welding rods so are meant to handle heat…just not the kind of heat I need to make that glass MOVE where and how it’s supposed to move.

I burn through 3/32″ mandrels routinely when working on bigger/more complex beads or when trying to do two or three basics on a single rod. I can even burn through a 1/8″ mandrel without any real problem. I haven’t quite burned through a 5/32″ mandrel (the ones I use for Pandora/Troll type beads) but I’ve come unnervingly close.

Trying to make small beads with small holes for earrings and such calls for a 1/16″ mandrel. With ordinary mandrels they are an exercise in futility for me. Fifteen seconds in the flame and POOF! PLOP! There’s my molten glass on the tabletop with a mandrel bit sticking out each end, destined only for a watery grave.

Then AuraLens came out with their “Almost Indestructable Mandrels” in a variety of sizes, including that impossible 1/16″ size AND two even tinier sizes. Their website states “Imagine being able to make three or more borosilicate beads on a mandrel and not having the mandrel melt from excessive heat.”

“Suuuuure you can,” said my Inner Skeptic.

I asked Mike Aurelius if that claim was for real. He assured me it was, so I promptly ordered three dozen 1/16″ Almost Indestructible Mandrels. I don’t make tiny beads every session, so it’s taken me a while to really give them a workover.

The verdict from here? “Almost” is the operative word. I’ve destroyed several of them so far, but I’ve had to work at it harder, quite a bit harder, than with regular mandrels. If I use a little common sense and turn my flame down a bit (which I should do for the smaller beads anyway), I really can make three nicely shaped 9-10mm or so earring beads on one mandrel and not melt through it. For me, they are worth it. If you find yourself being a mandrel-killer, you may want to
check them out yourself.

5 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Destroying mandrels was the last thing on my mind when thinking about boro, but it makes perfect sense to me.I'll stick with soft glassâ?Šif I remember how to do it, that isâ?Šit's been so long!

  2. Destroying mandrels was the last thing on my mind when thinking about boro, but it makes perfect sense to me.I'll stick with soft glassâ?Šif I remember how to do it, that isâ?Šit's been so long!

  3. Destroying mandrels was the last thing on my mind when thinking about boro, but it makes perfect sense to me.I'll stick with soft glass?if I remember how to do it, that is?it's been so long!

    • Rachelle Hammond Keller on November 9, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Destroying mandrels was the last thing on my mind when thinking about boro, but it makes perfect sense to me.I'll stick with soft glass…if I remember how to do it, that is…it's been so long!

    • Rachelle Hammond Keller on November 9, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Destroying mandrels was the last thing on my mind when thinking about boro, but it makes perfect sense to me.I'll stick with soft glass…if I remember how to do it, that is…it's been so long!

Comments have been disabled.