Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bead Release: Foster Fire

Foster Fire Bead Release.

It's back.

And it's good.

Foster Fire has a bit of history behind it. When it first came on the scene - quite a few years ago - I adored it. It held up to my big beads, and was the ONLY bead release that worked with those curved mandrels from Inspiration.

However, I noticed that it stopped being great - and became mediocre - and I drifted away from it - trying and liking other bead releases over the years.

Then - this came back into my hands again. "Uh," I said, "Um - I have really liked this for awhile."

Try it again, I was urged.

The story is, briefly - that the original owner and inventor - Robin Foster - sold the business - and the new proprietor tinkered with the formula.

Ms Foster has now bought her company back - can't begin to tell you how often that happens! - and is now producing it again with the original formula.

So - does it work? Oh yeah.

It does need a little drying time - about 10 - 20 mins - depending on the humidity. I find that if the bead release is dripping wet - it will pop and fly off the mandrel - so let it dry a little before using the flame to finish drying it.

Or leave over night.

It will sometimes develop small cracks in the bead release when heated - and remember - I am using a big torch (Nortel Mid-range) - but they cracks don't open up and you can actually lay down the glass over the cracks without fear of the glass sticking to the mandrel.

It does stand up to the weight of the big beads - although the intense heat does seem to make the unprotected (un-covered) bead release more subject to breaking away.

Pulling the beads, however, is a dream. These slide off like they are buttered.

And this is a huge plus as far as I am concerned. I HATE pulling beads.

So Yay! Foster Fire is back and as good as it used to be.

(Kind of nice to be able to say that about anything!)


  1. This is really nice to know, as I'm having a bead release PROBLEM with boro glass and was wondering if there was a better product. (I think the product I'm using is called "Sludge"?) Next time I need to buy some, I'll try this one... does anyone else out there have any other great advice for boro glass users?

  2. Some bead releases actually say "for boro" on them. The higher temps can be an issue for some releases.

  3. Great news indeed! I only ever got to try the original formula once through the generosity of a friend in the USA) & I loved it.

    I bought a couple of big jars of it later via Australia & 90% of it is still sitting there on my shelf. It bore no resemblance to my original jar in either consistency when dipping or performance when using.

    I do believe that the formula was tinkered with out of necessity however - as some of the materials were not available in Australia & near substitutes had to be made. Such a shame - as shipping was a lot more!