Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Round Bead Shaper

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.


  1. Anonymous11:43 a.m.

    yepp, this tool ist great !!!

  2. Thanks for checking out the tool. I was wondering how it compared to Donna's (cgbeads) original bead rollers. Not too surprised that the handle would be a big issue. If you check out Donna's rollers, they have fabulous insulated rubbery handles (with flame design ... rawr) and the graphite is first quality.
    They do cost more, but I think it's totally worth it.

    1. ma'am,
      i am just a starter in making polymer clay terracotta clay.... is it nice good to use this Round Bead Shaper to make polymer clay beads... this is only use in glass beads... not any other ... or can u or any of ur friends can suggest such type of nice shapers for polymer clay to get beautiful beads... pls send a sincere reply to mail id .i am eagerly waiting for ur reply ...

      thanking you
      munny raja

  3. I"ve been obsessed with making round beads, and I can suggest a few tools that I pretty much like. One is Drew Fritts' marble mold. Infinite rims. No mandrel holes. Are you familiar with it? Also Bearfoot Arts Holy Marvers. I have been less successful figuring out how to get that one to work. If you have written reviews on either of these, I'd love to see them. Also, I recently took a class with Heather Trimlett and she is coming out with a round bead shaper soon.

  4. It's a knockoff of a much better beadroller made by someone we know and love.

  5. Or you could just pick up the original with a *great* handle here

  6. Dwyn, it looks like the reason they stick is that there is a straight part at the top (and I agree with that it's a knock-off of the cgbeads one - and apparently not a too well made one. I got your "can't replace the handle")

  7. It's too bad you can't back it off the handle..that would manage the heat travelling up it. You could try sanding the edges of the cavities lightly to take the edge off too - I've done that to my marble mold and it makes a world of difference! I got that tip from a marble artist btw; he did that before he got his infinite rim molds (which are awesome!).

  8. I'm a newbie and cgbeads version and am just getting used to it -- there's a definite learning curve. I think I need to put it aside for a while but plan to keep it!