I want to love this tool. Sniff.
It's like meeting an attractive, charming person - striking up a conversation, and then realizing they are explaining to you in all seriousness about the aliens that have infiltrated the government expressly to harass them personally.
Maybe you can be friends - but not without a lot of adjustments.
First of all - note the handle. Nice, lightweight aluminum. Metal. M-e-t-a-l. What are some of the properties of metal? Oooo, how about - most of them conduct heat?
And boy - does this one conduct heat - more than any other tool I have ever used! This tool was too hot to hold the handle before I had finished shaping the first bead. I actually had to dunk the handle in the water pot in order to finish the first bead.
It is very securely glued into place - so no shifting or moving - or taking out and replacing.
I stopped and went and found some leather cord and wrapped the handle to make usable. This worked very well.
The graphite is lovely - beautifully polished, and it is nice to have the graduated sizes, all there and handy.
The groove for the mandrel is not a bad size - easily accommodating a 1/16 dipped and accommodating a 3/32 dipped mandrel with some care. A dipped 1/8 is too fat - you'll knock the bead release off.
And round beads are fun. Tend not to be dimply at the ends, unless you work extra hard at it.
To shape these beads, I found that what worked easiest was the shape the ends first, with the bead a little smaller than the finished side.
Pull the bead first to the left side of the cavity and roll to shape . . .
then push to the right side and roll and shape.
Then add more glass to the middle, and finish shaping.
I found the edges of the cavities a little "grabby" - but I'm not sure whether that was having the glass a little too hot or a little too much glass, or that the edges of the shapes are quite sharply defined. I'm of two minds as to whether I want to knock the sharpness off the edge of the depressions with sandpaper or not.
This isn't the first round bead shaper I've seen - and while the size and number of shapes is good, and the quality of the graphite is excellent - the whole handle thing is a swing and a miss. Maybe they spec'd stainless steel and the manufacturer messed up/cheaped out. Whatever - if you pick this up - you are going to have to modify the handle. If you have to modify it in order to use - it should be priced accordingly.