Tips

This is a little tutorial on how to make a simple, encased,  borosilicate frit bead.

Fig A : Put your chosen frit out on a graphite marver close to your torch.  I used  ‘Silver Strike 3′ and ‘Twilight’ in a medium-fine coarseness.

Fig B: Set a neutral flame on your torch and heat up your mandrel and your chosen base glass, in this case a medium opal green.

Fig C and D: Touch down with your hot glass on the spinning mandrel in your left hand, and make a donut.

Fig E and F: Roll the hot glass in one frit and then the other, heating between if necessary for it to stick.

Fig G: Melt the frit into the base bead, while continuing to spin the mandrel evenly.

Fig H: Keeping the base bead warm, heat up your clear rod.

Fig I and J: Encase the donut bead in clear, heating the clear very hot and making three rounds.

Fig K: Melt the clear in very well and rotate the mandrel in the heat until the glass is evenly distributed around the rod.

Fig L: Remove the mandrel from the flame and allow the bead to cool unitl there is no more red glow.  It helps to hold the bead somewhere darkish, like under the table.

Fig M: Here is the bead with no red glow.

Fig N: Striking.  Introduce the bead back into the back of the flame, and warm it up slowly until it has a dull red glow.  Let it stay dull  red until the color changes – strikes.  You can check the depth of the strike by taking the bead out of the flame and allowing it to cool.

Fig O: Put the finished and struck bead into a kiln heated to 1040 degrees F.  If the bead has any purples, pinks or blues, then program the kiln to rise quickly and hold at 1125 degrees F for 2-4 hours, then ramp down and shut off.  If you have other, or non striking colors, you may just hold the bead at 1o40 degrees F for 30 minutes, and then shut off the kiln.