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Old 05-22-2005, 09:47 AM   #1
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Mescal beans

Ok you gourd dancers, I need some help. I have been working with mescal beans for about a year. I use a handdrill to drill the hole through the bean. Problem is I end up cracking the shell on about 50% of them. Do any of you have this problem? I did have one person ask me if I had soaked them. Do you know what this person was talking about? Soak them in what? I guess I should have asked them....
I have went through the old thread on mescal bean here in this forum but it didn't say anything about the problem of cracking the shell. maybe I have a bad batch...maybe my hands ain't as steady as they used to be. I am looking for any suggestions.....
Also, how do you shellac your beans? Where does one get shellac? Do you think shellac is good or do you all prefer the more natural look?
Whispering Wind magazine recently had a good article on making Bandolero's. If I could only quit cracking all my beans, I'd be in good shape......
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Old 05-22-2005, 11:01 AM   #2
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When I did my hubby's beans I used a really small awl... kind that are used in ceramics...... but any small one would do. One that doesn't taper to bad to a much wider top. I heated it in a candle then it went through like butter. Didn't have a prob. You still have to watch the fumes so make sure you do it in a well vented place. Just like I'm sure you were told to watch the dust when you drill em, it can be some nasty stuff. I never had a prob at all.
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Old 05-22-2005, 11:31 AM   #3
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I heat a small drill bit over an oil lamp then push it through with pliers. The heat seals the hole and does not crack the bean. This way I get a hole the size of whatever I am stringing them with.

My husband and children cannot work with mescals, so I do it. This is the way I was taught. I have never heard for applying a finish of any kind or soaking and boiling the bean.
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Old 05-22-2005, 11:41 AM   #4
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Mato and Luv

Mato and Luv,
Thanks for the advice. I will try those methods. Seems like a good way, especially since it seals the beans. Yeah, I don't know about the soaking thing. Sounded more like a cooking thing. Or a tequila thing...LOL...
I will watch the fumes Mato. I don't want to get sick or die or anything like that. I usually work with them in my shop. I got a little set up in there. Anyway...Thanks again you two!
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Old 05-22-2005, 11:51 PM   #5
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yellow mescal

Does anyone know where I can find some yellow beans? I have a red and silver bandolier. I am looking to make a yellow one though.
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Old 05-23-2005, 09:44 AM   #6
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The last time I worked with mescal beans, I drilled them with a drill press and then burned them. I had several shells crack, but not a whole lot. I bought an inexpensive soldering iron from Wal-Mart that has removable tips, and it worked really well as it was a constant temperature the entire time.

I wonder if I could omit the drilling step and go straight to the iron?
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:35 PM   #7
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I'm thinking the cracking thing might be on account of the beetle that lives inside there and eats out the inside....OR you've just got some MONSTROUS hands and yer applying ALOT of pressure to the beans.

I burn the hole thru with a large darning needle, heated in little butane torch for a few seconds until it's cherry red.

To further expedite the process, I've set up a board with holes of varying sizes, just small indentations, drilled out to hold the bean in place. I fill the holes, then come thru with my red needle and burn the holes thru.

Then I take the beans and put em on a cookie sheet to bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or so, actually, I do it outside, just just set the cookie sheet on the bbq qrill and continually stir the beans so they "roast" evenly. It adds some darkness to the coloration of the bean, and hardens it up a bit. Plus, I was told it kills off the beetle infestations or at least eliminates the possiblity.

I bought a can of spray on varnish. Go for the clear polyurethane finish, quick drying, string them up and hang them outside, then hit em with a thin coating. Let it dry for two hours, then come back and spray again. I put on three coats. It dries hard, clear and I haven't had any problems with yellowing or peeling or anything yet.

You have a choice of options with this spray stuff, plus, it's not as messy as having to deal with cans and paint brushes and acetone cleansers and such.

Go for the outdoor grade stuff, it'll take the humidity or sweat that might come from heavy usage.

Just a few thoughts.

There is also a spray version of shellac as well.
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bo Jangles
I'm thinking the cracking thing might be on account of the beetle that lives inside there and eats out the inside....OR you've just got some MONSTROUS hands and yer applying ALOT of pressure to the beans.

I burn the hole thru with a large darning needle, heated in little butane torch for a few seconds until it's cherry red.

To further expedite the process, I've set up a board with holes of varying sizes, just small indentations, drilled out to hold the bean in place. I fill the holes, then come thru with my red needle and burn the holes thru.

Then I take the beans and put em on a cookie sheet to bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or so, actually, I do it outside, just just set the cookie sheet on the bbq qrill and continually stir the beans so they "roast" evenly. It adds some darkness to the coloration of the bean, and hardens it up a bit. Plus, I was told it kills off the beetle infestations or at least eliminates the possiblity.

I bought a can of spray on varnish. Go for the clear polyurethane finish, quick drying, string them up and hang them outside, then hit em with a thin coating. Let it dry for two hours, then come back and spray again. I put on three coats. It dries hard, clear and I haven't had any problems with yellowing or peeling or anything yet.

You have a choice of options with this spray stuff, plus, it's not as messy as having to deal with cans and paint brushes and acetone cleansers and such.

Go for the outdoor grade stuff, it'll take the humidity or sweat that might come from heavy usage.

Just a few thoughts.

There is also a spray version of shellac as well.
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Old 05-24-2005, 02:43 AM   #9
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I haven't noticed anyone coat their beans, at least not that I know of. I have burned my beans and I have drilled my beans.

I too have a soldering iron I bought at Wal-Marts, I tapered the point. I then bought a wood burning iron and replaced the point with a peace of coat hanger wire. This burning method works well. I suggest you do this outside or under your wifes stove exhaust vent with the fan on.

I use a drimmel drill to drill holes. I think if you press tooooo hard the shell cracks or breaks. Just let the drill cut through the bean don't press on it at all. I use a spring-clothes pin to hold the bean. This is just in case the drill might slip, saves on the fingers. Again this should be done outside if possoble.

For Yellow beans, I know a Gentleman from Texas who has some yellow beans. He is a Lipan Apache man from McAllen Tx. PM me and I may try to set you up with him, if he is OK with this.
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Old 05-25-2005, 05:15 PM   #10
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Mescal beans

ask your uncle "E" or "C" they know grandpa's trick
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
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ask your uncle "E" or "C" they know grandpa's trick
Ha, ha, ha,,,, you nut! Comancheouteast.... can't wait to see you in July! I talked to your Dad the other day on the phone, I should have asked him then. How long you been powwows.commin' it? If no one has welcomed you, then consider this your WELCOME to POWWOWS.COM!!!! And to all you Gourd dance thread regulars, I introduce to you my little brother, comancheouteast!!!!! The keenest salesman on the East Coast!!!! LOL...... Chris
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Old 05-26-2005, 01:39 AM   #12
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Thumbs up

Welcome, little brother, to the board. Hope things are going well with you in the east.

The next dance is in your honor, Numunu will you help me honor your brother?
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Old 05-26-2005, 03:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Welcome, little brother, to the board. Hope things are going well with you in the east.

The next dance is in your honor, Numunu will you help me honor your brother?
Absolutely Cherosage, little brother here ya go

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Old 06-03-2005, 12:14 PM   #14
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Burn and Drill

My method is to heat a small awl (held w/vise grips) and to burn a small hole. Then, use a Dremel tool (cordless is preferable because of less power) and drill through. Some may crack. Be sure and hold the mescal with a small pair of pliers. Do not drill your own fingers if possible!
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Old 06-15-2006, 11:31 PM   #15
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I heard that the yellow beans grow more in Texas than elsewhere.
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:20 AM   #16
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My beans came from SW Texas.
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:23 PM   #17
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You guys think drilling and burning holes in em is tough,try getting them out of the pods.Here in Otero County the bush grows wild in the Guadalupe Mountains.You harvest the pods and its a chore to get em out and you have to be careful as they are poisonous,and then you must soak and clean them.
Yellow and Red beans grow in the same places and sometimes on the same bush.......just like us NDNs...some are light an some a dark.....
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Old 07-06-2006, 05:19 PM   #18
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Yellow Beans

I would like to find some yellow mescal beans to go with the red ones the wife just brought me home...look real nice with the red I think. If anyone knows where I can find some, I'd sure appreciate the help!!
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
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You guys think drilling and burning holes in em is tough,try getting them out of the pods.Here in Otero County the bush grows wild in the Guadalupe Mountains.You harvest the pods and its a chore to get em out and you have to be careful as they are poisonous,and then you must soak and clean them.
Yellow and Red beans grow in the same places and sometimes on the same bush.......just like us NDNs...some are light an some a dark.....
I can only imagine how tough that would be. But man, I wish I lived somewhere where they grew wild....
I didn't know they grew on the same bush. I wondered if the yellow ones might be unripened beans that might turn red or something like that.
Thanks windrider, and if you ever decide to sell them, let me know.....Numunu
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:56 PM   #20
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My uncle uses an awl he made from a coat hanger to use the burn method. Just need a section of the straight part and wrap the 'handle' with something so you don't burn your hand. As for holding the bean, cheap pliers with a little of the black sticky foam (don't know what it is called) seems to grip the bean better. I have another uncle that uses a drill press and the shells only break if he is using a big bit or if he is pressing too hard on the way through (blows out the bottom from the inside). What you do depends on what you have available and how many of those bad boys you will need to make holes in.

Some of this was also discussed in various threads in the straight dance forum recently.
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Mescal Bean prep... park Gourd Dance 14 08-12-2005 02:37 PM

    

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