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by george
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Author Topic: Silver cored beads using the Nortel Bead Liner  (Read 11226 times)
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Forum Member
Posts: 224

« on: March 30, 2014, 10:14:57 AM »

I now have quite a few different headliners, and I thought as we're so close to the Flame Off I'd share some info.
This post is regarding the Nortel Bead Liner which is currently available from  Feedback is welcome!

My first observations were that it is very sturdily made and the design is based on a ½ ton arbour press. It comes complete; supplied with instructions, various shapes of flaring cones, dapping punches and a rubber flaring tool, and so the user does not need to invest in further punches. As most of the punches are steel, the only part that can wear out is the rubber discs housed in the rubber flaring tool. As there were 3 extra ones supplied the bead press should last many years.

The Nortel has punches which slot straight into the machine – there are no screws to do up and this feature saves some time when changing the punches. It is also worth noting that you do not need specific tube sizes as cones are being used to flare the metal rather than calibrated dies.

Step 1

I used a 5mm mandrel for my beads lightly dipped in Fusion bead release.

It is important to use beads with good dimples otherwise the beads can crack as the silver needs somewhere to move to when it is flared and beads can also break if they are not a consistent width as this can cause uneven pressure being applied.  I have ground down bead holes using my Dremel and a spherical abrasive bit and that works very well providing I get the rivet to flare out to cover the ground area.


Measure the bead using digital callipers.  Nortel suggest adding a minimum of 1/8 inch to the length of the tubing and cut using a pipe cutter.  

I have experimented with adding different lengths from 2.3mm to 4.5mm on small beads and each have produced a lovely rivet; the more metal there is the deeper the lip.

On a longer bead I have found that more tubing is required to be added – 4.75mm worked really well for a bead 54mm long.

De-burr the ends on the inside and outside and use fine sandpaper to carefully remove any ridges or burrs from the outside of the tube, whilst being careful to keep the cut edge flat.

I annealed the tubes by heating with a blowtorch until they are a dull cherry red colour and quench.  Then clean the tubing.

Step 2

Using the cone-shaped dies, position the bead and tubing in place and hold the bead in the centre of the tubing so you get an equal distribution of tube both ends and so that you don’t flare out any glass.


You need very little force to start flaring out the ends, so gently flare a little, then turn over the bead and tubing and flare the other end. Repeat as necessary - it is best to take things slowly at this point until you get used to using the liner.

Step 3
Once the tubing has flared out both ends but is still loose in the bead, switch the top cone for a spherical tool – choose one which is large enough not to get jammed into the tubing.

Very gently continue pressing and turning the bead until it has flared out a little more.

Step 4
Then put the rubber flaring tool in the bottom and the large spherical doming tool in the top to finish the flaring process. Again you will need to flip the bead several times to get the metal splayed out evenly.


Step 5


As you can see, the Nortel Bead Liner gives a flat flared out finish rather than a domed one.

Additional info – using the Nortel to dome bead caps.

Here I have cut out copper washers using a disc cutter and I am using the large sherical punch to dome my bead caps. I have a steel doming block placed underneath the punch.


The bead caps have been decorated by rolling a leaf and the copper through a rolling mill.

As before, I measured the bead but with the copper caps in place and then added 4.6 mm to get the length for the copper tubing.


Again I used the large cones to gently flare out the tubing to this size of flare:


Then I swapped the top cone for a medium sized sphere and flared a bit more. Then I swapped out the bottom cone for the rubber tool and the top sphere was swapped out for the largest round punch:


When using domed bead caps you might find that you need an extra finishing process to curl down the rim of the rivet. In this case I used my rubber bench block to support the bead and to allow a bit of give when gently using a repousse hammer to curl over the top rivet. Turn over the bead and repeat.


Here is the finished bead after polishing:

As you can see you can achieve a domed finish to your rivet but you do need this extra finishing step to get the dome!

Long beads and uneven ends

It is possible to line long beads – this one is 54mm long and so I have cut a silver tube 58.4mm long. To reduce the risk of the tube buckling I have used a thicker walled tube.

This bead has a defect which is difficult to see, but it does have wonky ends. As it is an organic bead I kind of like wonky and I wondered how the Nortel would cope!

Again I positioned the bead very carefully on the press to ensure that the flaring was as even as possible.


I repeated the process as I did with the other beads.


When I got to this stage I was concerned that using any more pressure with the press would break the bead to I finished shaping the rivet by hand just as with the bead with bead caps above:

« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 06:10:53 AM by theflyingbedstead » Logged

Charlotte x
Forum Member
Posts: 831

« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 12:07:51 PM »

Great job, Charlotte, in all respects. Thank you for taking the time to document all of this and for sharing it on here. I am sure it will be a useful reference for many people.

Val Cox Frit - Thai and Bali Silver 
Forum Member
Posts: 224

« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 12:46:09 PM »

Thank you Shirley. I know that Martin has got more of these bead liners in stock...and I wonder if he'll bring them to the Flame Off? I am tempted to bring my sample beads just in case anyone wants to see them.

I have just updated the review I wrote years ago for the Impress, as Art in the Round have made some additions since I first wrote it. I also have 4 other bead liners, and I am aiming to post info on those too. I have been busy coring beads for the last month!

Charlotte x
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Posts: 736

Will work for Cat-food and Glass

« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 03:39:56 PM »

Fantastic info, really useful, maybe one of the mods might want to make this a sticky for future reference?

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Posts: 886

« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 02:34:25 AM »

That's a brilliant write-up, Charlotte!!  Smiley

Julie xx

                            My Webbie - My Flickr
Dragonfire Glass
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Posts: 597

« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 02:43:41 AM »

Very informative Charlotte, and I'm sure people will be interested in seeing them at Flame Off Smiley

Still thinking about it...........
Forum Member
Posts: 162

Life is too short to wake up with regrets

« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 12:37:55 PM »

What a really useful post.  I have emailed it to myself so I can keep it for future reference.  I shall look forward to more.  I have a mango bead liner, but I think the info regarding bead caps may be adaptable. Thank you.
I think, therefore I worry!
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Posts: 553

The hair is always in need of taming!

« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 12:41:58 PM »

Really useful thanks Charlotte. Will pick your brains about it further at FO if that's okay. X

Forum Member
Posts: 224

« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 02:03:45 PM »

I have a mango bead liner, but I think the info regarding bead caps may be adaptable. Thank you.

Yes, you can use bead caps with the Mango Bead Liner, and I am currently putting together a review of that machine too.

Really useful thanks Charlotte. Will pick your brains about it further at FO if that's okay. X

Course you can!  Grin

Charlotte x
New Forum Member
Posts: 1

« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2019, 08:24:47 AM »

This is so wonderfully useful - thank you!
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