My New Favorite Tool...And it was only $4!!!

I was perusing the ISLAGA forum the other day and there was a discussion about a bead release tool and how effective it was. The thing with taking beads off the stainless steel mandrels is that you have to use pliers or vice grip in one hand using a death grip on the mandrel right next to the bead. The other hand is trying to pull and twist the bead at the same time. If you do this motion with any regularity, it will cause issues with your hands and wrists. Sometimes those buggers (I mean beads) are impossible to get off the mandrels.Anyway, a couple women have tried a new fancy (and pricey tool) that release the beads off the mandrels for you. A couple have had mixed results with it. Somebody else posted a link to a discussion on Lampwork Etc. about a much cheaper way to do the same thing with a riveting tool. When I saw that post, I just HAD to try it. My DS happened to have band practice down the block from Harbor Freight the same day, so while he was at band, I scurried to Harbor Freight and bought a riveting tool. Now, I've never actually heard of a riveting tool in the hardware store sense of the term. I've only heard of a riveting tool when referring to coring beads with silver tubing. There were a few choices at Harbor Freight, but I bought the cheapest one. The rubber part of the handles is yellow, it has 4 different sizes of those nut thingies and a wrench. It even comes with some kind of hardware stuff that I don't have a clue what it's used for. At $4, it was worth the gamble, you know? I also picked up some nitrile O rings for cushioning between the bead and the riveting tool. I had a bunch of beads on 1/16" mandrels waiting to be released and they were the first trial for this new tool. Let me tell you, those things came off like BUTTER!!!! Now I need to make some beads on 3/32" and 1/8" and try it on those. I will report if there are any problems with it, but I don't anticipate there will be.My only concern after getting all those beads off with very little effort was how to make sure I didn't lose the wrench that came with it for changing the size of the...I don't know what it's called... I'll refer to it as a collet I guess. I referred to it as a nut thingie above, but whatever. It's a fairly simple straightforward tool (even if I never heard of it before) so you'll figure it out if you get one. Anyway, back to the wrench. I was thinking I could tie a string to it, but the shape of it is not conducive to that. So, I got out one of those neodymium magnets and stuck them together. Voila! No lost wrench!In the Lampwork Etc. post, the long part of the mandrel was stuck into the collet portion. However, I had some mandrels that are flattened on that end and stamped with 316L. I tried sticking the shorter end into the collet and even with just a very small length of mandrel, it was able to grab the steel and push the bead enough to release it. VERY COOL!



Thanks for testing and letting us in on the idea!

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