Which mandrels can I use?
There are 4 standard sizes of mandrels. We create ZooziiTools up to a size XL to accommodate a 1/16th or 5/64th mandrel. Our XL size tools accommodate a 1/4" mandrel. We offer mandrel groove modification at no charge. You can take advantage of that free service by selecting the modification when ordering your tools. Let me give you an idea of what we see as pros and cons for the various size mandrels:
Pro: This is considered a thin mandrel and while they do come thinner this is typically the thinnest in standard sizing. It creates a nice small bead hole so you can easily string your finished beads on bead wire with other lampwork or non-lampwork beads.
Con: While made of stainless steel, they are still thin, making them easiest to bend of the standard options. If you work very hot and tend to keep the mandrel in the flame, rather than concentrating heat on the glass you may find these bend or weaken quicker. They require a decent level of heat control, making them more challenging for beginner beadmakers.
Pro: Still provides a bead hole that is usable for stringing on wire, or with use with wire wrapping. They do not bend as easily as the 1/16th and with typical use they last very well.
Con: I haven't found one. I love this size! If you work very hot and tend to keep the mandrel in the flame, rather than concentrating heat on the glass you may find these bend or weaken quicker, but with average heat control you should be fine!
Pro: Work horse of a mandrel. Takes a lot of working and maintains strength. It doesn't bend easily. The bead hole works well with wire work, and thin cords.
Con: The bead hole is larger and usually requires some support to stay centered on bead wire.
Pro: These are hard to bend. They create a nice large hole for threading on cord.
Con: Not appropriate for bead wire.