These metal sticks are used to make beads (the different diameter of sticks make different size holes in the beads). The sticks are called "mandrels" and the blue stuff at the tip is where you attach the hot glass to create a bead. This blue stuff is called "bead release" because without it the bead would become stuck to the mandrel rather than coming right off with a nice hole thru its center. Bead release is great stuff, when its hot it sticks to the glass and the mandrel, when it cools down it releases and the bead can be twisted right off the stick.
The worst part of bead release is that it must dry before you can use the mandrel to make a bead (any moisture left in the bead release can cause beads to break). So you must dip them in advance and leave them standing around to dry.
At the studio where I teach, the mandrels are dipped for you (we spoil people!!!) and today I spent a little time dipping a forest of mandrels. And I got to thinking that it might make for an interesting blog entry :)