I first knew of Bezelform.com's existence when Rick Swartzwelder, the creator of the bezel mandrels and prong guides started to advertise on my blog through Project Wonderful. Intrigued by these wire-wrapping aids, I checked out the site. I finally bought the basic set when it recently went on sale.
The mandrels are designed to help wire artisans wrap cabochons because the sides of the mandrels are much wider than the cabochon itself. Machine made cabochons in particular don't have any girdles (sides) making wire wrapping such well polished and slippery gemstones tricky. The engraved markings (optional) help set the prong positions. Not only is the task easier for novices, experienced artisans will also benefit from the time savings.
Rick said he almost quit when he started wire wrapping. So he developed his own mandrels to help himself and soon began to get loads of compliments on his work. The idea to produce these mandrels for others came when he began to suspect," ...that the real 'talent' I had may have been due to the mandrels I use."
I was suitably impressed when my basic kit came. The set is beautifully made and packaged and will last probably forever. The mandrels sit in a specially holed foam form notjust for storage and protection but for easy size location.There is a chart at the bottom which shows exactly what sizes they are. I chose not to have my mandrels engraved as I prefer to have the flexibility of making my own divisions where I want. The set fortunately comes with instructions on how to mark even divisions if I change my mind.
The wide sides of the mandrels and the fact that they are metal allow me to hammer wire to harden it.
I particularly appreciated the ovals and hearts as mandrels for these shapes are practically non-existent. The round ones will save you from having to hunt around the house looking for cylindrical objects of the right size if you're lucky! They also create tear drop shapes.
Rick is apparently working on additional shapes like squares, octagon, marquis etc as other wire artisans have requested them.The graduated sizing means mixing and matching multiple shapes just got easier as you can see from Rick's onyx and aquamarine pendant creation on the left.
There are directions on Rick's site on how to wire wrap cabochons. Or you could check out my past tutorial post, How to Wire Wrap Cabochons. Even if you aren't into cabochon work, the mandrels are still useful for other wire wrapping projects.
The following designs in my Etsy store were created using the new mandrels:
This large grey banded agate cabochon pendant necklace was wire wrapped with the one piece base and bail section shaped with the largest of the ovals in my set.
I used an oval mandrel to form the main shape for the blue Swarovski wire wrapped earrings (below left). A round and an oval mandrel became templates for drawing the shapes for the Futuristic Swarovski Riveted Earrings. Sure you could buy template rulers that will do same thing but I found having the physical shapes to play with made choosing the sizes I liked easier. (Yes, it was masochistic to cut out the shapes by hand. I don't have a disc cutter yet!)
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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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