How to make a bead...
Here is my little station, nothing fancy, just a basic little set up on my screened in porch. I have a beautiful view of the city lights at night.
To make a happy bead (Bob Ross for Beads) I start with a long glass rod and slowly begin to heat the rod over the torch. If I heat it too fast the glass will explode; too slow and well it's slow and it won't melt properly. The bead size is determined by how much glass I heat into a ball on the end of the long stick of glass.
Once I have all of the glass I want I take a long stainless steel wand (mandrel) that is covered in a special bead release (so the glass will not stick to the mandrel) and preheat the mandrel so the glass will adhere to the mandrel.
I then slowly begin to wind the glass over the mandrel.
I then rotate the mandrel and use gravity and a variety of tools to shape the beads into it's desired shape.
This is a tungsten rake which is commonly used to alter designs on the surface of a bead. I am using it to add a feather look to the surface of the bead.
Here I am further shaping the bead.
This is our final bead.
Once the bead is finished shaping I place it in a bead blanket until it is cooled. I then soak the mandrels in water and remove the bead from the mandrel and thoroughly clean the bead release out of the hole. I then kiln anneal my beads to ensure lasting strength and durability.
And get started on the next one....