Well, you’re almost right, Maggie. However: most beadmakers
don’t use MAPP gas. (Check out Cindy Jenkins’ second book “Making
Glass Beads”. I recommend it for those of youinterested in
beadmaking: gives a thorough explanation of the glass, tools, and
process.) Sometimes people starting out will use it to see if
beadmaking is for them, but those who are serious in the endeavor
use a propane/oxygen torch or burner. Soft glass folks use a
bench burner with a “surface mix” (much more oxidizing, less
discoloration, hotter); pyrex folks usually prefer a pre-mix
torch. You’re right about why metalworkers prefer a more reducing
atmosphere than glass workers. Reduction inhibits oxide formation
on metal, but facilitates discoloration in soft glass.
About Moretti (Effetre) vs Bullseye, most of us use Moretti, I
think. Much cheaper, even though it’s imported, because Bullseye
just isn’t up to speed with making the stuff in quantity. ($9/lb
vs. $25/lb - big difference!) Bullseye isn’t “new”; they’ve
been making sheet glass for the stained glass industry for
decades, and they are big producers of glass for glass casters
and kiln-workers. But the rods are a new thing in their line.
Because of its COE, it is iffy-compatible with glassblowers
colors and frits so that’s why some people like it. However, its
lower COE (coefficient of expansion) does not make it less
"fragile", nor does it affect the “rate of time over which it
must cool”. It is just a measurement of the rate at which a glass
expands/contracts at a particular temperature. Generally, lower
COE glasses are stiffer to work and melt at higher temperatures.
It’s a number glassworkers file away because it tells them
whether glasses are compatible with each other.
You can vermiculate-cool beads of any size if you’re careful.
Preheat the vermiculite on a hot plate, and keep it hot as you
work. Best to insulate the can it’s in with some fiber blanket or
something. Turn off the hot plate when done and let beads
completely cool before removing. You will still need to anneal
them in a kiln to have them be completely annealed.
Hope this helps.