A couple days ago I finally received my new bead press that I had ordered mid-December. It came from Germany. Unfortunately I had ordered it just as they were closing for the holidays. But it was worth the wait!
I found some red glass rods to use, along with my favorites -- multi-color and raku glass. It will take some practice in getting the right amount of glass on the mandrel, but I think I did well for the first time! Adding glass to the bead is easy, but if you have too much glass and it spreads out of the mold when you press the bead, that's another story! You have to heat the excess glass and pull it away with tweezers. As you pull, you have to "cut" the strand with the flame. In my case, doing it for the first time, I distorted the half of the heart, then had to push it all back in place.
Also, getting the press in the correct position on the work surface was essential. The hot bead is placed in one of the sizes of hearts and the mandrel is straight in the slot. Then the top of the press needs to be positioned so that the two poles sticking up go through the holes of the top part. Not as easy as it sounds, when speed is important. But positioning the press in different directions until it was comfortable to place the bead in the heart slot; then being able to see the alignment of the posts and squashing the bead .... finally got easier. I'll try it again today. Now how did I do that?