Help With Glass Bead-Making.

Q: I have just begun using a small torch to make glass beads, and for some reason, they will not come off of the mandrels. I have the seperator on thick and thin, tried both. My bead-making has improved, but I have to break them to remove them from the mandrel.

A: If you haven't already, try gripping the mandrel with a pair of pliers while you twist the bead. If that doesn't work, my only suggestion is that there's something wrong with the separator; check to make sure you're getting thorough coverage on the mandrel, so you have no bare spots and that it's not breaking on the mandrel during the making of the bead. If both those things look OK, maybe you should try a different brand of separator; 'Black Fudge' works well. Does the bead loosen on the mandrel when you twist it, but then refuse to come off, or does it not loosen at all? First, try to use vice-grips for removing stuck beads from mandrels. You can get one of those rubber type jar opener grippers (flat round disk) to hold the bead and put the vice-grips around the mandrel and LOCK...now you don't have to squeeze so hard while trying to remove the bead. If it's still stuck, chances are that you somehow applied hot glass to part of the mandrel which didn't have bead release. You might not have noticed when you were applying your glass that you cracked your bead release. Watch out for this. It happens when your glass that you're applying isn't "juicy" enough to flow on, and you're physically wrapping glass around. If your hot glass touched mandrel without bead release, you have lovely plant stakes. I really hope that's not the case, but we've all done it. My plants are all adorned with mermaids on sticks! :) I have found that people using hot head torches seem to have more stuck problems than people with minor burners. I don't know why, but my students that come in and have "stuck" things, it's almost always those with hot heads. The vise grip trick usually works for them, though! The beads are not budging at all. My last batch, I had to break off the mandrels. I heated them up and then stuck them in cold water so I could use the mandrels. I will try 'Black Fudge', where can I purchase it? The supplies I have now all came from a kit purchased at glass expo, so I have no idea where the best place to get supplies from may be. Thank you for your reply, and hopefully I can salvage this group of beads.