I've never used a heated mandrel so I can't help much with that question. However, I have found that tube formation can be performed easily and successfully if the blank is well scored before forming. I use a Popkin scorer and it does a terrific job. I set the scorer so the scored section of the tube begins just below the top wire. The tube is formed with a well rounded base and virtually no cracking above the top wire. I use one of two forming mandrels, depending upon the particular tip I used in shaping the cane, an old Popkin mandrel for shapes with a wider throat and a Rieger flat ended mandrel for shapes with a narrower throat. I find this keeps the tube shape between the first and second wire more consistent. After placing the top wire and wrapping the tube section of the blank with a wet shoelace, I insert the forming mandrel in one motion with a little side to side twisting to help the process. Use some parafin on the mandrel to make the insertion process easier.
Anyway, that's my process and I know there are an almost infinite number of variations out there.
Last edited by Gene Carter (2005-02-08 07:17:44)
Gene Carter, Owner