I was thinking just now, about how much nicer it is to make big holed beads with my new BHB pegasus shaper stubby barrels
its just easier and quicker to get them on centre and that lovely shape, and the encasing nice and smooth.
I looked at a bunch of BHBs I made not long before I got the shaper, and I rejected so many more from that batch than from the newest batch out of the shaper.
obviously there are other benefits, like consistency of size, though with as many holes as this its easy to make lots of different sized beads!
I noticed that someone had searched for ‘how easy are pegasus beadshapers to use?’
well, how about a little review I thought? and while I’m at it I’ll review my CG beadroller, and compare them, and chuck in a few tips along the way!
first these are the ones I own,
~ rounds 8
~ ovals 8
~ egg combo
~ stubby barrels BHB
and from CG beads the disc roller in the wand style.
Rounds, well, this was the first one I bought and I use it all the time.
it doesn’t take that much getting used to, you just start with a cylinder slightly narrower than the cavity you want,I use my flat marver and roll the edges so they are straight, then warm and roll again so the ends spread out onto the mandrel slightly, making the nice ends, then add discs around the bead until I have about the right amount of glass, and roll.
I have found that making a smaller one, then marvering the middle section so it forms a fat roundy ended cylinder, then adding a fat twisty, and melting it in, marvering and re-rolling in the next size up, makes a bead with good holes.
on all the rollers you can also use the outside edges to straighten up the bead holes.
not one I’ve given a full test yet, but initially I was finding that I wasn’t filling the cavity, I was using only the ends of it and producing a bead that was shorter and stubbier than the actual cavity size. and I couldnt use the smallest two much at all, its such a small amount of glass, but this could be because I just don’t like to make small beads, I’ll give it another chance and let you know!
now that I’ve taken a break from it to play more with my lentil presses, I think this will be much easier for me to use, I am refining my knowledge of exactly how glass moves.
Bear in mind that although I have been beadmaking for some years now,I have not owned a beadshaper/roller until April of this year. I also have not owned a press that I could use until about May of this year.
Now I have become somewhat addicted to both types of tool, and need to curb this spending habit! (just this morning I was thinking to myself, something squarish, like a nugget press would be a great bead to design jewellery with! oh dear… )
anyway, back to the point,
The egg combo,
Another that I’ve not yet given the full test to, what I will say is that the two biggest cavities takes ALOT of glass, so hothead users who are impatient might want to stay away from this one! these lead to making a very big, heavy bead, with not as many design possibilities as I’d like, though I havn’t tried them squashed yet.
The other cavity sizes are much more managable and have lots of jewellery design possibilities,like the smallest ones for simple earrings.
I found the slimmer ones a real challenge, theres not alot of room for error in shaping the original bead, and I can get a shape thats just as nice and quicker by normal marvering or marvering with a curved marver. however, if you want consistent shapes, then its the way to go.
I found the easiest way to get the shape (which is still somewhat tricky, need more practice!) is to make the small end first, shape it up in the cavity, then add the rest of the glass to the fatter end.
I think I’ll come back to these two rollers, and review them some more in another post. I am of course determined to master them , I wont be beaten by an inanimate object!
update 7.09.11 – made these yesterday, I think I’m improving with it, but this is definitely a ‘practice, practice, practice’ shaper! particularly these slim shapes. but as I mentioned, making the slim end first, then adding glass along the length, getting a good end on the other end, then fattening it out works reasonably well.
So, my newest addition, which I am somewhat biased towards, being as I designed it myself (see here incase you missed it), the stubby Barrels BHB shaper.
I love this, I can’t tell you how much! this, along with the round shaper, now lives on my desk, it doesn’t get put away!
The first few beads I made I had some issues with bead release, it cracked off whilst making, a couple of the mandrels had been sitting around having been dipped for a while, and my current pot has been diluted a few too many times I think, but it helped to really warm the whole of the bead release up, not only the bead section, and to keep it good and warm throughout making.
once I’d got that issue under control I was away! the current design of beads I’m doing involves marvering a wig wag down onto a base bead, so the beads are very nearly the shape of the beadroller already, but it saves loads of time smoothing and rounding up, and produces a uniform shape. its also handy to use just the ends of the cavities to straighten up a bead that is narrower than the hole, and to curve them down slightly.
I’ve yet to try this shaper out with a smooth surface design,other than a couple of simple dotties which when rolled at the right temperature did not drag.
these make a fantastic shape for coring (if I do say so myself) because they are a little straight sided, and I personally think they look fab on the charm bead bracelets.
and lastly, the CG beadroller disc.
I loved the idea of the wand style, and I love this shape, but its not actually the easiest one to use until you get the hang of it, and getting the hang of it did take a bit longer than the rounds.
you need to start with a really narrow footprint, and build outwards. however, if the hole goes wrong, melting it down into a plain donut spacer means the glass isn’t wasted!
it took me even longer to work out how to use it the way its meant to be used, for making more than one bead on the same mandrel, theres a trick to that too, make one bead, shape it and finish it, then make the second. and either dont touch the first with the flame or be sure to keep it warm, whicehever is the most successful for you. I was trying to juggle them at first, make a base donut, then make a second, then go back and add a bit to the first…er no. that doesn’t work. again I find the smaller cavities hard to use, this bead relies on making a narrow footprint first to get nice holes, but you’d have to be using stringer to get a footprint this narrow…now theres a thought!
the thing about this size and shape, is that it really is only any good as a spacer bead, there really isn’t much room for decoration, maybe a few dots or bits of stringer, but you can’t get enough layers into it to encase anything, at least not right to the edges. potentially you could make something layered and stripy. but you have to think about how it will look threaded up, and you dont tend to see much of the design unless you do something cool and thread it so it is displayed end on. the good thing is though, because it is such a pretty and unusual shape, just a single colour, or a simple dotty looks pretty cool. Like these black ones, and the following coral and turquoise ones
CG rollers and Pegasus shapers comparison:
well, theres not much of one, they are both excellent quality graphite, and very well made. Personally I have a slight preference for a tool manufactured in the UK, that isn’t going to incur high postage costs, customs charges and take weeks to arrive, and I also have a slight preference for the Pegasus simple dowel handles, they are lightweight and feel good in the hand, easy to flip over and use the back as a flat marver. the CG handles look pretty cool with their flame design, but the thickness of the handle is a little too big for my little hands, but that is purely personal preference! Then of course theres shape availability, and sizes too, I chose the Pegasus rounds over the CG ones because the size range I wanted was on the Pegasus, to get the size range I wanted out of a CG roller, I would have had to buy two. though the range of different shapes available from Donna at CGbeads is vast, both her range and Bev’s range are growing all the time. I am aware this is not the fairest of comparisons, being as I have 4 of one to test and only one of the other, and of course there are other manufacturers who make similar items, but I can only test what I have, but I’m certain that ease of use is down to shape, not who made the tool, unless you particularly favour the chunky handle over the slim or vice versa.
Some words about beadrollers/shapers:
these are not a quick fix for bad bead shapes/holes. they do require learning how to use them properly, if you havn’t quite got the hang of marvering, and you’re rolling whilst too hot, you will simply drag your bead into a lumpy mess which can be tricky to re-round. and if you had a design on that bead…well now you have a smerged design.
however, it is fairly quick to learn how to use some of the shapes, round for example.
and some shapes are not possible, or at least not very easy/fast to make any other way, discs for instance
I love these tools, and they have made a real difference to my beadmaking, for instance I can now make a set of beads without wanting to scream, infact I think I might even be beginning to like it!
and on that bombshell…