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Lorraine Chandler 2007-08-11 8:51am

Poll on bead presses and shapeing tools
There are so many shapeing tools and bead presses out there that I thought it would be interesting to see just what kind of impact they are having on lampworkers?, and which ones are most highly favored.

Consistently means not gathering dust because you use it frequently.

What are your three most favored and used presses or shapeing tools and tell us why. Is it just you like the shape itself, it fits into your jewelry creations better size wise, the tool itself is fast and easy to use, seems to sell better, etc....

Please tell us which ones you bought and then didn't like and why.

Lastly how many of you feel you have turned into a "glass TOOL junkie"?

I always thought I would never have much to do with frit....YEA, RIIGGHHTTT!

I'am thinking I WOULD be a tool junkie but I can't afford to be, right now. But I'am working on it.

ElaineRusk 2007-08-11 9:26am

love, love, love, new tools
My favorite is Catt's sleek pillow. I bought the rippled pillow and ruffler at the Gathering and having loads of fun with both of them.

AlivELampworK 2007-08-11 9:28am

i use the crunch and i have overages of presses. but the crunch i use by far the most and have no problem selling beads made with it. in fact, just from experience selling, people really like that shape too.

Hayley 2007-08-11 9:33am

I use the Zoozii's 1" Tile Large the most - I don't fill it up but use it more as a "masher."

stefanie 2007-08-11 9:47am

My 3 favorites are the Squeeze and Zoozii's straight sided lentil trio and her nugget trio. I use them every couple of set but I mostly make small round bead sets.
Stef :-)

Lorraine Chandler 2007-08-11 11:27am

This is very interesting. Thanks for all of the replies so far.:smile:

I am always impressed at the resourcefulness of lampworkers to invent ideas for implementation of items to use as glass tools. =D>

They always seem to come up with ideas to use tools for much more than that which they were intended to be used for.

Such a creative bunch of people we are!!:wink:

beadysam 2007-08-11 11:39am

If it goes wrong it gets made into an organic and gets crunched!

debkauz 2007-08-11 12:08pm

Well I couldn't vote because I have 10-15 and I almost NEVER use them.

Three Muses Glass 2007-08-11 12:30pm

My favorites are Zoozii's Crystal and Catt's Deeper Crunch and Wide Crunch. I love the crystal shape! And the Crunches are more than just a crunch. One of them has a reversible bottom and the tops of either of them make great marvers for olive shapes that you can leave be or crunch. I also like the Button quite a bit but you said 3.

Shapes I've bought but don't jibe with the way I work would be anything with corners. Tiles, Kaleras, etc. I do better mashing them and then shaping.

NLC Beads 2007-08-11 12:32pm

Crunch press, love it.... I use the spiral second most.

Lorraine Chandler 2007-08-11 12:35pm

Hey Deb,

Sorry you couldn't vote. I would be more than happy to give those poor darlin unused bead presses a good home:-\" :wink:

Magicfire 2007-08-11 12:48pm

I have lots of presses, but seem to use the straight-sided lentils the most. However, I am getting rather tired of that shape and have recently rediscovered a love of lentils!

Also, my new favorite tool is the quad bicone roller by Cattwalk. I absolutely LOVE rolling those fat bicones!! It is so easy to use! I haven't had that much luck with rollers in the past, but I'm in love with this one!

I made these beads a couple of days ago, just playing around. I think I'm going to remake them for ebay with better dots. Some of them were too big and got distorted (the dots, that is!). But I'm crazy about the colors and the shape!

And no, I know that you don't need a roller to make bicones. I am perfectly capable of making bicones without a tool, but rollers make it so easy and quick, it's a lot more fun. I get more beads made, quicker, and they are more consistent in size. Just thought I'd mention my opinion on that, since I have heard disparaging comments on using presses or rollers in the past. It is just my opinion, of course! :) I'm all for using a tool that makes me more efficient and is fun to boot!


EstherD 2007-08-11 1:28pm

I have more tools than hours spent at my torch.

Otter's Flame 2007-08-11 1:37pm

I only own one shaping tool these days, a marble mold and I use it frequently. For me personally presses etc just didn't work out. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE OFFENSE........I looked at my beads one day and decided they all looked the they came out of a press....and to me they were boring. I like other people's pressed beads, I have nothing against presses or pressed beads...but I decided that I did not put enough creativity into my beads if I pressed I broke from the direction I was headed and decided not to use presses etc. I kept my marble mold and it is an invaluable tool for me.


Magicfire 2007-08-11 1:57pm

I certainly respect your opinion! I would never tell an artist how to practice their art.

I do make a lot of beads that are not pressed too. You can check out the food bead exchange for a good example! :D

I also like to manipulate the bead after it has been pressed. Like using the smallest straight-sided lentil to make the hamburger pattie part of a hamburger bead. LOL


LyndaJ 2007-08-11 2:38pm

#1 cattwalk crunch
#2 lentil (love the shape, but it's hard for me to get it consistent, especially with clear glass because it breaks the release in the center.)
#3 jim moore lentil - forgiving in the amount of glass to get a good shape on a large lentil.

I use the others some, and just got a crystal that I need to try out. I love the look of the shape, but I'm not sure how comfy the finished beads are in bracelets. Like Patti said, a lot of the pressed beads are a starting point for something sculptural - straight sided lentil for dog and cat heads frequently

Lorraine Chandler 2007-08-11 3:16pm

Otter, I totally understand your thinking about bead presses. Anyyone can start with a mass produced pressed bead mold but the fun in those is how they individualize it. Glass color, textures, and as Patti said manipulation..etc.

I also love and understand a preference for shaping tools, much more freedom in the making of the base bead.

I really do not think I could have enough of them at this point in my glass bead making life. :waving:

Holly 2007-08-11 7:49pm

I have a graphite Osibin Lentil Shaper, a small graphite shaper that's cylindrical with one side cut off, and I just got another graphite Osibin shaper.
Except for the new (unused) one, I use them all the time, usually in ways they weren't really designed to be used :) I like them a lot!

caspertorch 2007-08-11 7:58pm

I use the spre trio alot - though Ionly use a duo of the trio -- the tiny one is too tiny...
I also just got (from villa design) a 1 inch nugget and a 1 inch Tab which ILOVE!
And the one I wish I used more and will as soon as I get a bigger torch is a 2.5 inch spree.

I have 6 hole marble mold on the way and can't wait to get it == though still MOST of what I do does not encompass a press.

Ruth Nichols 2007-08-11 9:13pm

If I had to pick a tool (other then my own of course) it would be Cattwalks!

Otter's Flame 2007-08-12 2:34am

Exactly...that is the fun and creative aspect of it....all the work you do after you create the base problem was that for some reason I could not get myself thinking far enough outside of the box to make anything creative once I pressed the beads. Everything took on a very boring similarity that I really didn't like. That is why I wasn't knocking people who use presses. There are some amazingly creative people out there who start with a pressed bead and can do wonders with them.....I am not one of those people :)

sarsigirl 2007-08-12 6:10am

I love the Zoozii presses and the small brass stump shaper I got from Arrow Springs. I only bought the stumo shaper because it was the only one they had but now I think I got the right one the first time.

The Zoozii presses straight side lentil is my complete fav. It's got the best shape and feels good even just holding it. I also like the kalera and the nugget shapes.

Bead release - I have been using a sample of the new FosterFire Smooth & Tuff and I love it!! Even if I am klutzy and break off the release I can keep working on the bead, anneal and it and it still comes right off the mandrel with no problem.

Just Nancy 2007-08-12 10:00am

None of those match me. I own two. One press and one 10 way (or some number) marver. I'm not even sure the special marver is out on my bench and I use the press on occasion.

I keep thinking if I get a mini Kalera long and lean or something similar to the squeeze (but without a base) that I'll use it more. But with my track record of how little I use my lentil I am cautious about spending the money.

Lorraine Chandler 2007-08-12 12:35pm

I hear ya Nancy..I really like my tongs the best.

I have the mini lentil and the lentil spiral and they are so easy and quick to use. I wish all of the bead presses came in a tong....I would be buying them all.\\:D/


AnnDK 2007-08-13 12:22am

Ooooh the satisfaction of taking a bead, that didn't turn out the way I wanted it too, and press it in my newly won brand-new-used mini lentil press!!!
(I have used it every time I've torched since I got it last week! - Thank you Wendyki!)

Oh! I also use my graphite padle and my heart-shapen mandrel a lot!

:D Ann

Sheltie19 2007-08-13 5:34am

I have Tradesbears press.. and I use the oblong tab alot.... and I have her bicone shaper and have used that several times.. and love them both.. I also have another tool of hers.. shaper I guess you would call it.. and it comes in very handy... fixing up some stuff on a bead... and it doesn't stick to the glass...
I also have a zoozies knob press.. have the used the heck out of that... but I am finally finished my knobs for my kitchen.. so I can see I wouldn't be using it a whole lot now...
But I am thinking for my sister's birthday.. I might make her knobs for her kitchen.. so it might be getting some hard use again.. LOL

Glass Gardens 2007-08-13 5:52am

Greetings all and please don't take offense to what I am about to say. I LOVE TOOLS!!!!
But one thing I have kept myself from investing in are the presses. I feel it is more important as an artist to get better at what I do. I also notice that I scroll more quickly past the pressed beads than the hand shaped ones in the show n tells.

So I have been spending the $$$ on glass instead.
Have a great day everyone

ElaineRusk 2007-08-13 4:28pm

I think I just figured out how to post a picture! This is my favorite right now!

jaci 2007-08-14 1:06am


Originally Posted by debkauz (Post 1323174)
Well I couldn't vote because I have 10-15 and I almost NEVER use them.

well you can send them to me for storage... i won't even charge like they do for furs and such!!!! :wave: :grin::grin::grin:

sue i'll have to let you borrow a press! they are really fun!! hey... how come i haven't seen you in show n tell!!!
Coach purses

rainygrrl 2007-08-14 8:43am

Elaine, that bead is gorgeous! What press did you use?

Moth 2007-08-14 9:01am

Ummm. I own zero.

Currently, I have two a friend loaned me but I'll only keep them a week or so and send them back.


Lorraine Chandler 2007-08-21 10:17am

It is interesting that the poll shows between 1-10 presses and shaping tools are the average.

I really want to buy a multi shaping brass tool and learn how to use everygroove and ridge on it. That could really increase my variety of bead shapes without the high cost.
I do not recall anyone mentioning the sharp razor blade tools as a favorite??? Does anyone use a razor tool all of the time?

Thank-you to everyone who has responded to this poll. Have a terrific week.

jaci 2007-08-21 1:57pm

i use my razor blade ALL the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Karen Leonardo 2007-08-21 6:35pm

Okay a shameless plug on my Leonardo petal pullers...I would show a new pic but on the wrong computer..... but I love Catt's tools. I was testing them for awhile Bob (husband) only uses presses. WE have about 20...Just a couple Zoozii's though.


Reenie 2007-08-21 8:39pm

I use all the presses I have pretty consistantly. The one's that I didn't use, I sold or traded.
I probably use the lentil, nugget and kalera the most though.
I do like the barrel press I got a few months ago.
My favorite shaping tool would have to be the small brass thing. And then there's another little brass thing that I love. I can't believe I can't remember the names

extexnick 2007-08-21 10:06pm

Sometimes i'm asked to make bead sets for some local stingers (they don't do lampwork - just buy it) and it's surprising how many of them prefer stamped or molded beads because they are more uniform. but if I'm making beads for one of my or my wife's projects I don't mold them, the people that buy our necklaces and bracellets like those slight imperfections.

Plus sometimes we sell the "seconds" as lots on Ebay and pick up some pretty good change if you have a lot of 100 or more, and who doesn't have 100 "bad" beads left over from projects.

Char! 2007-08-25 7:09am

Shape, Shape and Shape!
Maybe I am preaching to the choir, however...There are many new bead makers out there using presses as a short cut to make beads. It's my belief and one that I teach in my classes, the three most common words you will hear me say is, "Shape, Shape, Shape!" A lampworker must be able to create all the shapes by hand using only gravity and a marver.

I recommend that a new student that is going to set up a work space to purchase a pound of ivory and a pound of clear and do nothing but shape and encase. NO Designs!! just SHAPE!!

I am old school in that I come from a jewelry fabrication background. When I apprentised it was two years before I used a torch!

If you are going to be serious about making beads, shaping is everything! It teaches you heat control. Where to be in the flame. And the different types of torch settings ie: high oxidizing vs. low oxidizing.


glassactcc 2007-08-26 6:58am

I'm with Holly. I use the Osibin shaper ALL THE TIME. I think I pick that set of shapers up for every bead I make unless it's round. I also couldn't live without Sharon Peters razor blade tool. Presses are not for me. I have them but I find them boring to make beads with. They limit me too much.

There is no poll for me. I own a whole bunch of presses and never use them. I guess I should be selling them at the garage sale.

killerbeedz1 2007-08-26 7:20pm

My favorite presses are the Kalera Nugget, (presses beautifully), and the Cattwalk Button press (also presses beautifully). I chose on the poll that I have the most presses and I use them a lot because I'm anal about beads all being the same size.

Just Nancy 2007-08-26 7:31pm

My thinking on the presses has nothing to do with sameness or lofty goals like learning all I can from the glass. I just get more satisfaction from doing it my way. ~And I'm cheap and want to find a shape I will use for lots of things. :lol:

villa design 2007-08-28 3:04pm

I've actually down-graded the amount of presses I own. I went from 9 presses down to 5. The nugget, crystal and two different lentil sizes. And a 'secret' press. No one has it. LOL...

I've gone back to shaping a lot of my beads with a good ole graphite marver.

scoutycat 2007-08-30 11:40am

I answered 21+, some consistently before I read through the thread; now I wonder if I should've answered differently since I don't use any presses at all, and just 2 molds - a multi- marble mould, and an open end marble mould. both the moulds I use for shaping more than moulding since I prefer more unique organic shapes. I also use my patti-whackers, stump shaper, kitchen spoon, a couple different styles of tweezers, a razor, a heat sink, and metal spatulas.

JetAge Studio 2007-09-05 8:26pm

Dumb question, but who uses the BBQ mashers? ..... no one mentions using those....maybe I missed something. :doubt: They still "squish", right?
So, anyone use them? I still think I kinda like them, as I remember when I first learned how to make a bead, several years ago. But I don't own a pair myself now, but I might buy one of my own someday....advantages/disadvantages compared the newer presses? (you might say I've been under a rock for a while :) as far as "presses" go) See, I told you it was a dumb question! :p


scoutycat 2007-09-06 11:24am

jetage- I don't use my bbq mashers because I find it as easy to use a paddle to squish my bigger beads. I do use my tweezer mashers, tho. I think the presses are in a different league, tho, they're designed to provide a very specific shape while the mashers are more of a general tool to help with shaping, kwim?

RyanTheNumberImp 2007-09-06 9:18pm

The only press I use much is my lentil. I would use a puffy pillow if I had one, but its not a huge priority for me.

As for shaping tools, my new favorite is the Japanese kote thing, it meshes with me a lot better than a graphite paddle. I also use bbq mashers tonnes when I am doing murrini or cane. They are good for shaping a lot of glass into a cylinder.

Finally, I have tonnes of rakes, tweezers and a set of petal pushers. I don't know if those count though.

Lorraine Chandler 2007-09-08 11:18pm

Hi Char...I understand where you are coming from but with a lot of our lampworkers they make beads for sale and sell a lot and love using the molds/presses and have no desire to learn how to do "all the shapes" by hand. Although a lot of them can.

So when you stated that a "lampworker must be able to create all the shapes by hand using only gravity and a marver" I couldn't disagree more.
The basics are good enough for most beginners and not so difficult that they lose interest or think it is all BEYOND their capabilities.

A lot of us are "serious" about making beads and have never learned the way you are suggesting. If I had to learn the way you are suggesting all of the fun would have been removed for me.

I personally will never do all of the shapes by hand and truly enjoy bead presses and tools. I do not consider them a "short cut". Just like I do not consider my electric sewing machine to be a short cut.. or my electric hair rollers or my microwave to be shortcuts.

If I need to learn how to make a certain shape without a bead press I have that option, but I am so very thankful to the inventors and makers of our favorite bead presses and tools because I LUV LUV LUV THEM. and the ease of use and the ease of creation with them and the extra time they give me to play with glass.

I guess lampworking has moved forward into the 21st century.\\:D/

Dia-T 2007-09-13 9:39am

I have 4 presses, I like the zoozie hex the best, I want one of the sprees though.
I use the razor blade tool ALOT( I have 4 of them so one is always with in reach)
My bbq mashers are also always with in reach. Bad beads become squish fish!
I would love to get one of Jeff's new mashers cause my hands are having more problems squeesing the bbq style ones lately.
And lately the graphite bicone shaper has gotten alot of use.


Rachel 2007-09-13 10:07am

I admit that I am addicted to presses. I did lampworking for 3 years before I got into presses but I love using them. I have many favorites but I think I use my chunky lentil from Cattwalk the most as far as presses. My favorite shaping tool would have to be a marver Catt made for me. It is a straight piece of brass about 2 inches wide and 2.5 inches long approximately and has a handle. It is thin enough that it isn't heavy at all. It gives me two long flat brass pieces for shaping and getting colors from raku and other silver glass. On the sides: one side is really sharp and comes to a v-cut, one side is very sharp but is cut on a slant and the top is the same way but the slant isn't as deep. I need to take a picture of it. I love this tool. I use it for almost every bead. It is sharp enough to make all of the grooves I need for my vines, murrini and twisties. I use one side of it for making the crease on my hearts and raised flowers. I use the straight part of the marver for rolling, applying foil, shaping bicones etc. It is long enough that I can get a nice roll if I am making a long barrel. For me, it is the perfect shaping tool. It essentially replaced my razor, stump shaper and graphite marver. I just love it. I will take a picture when I get home from work and hopefully Catt won't get me because it is a prototype...

I agree that learning the basic shapes before moving on to presses is a good thing. But, I believe presses are fun and it might help a frustrated beginner take a break from beads that are disappointing. I used to get very very frustrated as a beginner when I couldn't get the perfect hole and presses might have helped me to just take a break from that and make something that was nicely shaped. Of course, presses take practice too and can be frustrating as well. I believe it is crucial to learn to shape the glass with a marver as well. This teaches you how the glass moves and heat control but I think the basic shapes are enough to get a beginner started. Presses are a big part of my lampworking so I would get really bored if I only had a marver.

Of course, this is all just my opinion.

Rachel 2007-09-14 11:43pm

Here's some pictures of that brass marver Catt makes that I like so much. I really love it because it can do so many things. She's working on a few more for me. I can't work withouth my tool. I need a name for it I guess.

ChaseDesigns 2007-11-06 9:15am

There wasn't an option for me. I own close to 20 tools I believe. I haven't counted lately. I use about three of them regularly. But I just can't give up the others. I do use them, just not regularly.

My favs are the button press trio and 1 inch focal
The puffy pillow press duo and the focal
Then the tile trio. The tile doesn't seem to sell as well for me, but I really like the shape.

all by Cattwalk

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