I've been asked by beadmakers many times about my cone beads. I've inspired others to make their own but many are frustrated with their failed attempts. Let me just say that if I can do it, so can you, IF, you are willing to practice and work through your mistakes. You don't really think that I started making perfect cone beads right from the start do you? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!
First of all I buy my cone mandrels from Arrow Springs. They are the Osibin Cone Mandrel and I have the 5/8" and 3/8".
Here are a few tips on construction:
I cover the entire cone part of the mandrel with bead release. I do not however, cover the entire cone part of the mandrel with glass. I start wrapping the glass about 1/4" from the bottom, (fat end), of the cone. If it makes a difference to you I use Fusion or Fosterfire bead release. Make sure to spend enough time preheating your mandrel insuring that it is RED HOT before applying the glass. The nice thing about the Osibin mandrel is once you preheat it it holds the heat really well which means a lot when you're trying to keep the bead from cracking as you apply finishing touches.
I use fat stringers, (about 3mm at least), for the initial wrap so I pull several before I start.
The bead release almost always cracks as I am applying the initial wrap. I'm very careful not to push or pull too much causing the bead release to flake off because if the molten glass touches the bare mandrel I'll have to start over. This is why I think people are having a problem getting their beads off the mandrel. The bead release has flaked off exposing the glass to bare metal. Usually this means a hopelessly stuck bead.
I use the thick stringers to cover the mandrel initially, making sure each wrap touches the one before. Once the mandrel is covered I then spend time evening out the surface of the glass on the cone. Adding or moving glass around with my tungsten poker before using my brass and/or graphite marvers to further smooth the surface before adding any embellishments. All the while applying heat where needed to keep the bead from cracking.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions please let me know by leaving a comment. Good luck and don't give up!