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24/03/2014 / katnewman

Product review – Tuffy bead release

I was so surprised to not find any kind of review on this new bead release I felt compelled to write one myself!

Its exciting, for me, because it does not contain any silica like the others do. Silica, when dry and airborne can be inhaled and cause cancer. Nasty stuff!

It comes as dry powder, in a bag. Now I can totally appreciate that for some accustomed to getting their bead release ready mixed, this may be a wee bit daunting, it certainly took me a good few weeks to be bothered to mix it up but curiosity got the better of me thanks to spectacular failures with my then current bead release.

So, mixing. I measured out the quantity of water, and seeing that with the powder thought to myself that I may need a bigger jar than had been suggested by Martin Tuffnell (of Tuffnell Glass, the supplier, did I forget to mention that bit? Lol sorry!) when he first introduced the product. So I raided the neighbours recycling and found a nice big gravy jar, cleaned it up etc, perfect. Popped in the water and powder, popped the lid on and started shaking.

Very important point #1
When dealing with jars with plastic lids, do not remove the cardboard insert. This is what separates you and the rest of the studio from the liquid inside…

So next I cleaned up the bead release that splattered the chair and floor of the studio.

Back to the jar! On opening, the content level was pretty low, and it wasn’t just because some of the contents had escaped! I guess once the powder had been absorbed by the water it took up less room. So I decanted it back into the original jar I was going to use, its an ordinary jam jar, it was a ‘finest’ jar, similar shape and size to the Bonne Maman jams jars.

Very important point #2
Ok so Martin was right 🙂

I chucked a couple of stray beads in the jar, to help with the mixing, but it was still a bit thicker than I like my bead release so I decided to add some more. Got a bit carried away and added a lot more than I intended, its now pretty thin. Decided hey ho let’s give it a go anyway – all in the name of a broad test spectrum (I was a software tester in a former life, this is all fun to me!)

I flame dried the mandrel from wet. Like, I put it down for about 3 minutes to light my torch and get a rod of glass. It flame dried beautifully, no popping or cracking and actually seemed to be thicker in consistency when dry. As I wound the bead on, I’m thinking “there’s no way this is coming back off the mandrel!”

Well folks, it didn’t just come off the mandrel, it came off easier than with the other bead release that I was using!

Martin stated that it cleans out of the bead really nicely. He was also right about that! I clean by hand and so stubborn bead release is the bane of my life!

So my next test is airdried, large beads, presses and cab mandrels…

Bead rollers…good!!

Presses – well I used a new press which was a bit silly, there was some breakage, but once I had got the hang of the press I was a very happy bunny.


Created on a tuffy bead release covered mandrel, some eye candy to break up the text! Murrini by Sue of Flaming ‘Eck beads

Cab mandrels. Again, my own error in not heating sufficiently meant that I was unable to test this fully. I have no doubt that it will be fine to be honest, but I am unable to test this for another week and wanted to get this post out, so if there’s anything more to tell you I will come back!

All in all, very happy with Tuffy bead release, I fully recommend it!



Leave a Comment
  1. Scarlet Impressions / Apr 8 2014 3:10 pm

    It’s interesting to see your findings were pretty much the same as mine.
    One thing I did note later, since I originally only tested it with beads is that if you make a cab or attempt something on the end of the mandrel that doesn’t go in very deep it does tend to fall off in the kiln. So you can’t put them up to high on the rest.
    I had faith in Martin though, I used a jam jar as I preferred the metal lid. I did have to add the water slowly though, so perhaps mixing in a larger jar does have its advantages.

    • katnewman / Apr 8 2014 3:36 pm

      I did wonder about cabs, Scarlet. Mine fell off in production but I thought that was because I hadn’t heated enough so I will be revisiting that. Glad to see we have similar results – if you get a bigger jar definitely don’t remove the cardboard from inside the lid ;0)

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