...and have found it harder and harder to get them off the mandrel. With my last key, I had to use vise-grip pliers to get the mandrel apart!
I went to my local hardware store for a new socket nut and quickly realized the nut that is welded to the key mandrel is stripped... what to do??? In this economy, this poor artist cannot afford to zip out and buy a new tool! Plus, I always wondered why they welded that nut on... I would always want free moving parts. Sure, it's one more piece to lose but it's also one more piece that can be replaced for pennies!
With the nut stripped, I bought a #6 3/4" Phillips head screw and a wing nut. The screw fits right through the stripped nut and only attaches to the wing nut. I like this better because I can hold a Phillips screwdriver on one side and a vise-grip on the other should it ever get stuck... and will be far less likely to bend the shaft of my key mandrel!
Update: Thanks to my dear glass friend Janel Dudley, I want to let you know that many of the cheap nuts and bolts out there are made of zinc which has a melting point just above 700 degrees Fahrenheit! Zinc can splatter in the flame too and it is TOXIC! So... make sure you use steel nuts and bolts!!