Lauscha sent me two new batches of reds to test. We have SNT 220 (07/02/13 batch) and SNT 219 (11/02/13 batch). I also have an older batch of SNT 220 that I included for comparison.
Here’s a nice labelled picture of them all. You can see that both new batches are fairly similar at a glance, and both are oranger and more transparent than the darker, tending-to-translucent old SNT 220. (I do very much like the old batch – it is similar to CiM maraschino in that it is semi-opaque when used thickly, giving a lovely depth of colour).
I’ll go over each type of bead side-by-side now.
First we have the spacers. I did not attempt any deliberate striking of these as I wanted to see whether they were auto-striking or needed a little more effort. So I just made four spacers on each mandrel and put them in the kiln. I was surprised how unstruck the SNT 219 ones came out, because they appeared darker when I put them in the kiln.
Verdict: unlike the old SNT 220, they definitely need to be deliberately struck. From the later beads, they don’t seem difficult to strike, but for spacers the attention needs to be paid.
These two beads were rounded off in a bead roller and have a wrap of Double Helix psyche, heavily reduced. (Excuse the iffy end!) This was the darkest red I got out of either colour. Both base beads are still transparent, though – you can see into them. The difference in outlines round the psyche is may just be due to the way it was melted in, rather than the base – it’s difficult to tell without further testing.
These two little beads show how they stand up to being layered. I used Effetre white to make stacked dots. The new SNT 220 came out darker than the SNT 219, which is very orange in the dots. Both had a tendency to unstrike between layers – the SNT 219 was trickier to stay struck at the end.
Finally, I made a pair of sculptural roses to see how they behaved when repeatedly heated and cooled, since these go in and out of the flame repeatedly as I add each petal. Both roses remained mostly transparent – the SNT 220 has a little cloudiness whereas the SNT 219 is almost perfectly transparent. The SNT 219 has stayed a little less struck in the centre and at the outer edges of some petals, which is a lovely effect in this kind of bead. Both are still orange-tinted reds.
Both of these are very nice reds. There was no tendency to go brown in either of them. I’d probably pick one rather than both as they’re quite similar, it’s just tricky to choose which one! The 219 is lovely as a rose while the 220 is better in dots and probably marginally easier to strike.
For further testing, I plan to make the same beads with my old SNT 220, and to make a plain lentil bead in all three of the reds. I may make a heart in the two new reds too.