Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My first cake tester

I made my first cake tester today.  Some folks call them plant stickers but I don't do plants.  I marvered the bead release off the mandrel and then marvered the hot glass onto the bare spot and gave it an extra shot of heat to make sure the glass was really welded onto the mandrel and never coming off.  Of course this wasn't what I meant to do.  Some of the things I do are just special that way. 

OK, I tried boiling and cold water to thermal shock the glass into cracking off the mandrel.  I thought about putting the cold glass into the torch and blasting it off.  This idea had value as a potential spectacle but the idea of shards of hot glass exploding into my lap didn't appeal after the initial inspiration.  I finally decided just to crush the thing off.  Why didn't I just use it as a cake tester as I had evidently intended?  Frankly, I didn't like the way the bead turned out anyway and if I'm going to have a cake tester I want it to be a good one.  So, grasping the mandrel firmly in the jaws of a vise grip, I held it in the bottom of the sink with my polycarbonate prescription glasses on.  I have safety glasses but didn't feel like digging for them.  Using my other pair of vise grips I applied firm pressure to the bead in several places.  Nada.  If only the beads I like were as resistant to breakage.  A good firm whack on a brick placed in the sink and the bead more or less split in two and fell off the mandrel.  Just a quick swipe or two with the dremel and a good scrub with the scrubby pad and the mandrel was good as new.

What is the point of this story?  I've learned that Bead-n-Go sludge is a fantastic bead release and doesn't come off unless you do something asinine like actually scraping it with a brass marver right at hole level.  On both sides.  I've learned that if the bead release should crack right next to where the glass starts, stop.  I've learned that when you've marvered the release off the mandrel and you simply must finish shaping your bead make sure one of the steps involved in your shape isn't pushing the hot glass onto the hot mandrel right where the bare spot is.  I've also learned that if you do manage all of this and want to see the mandrel clean again, dip it in the quenching jar while the bead is still hot.

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