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I've got a necklace someone asked me to re-string and I am looking for advice about what might be the best stringing material.  It is heavy - lots of glass beads - and I think that either the weight or the abrasion on the wire from the beads caused it to break.  I'm thinking of switching out some of the beads for lighter elements, and I want to make sure I string it on something sturdy.  I've read the Google results on "which beading wire to use":  they focus on diameter, strand number, and tensile strength, not the differences between brands.  All these choices all seem similar, and all say they resist abrasion. I like tying knots rather than using crimp beads (probably because I don't know how to crimp correctly), but I can't tie something like Accu-flex,right? So I am interested to hear what other people use, and why. Thanks for any and all advice!

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
cosmic_reverie
Apr. 5th, 2014 03:51 pm (UTC)
I typically use fishing line, but I am curious to know what others recommend. I don't usually string anything very heavy but fishing line is robust.
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
I have some fishing line, it says "8 lb test" on it, so it would be strong enough. I wonder what other people say, too, because fishing line is cheap compared to the alternatives - so why not use it?
myrcwood_rose
Apr. 10th, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC)
Fishing line is meant to stretch and flex so that a big ass fish doesn't break your line and steal your lure :) It's also meant to be replaced regularly, so no, not great for beading. I would get some good beading wire, honestly to me, there isn't too much difference, and a small bead reamer or a round rasp and smooth any rough edges on the bead holes. Crimping beads are pretty easy, but only if you have the right size and right pliers for that size, if you go on youtube there should be some good videos on crimping them right, I like using video when getting a new technique down because you can pause and back up as much as needed.
kestrel337
Apr. 5th, 2014 04:15 pm (UTC)
Fishing line tends to be brittle and breaks down over time. It also tends to be stretchy in comparison to the accuflex and softflex.
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
Good to know! Thanks!
gnommi
Apr. 5th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
I have also found fishing line to snap over time, and to stretch. I've tried several different brands and they all seem to do it eventually.

I've never got to grips with wire either, so I ended up just working with either heavy-duty waxed linen thread for heavy beads or something like Nymo for seed beads. Nymo you still have to condition though (i.e. pre-stretch) or that stretches under the weight of the beads as well!
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
Is heavy duty linen thread something I am likely to find at a sewing store?

I found several spools of Nymo in my stash - don't know when I got them - so it is good to know what it is for!
gnommi
Apr. 6th, 2014 10:15 am (UTC)
I think I got mine from a bookbinding store online! Though you can get lucky in bead shops. It's a bit heavy duty for most haberdasheries unless they have a big range :)
durande
Apr. 5th, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
In my experience fire-line is one of the best products I have ever tried and perfect for what you're doing. My advice is use the 4lb and double it. It's strong, and even doubled it still fits through most bead holes. Also, you can tie a knot and secure it with super glue. The necklace will be strong and will not stretch over time.
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'll go see the weight I have - thanks!

I like the idea of something I can super glue! It must be the ads I dimly remember - someone being lifted by the head, wearing a helmet super glued to something? IDK, whatever it was, I was clearly impressed! And I am sure it was real!
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC)
I checked my "Fire Line" and found out it is "Wild Fire" - but if I recall what the Fire Line looks like, and the packaging seems similar enough that maybe it is the same manufacturer. Would you happen to know the difference?

Edited at 2014-04-05 06:21 pm (UTC)
pos_sess_ed
Apr. 5th, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
I've also used the Fireline fishing line with good results.

If sharp bead edges are concerning you, try filing to smooth them.
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
Smoothing them....I'll have to look that up. I have a set of small files, but I don't think they are small enough to fit in the hole. Maybe just smoothing the outer edge would help?
pos_sess_ed
Apr. 5th, 2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
Bead reamers can be used and come in different sizes. Just the edges need smoothing since that is what comes in contact with the stringing material.

Good luck with your project!
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
aprilvalentine
Apr. 5th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
I prefer Soft Flex or Beadalon for a job like this. They don't kink up which is a problem with old school tiger tail which I haven't used in years. The heavier the beads, the heavier the strand of wire you should use.

If you have problems with crimping, get yourself a pair of crimping pliers which make all the difference. crimping pliers how-to and if you don't like the look of crimp beads when they have been squashed, cover them with crimp cover beads in matching metal. Also, if you use sterling crimp beads, they will work much better than base metal crimps which have a tendency to break rather than hold tight. And if you are using gold colored beading wire and clasps, you can still use sterling crimps if you cover them with gold crimp covers. While sterling crimps cost more, it's money well spent in the long run because you waste a lot of the cheap base metal ones. I thought I didn't know how to crimp properly myself before I started using the sterling ones.
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 06:19 pm (UTC)
So Soft Flex and Beadalon are essentially the same thing - just different brands? "Heavier" wire has a bigger diameter or more strands or both? I know, you were nice enough to answer my question and I only have more!!

Thanks for the how-to on crimping. I have some crimping pliers, but I need to do as you suggest: try the better crimps and look at some how-tos for a better idea of how to use the pliers.

I also need to learn more about base metals vs. sterling. Several earrings I've made myself recently have irritated my ears. I assume it was because of the cheap metal in the ear wires.
durande
Apr. 5th, 2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
wild fire is fine...it's the same thing. Somewhere on the spool it should say the test weight...it's probably 4 but 6lb. is pretty common also the 4 would be easier to double, and as I said will fit through most bead holes. 6lb. may be too thick if you double it. I recommend this because; even if the beads have rough edges, the double strand will hold. I don't recommend the beadalon, it weakens at the crimp point and will probably break. Fire line is used by professional beaders. It is essentially a very thin, strong wire with a nylon coating that is why it tends to be on the pricey side.
durande
Apr. 5th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
I do prefer to crimp, fire line is great for crimping as long as you use high quality crimp beads. Also, it is a good idea to secure a small bead that will fit with the design of your project after the crimp point. (I secure with a dab of super glue and wait until it dries completely, then continue stringing. It dries quickly, so you know, 10 minutes). This helps to keep the sharp edge of the crimp point from cutting through the strand over time. I learned this in a bead class and it was great...a lot of bracelets I made were breaking at this point before I learned this nifty little trick.
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
I hadn't thought to glue *and* crimp - this seems like a situation where overkill is a good thing. I should learn to crimp better and I will remember to put in the extra bead. Thanks for your help!
aprilvalentine
Apr. 5th, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, Soft Flex and Beadalon are two different brands of beading wire that are essentially the same thing. The heavier wire does have more strands along with being thicker as well, so if you have a lot of heavy, large beads on a necklace, you'll want to use the heavier wire. Tiger tail was in general use about twenty years ago when I first got into making jewelry and has since fallen out of favor due to the improvements Soft Flex and Beadalon came up with. Tiger Tail breaks more easily and will kink, the others have much better drape. Don't use wire that's too heavy for the beads because you want it to hang and drape nicely. If you're making necklaces with pearls, you will want to use the special silk thread that can be knotted between the pearls but for metal or gemstone beads, use the better brands of beading wire.

Yes, follow the directions for crimping pliers and if you buy the sterling silver ones, they will work much better. Besides the Fire Mountain Gems how to I linked to in my earlier comment, there may be some vids on YouTube that show you how to do them.

Base metals are the cheaper kinds of metal for jewelry making. They're what is sometimes referred to as "gold tone" or "silver tone" in descriptions. You can't bend head pins of base metal as easily as you can sterling either for wrapping the wires of earrings. Often the base metal ear wires contain nickle, which a lot of people are allergic to, and they will irritate your ears when wearing them.

It seems easier/better to start with the inexpensive components when learning to make jewelry but using sterling actually allows you to learn how to do things correctly and lasts longer, so the difference in price is worth it. You can use an inexpensive clasp but sterling crimps or head pins. Same goes for tools. Buy the best pliers and cutters you can afford because they will do a better job and last longer and your hands will thank you too.

Info on Metals for Jewelry Making
momsalive1
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the detailed reply and the link! I've been thinking maybe I am ready to graduate to better materials, and your comment that they area easier to use in the first place is encouraging!
aprilvalentine
Apr. 6th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC)
My pleasure! I'm sure you'll enjoy the better materials. Nothing's wrong with starting on the cheaper stuff, especially if you're not sure you're going to enjoy making jewelry but once you know you like it, it's worth it to "upgrade" at least a bit.
mz_laveau
Apr. 8th, 2014 05:51 pm (UTC)
I to would say to use silk thread. It's actually very strong. Be sure to knot between beads:)
mz_laveau
Apr. 8th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
Also, if the weight is a concern, put a counter weight at the back.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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