I belong to a lampworking forum called Lampwork Etc. One of the threads on the forum is a game that lets you try one of a few tools from the lampworking toolmaker Zoozii's. Basically, if you happen across the thread and are the first person to post that you want to try a tool after the last person says it's ready to ship, then it gets sent to you. The caveats are that you have to pay USPS Priority shipping and you have one month to use it.
Exactly one month ago I happened to be the lucky one to snag this tool, an optic mold:
Many of you are baffled about whay could be exciting about a hunk of aluminum with a shape in the middle, other than that it looks kind of interesting. It's function is to let you shape a gather of molten glass into the shape of the cavity. You then layer it with more glass (it usually holds its shape better if you do) and pull it out into a cane that's 4-6mm thick. Then, when the cane is cool you can use a tile nipper or diamond saw to cut it into disks that you can then apply to beads:
As a lampworking purist would tell you, you can make these without an optic mold, but tools are fun! I think these murrini turned out really neat! I hope the next person likes it as much as I did! Heck, it could be YOU!
Thanks for reading!