Lentil Press

The “spree” lentil press is available here. I like this shape, it gives a straight-sided lentil rather than the one with the little indentations at either end. Some people don’t like those. These ones look like spree candies!

“Tempting Tigress” lentils & rounds.

This is a basic guide to using this press, most of what is here should apply to other lentil presses, in general, too. The main tricks that I have found helpful are as follows:
– make the footprint first, line it up with the press to see that you have the right length footprint. a bit too small is OK, but a bit too big is not.
– make a football type shape
– wait until the bead is stiffening up to press it, don’t press it when it’s molten and liquidy
– flame polish away the chill marks, they really show up if you don’t
– make sure to give the whole thing a good heat soak before putting it away in the kiln
– I find that 1/16″ mandrils are the biggest I like to use in this press. I think it can handle the next size up but this is what works for me
– if your bead release is breaking too much, you might want to try a different brand! especially one that is formulated for presses. Tougher = better.

I start with a really small bit of glass.
I add another one, leaving a space in between.
I line it up in the press to make sure I’m not too big. If I’m way too small, I will add more on one or the other end, but if I’m just a tad too small, it usually works out.
Fill in the gap, start the football shape..
Keep adding glass. You eventually develop an eye for how much glass is needed.
Keep holding it up to the press to try to eyeball your volume.
Melt it all round, it will round out into a football shape ideally.
Add decoration. Depending on the decoration, I might do this step after pressing, and re-press after melting it in. Often though it looks best to have the decoration all done before pressing.
Here is the bead with all the decoration melted in, ready to press. I am letting it cool a bit more before pressing.
Now it’s just starting to lose its glow, time to press it!
And here is the lentil. You can see bits of bead release in the press, luckily none of it got on my bead this time. I make sure there isn’t any in there before I press. It’s helpful to use a really tough bead release. The one I have right now is so-so.
Flame-polish away the marks. I’m sure there are scientific reasons for chill marks (which look like pond ripples almost), I don’t know what it is. But they are undesirable. They screw up the way the bead reflects light.
Give it a heat soak further out in the flame before sticking in the kiln.