Monday, July 14, 2008

Fusion Bead Separator - and not much about Krag Mud Separator

A reader wrote: (yes - I have a reader! Woohoo!)

I follow your glass review blog obsessively, and just wondered if you have ever tried Fusion bead release or KRAG Mudd. Both are supposed to be excellent, but I, like you, use Dip 'n' Go right now and I'm hesitant to change. Thanks!

Thank you - it's nice to hear that someone checks it out - let alone reads it obsessively!

I use the Fusion bead release ALL the time at the studio where I teach - it's the bead release of choice there. Which is why I use the Dip 'n' Go at home . Fusion is a nice, inexpensive middle of the road release. It's fine for experienced bead makers - who don't abuse the bead release, and those who don't push the envelope by making big complex beads. I find that it can be hard to get the beads off - students struggle with it and frequently get "pot stickers," "plant friends," "cake testers," and other permanently welded-onto-the-mandrel objects.

I like a bead release that releases more easily, and hangs on better after an hour of working. I find the Fusion, if you touch it just a little with a marver while working, breaks up, usually flaking and sticking to the bead - and sticking the bead to the mandrel. And once it starts to go - you're screwed. (Unlike Foster Fire, which can break loose from the mandrel, but remain intact under the glass. I have worked over huge cracks in Foster Fire and still gotten the bead off. And just the other day - I made a bead on a curved mandrel dipped in Foster Fire that I swear, I must have dipped over a year ago! The bead release was sliding off the end by the time I was done - but the bead came off the mandrel just fine!)

And for beads that are worked hard, like the Smircich gravity wave and intense black webbing effect - where you really cook the bead - getting these off the mandrel with the Fusion is a b-----.

It really does need some drying time too - 20 mins or so - before hitting it with the flame.

On the plus side, it's inexpensive and comes in a huge bottle so you can really get a nice long dip - great for mandrels where you are making 10 beads at a time.

It's not a bad choice for a production studio environment, and it is fairly thin - which means it doesn't make the bead hole significantly larger.

It is tougher to get the beads off - the gal at the studio that pulls the beads has had significant issues with carpal tunnel and this may well have been a contributing factor.

I had a sample of the Krag Mudd when it first came out - a minuscule sample - and a set of instructions that seemed to indicate that it should be applied over a previous dip of another bead release - which confused the heck out of me. I think I tried it once - and the sample was so small that was about it - the jar was too short to dip. So it's fair to say that I haven't really tried it.

Really - bead release needs to be packaged in taaaaaall, skinny jars.

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