I have a two-part question on Softflex and/or Beadalon.

I make intricate, beadwoven pendants and string them (along with
many accent beads) on Beadalon. On the last few pieces, and on a
couple bracelets, I have used crimp beads and covered them with crimp
bead covers (those things that are like little clam shells that close
up to cover a crimp bead). It looks professional, but the crimp on
the bracelet let go. Now, I am worried about the necklaces. I have
started using relatively expensive beads and I don’t want to damage
my business rep.

Has anyone had a similar problem and, if so, what did you do about
it? I am considering using bead tips only as an alternative or
packing the crimp cover with epoxy before I close it over the crimp.
I use only sterling or gold-fill crimps, so that’s not the problem.
My necklaces are selling for 150-225 so they have to stay together
for a long time. If crimps consistently fail, I just can’t use them.
Any ideas?

Also, I need to be able to store my necklaces to be ready for
show/sale. I have them in a jeweler’s carrying case and they are
pinned down individually, but they can move around within the case
and I don’t want them to get scratched up. I sell a lot by word of
mouth so I need to have a way to have my stuff with me. Part of the
problem is that the beadalon tends to get bends in it if it is kept
in a box. Any suggestions?

Sorry for the length, but this is really worrying me.

Thanks in advance
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

Hi Kim.

I dont know how to help you with the beadalon question…I use it
and I dont think I have ever had a crimp come off.

However, as for the display question…I usually have 6-8 of my
high-end pieces with me at all times, these pieces retail for $1000+
so I carry them in very nice presentation boxes. This way they dont
move around much ( and if they do they are protected by the velvet
interior of the box. The boxes also wont bend the wire the piece is
on. You can get these through riogrande for a pretty good price.

Hope it helps!


Adelaide Fine Jewelry
(888) 255-0765


I used to have this problem when I first started, then I realized
something I was doing wrong: I was using a crimp bead that was too
small. For Beadalon, which is what I use, that is.18, I use the 1.75
mm tube crimp.

Try that and see if you get a vast improvement.

Also, I’m hoping you are using a crimping tool, and not just
squeezing the crimp flat? I’ve seen a lot of people do that, and
their work comes apart the majority of the time.

Good Luck!

Also, I need to be able to store my necklaces to be ready for

I use wooden artist’s palette boxes. Remove the compartments, etc.,
that come inside the box. Cut foam to fit lid and bottom. Cover with
velvet or other soft fabric. The foam needs to be thick enough to
hold the necklaces in place when the box is closed.

Alana Clearlake

Hi Kim,

I used to have the darndest problems with wires and crimps. After
much practice and a few experiments, I can tell you what works for

I always wanted to get my 2X2 sterling silver crimp tubes mashed
down as tight as possible and then round them out to make them look
pretty – the process caused metal failure at a pretty consistent
rate. (I did the standard first crimp to form the “U”, second crimp
to bring the sides in, then a third crimp to round out the shape.)
That third mash was too much for the metal.

I found out that if I did only steps 1 & 2, that I had a much better

I also use two crimps per strand with a small sterling bead between.
Usually bead, crimp tube, bead, crimp tube. That’s in case I didn’t
get something tight enough. I have a second crimp to help hold my
stringing wire. (I’ll try to get a scan for you).

It’s vital you have the proper weight stringing wire for the job. I
never use anything less than the 19 strand Beadalon. (I prefer
Beadalon 100% over Softflex/Accuflex.) Too small a wire, and no
matter how good your crimp is, your wire will slide right out. Also
your chances of cutting into the wire are very high.

The micro crimper is the way to go. Some of the other crimpers (and
the cheap knockoffs) don’t do the job.

Some people form their “U” then crimp from the back, some crimp from
the open end. It doesn’t seem to matter much as long as your
consistent. I do what’s opposite of most crimping instructions. I
make a “U” then put the back side to the tool. Makes more sense to me
because that’s where the bulk of the metal strength should be.

I don’t have any experience with the clam shell covers. They might
look pretty, but they also might contribute to wear and tear on your
wires. Just a thought.

Part of the problem is that the beadalon tends to get bends in it
if it is kept in a box. Any suggestions? 

If the wires are getting bent sliding around in the cases during
transport, then maybe you can lay some pretty crinkled tissue paper
over the top to fill the space in the boxes? It might be too much of
a pain to mess with, especially if you have a lot of cases. I would
imagine you COULD pull out the paper while you’re sitting in a
parking lot before you go into a store to show your jewelry.

Hope that’s helped some,
Tracy’s Treasures

I have had the same trouble with both Beadalon and Softflex. I
solved it by using a crimp, then a regular bead or two, then a second
crimp. The line runs all the way back through both crimps. This has
worked for me so far, with no crimps coming out. I had tried using
two crimps side by side at the ends, but that came out sometimes
also. I have not tried epoxy - hadn’t thought about that, but wonder
how it would interact with the Beadalon or Softflex? Would it
deteriorate them over time? Don’t know if it would, but wonder.

I look forward to hearing other solutions!

Beth in SC

I solved it by using a crimp, then a regular bead or two, then a
second crimp. The line runs all the way back through both crimps. 

If a necklace is heavy, I always use more than one crimp separated
by several beads. However, it is of prime importance to really look
when you crimp and be sure that your flexwire (beadlon or softflex or
tigertail etc) is in the crimp properly. The flexwire should lie side
by side - the half going through the beads to the clasp should lie
beside the return piece fed through the clasp and back through the
beads. That way each half of the flexwire gets caught flat in the
crimp. Also, be sure that you are not using crimps too big for the
size of the flexwire. Try crimping some pieces of the flexwire by
itself and watch how it feeds through the crimp. Always tug on it to
be sure it’s caught tightly. As a last resort, you can always flatten
the crimp with pliers and that holds for sure. I prefer the shorter
tube crimps if I am going to use more than one as it doesn’t take up
so much space between beads.

Be sure after the first crimp with the pliers that you rotate the
crimp sufficiently before crimping the final time, otherwise it is
possible to reopen the crimp slightly and loosen the wire in it.

I can’t speak to the issue of the effect of epoxy on the flexwire but
would not think it would damage the coating. But you could always
contact the manufacturer and they would be able to tell you.

Hello Everyone:

Thank you for the many helpful answers to the Beadalon questions.
One of the replies I received was actually from Beadalon. I am
forwarding to the group a very useful chart for determining the
correct size crimp tube to use. I can see now that I was using crimps
that were too large and probably stressing the metal by using one too
many squeezes to close the crimp. I hope this chart helps others as
much as it helped me.More is available on their website
for those who would like.

Best Regards,
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

  Crimp beads should be of a size that is as close to our crimp
  beads as possible. Beadalon marks all our spools with the
  suggested crimp bead and or crimp tube number. You should check
  the inside diameter (ID) of the sterling and Goldfilled crimp
  crimp tubes you are using to make sure they are close to our
  sizes as possible. Below you will find our Inside diameters to
  check your beads against. 

  Crimp Bead 
  Size # ID Beadalon Wire Sizes 
  #1 1.3mm (.051").010" to.021" 
  #2 1.5mm (.059").024" to.026" 
  #3 New item coming soon

  Crimp Tube 
  Size # ID 
  #1 0.8mm (.031").010" to.013" 
  #2 1.2mm (.051").013" to.024" 
  #3 1.5mm (.059").024" to.026" 
  #4 2.0mm (.078").026" to.036" 

  It's important that the beads or tubes you are using are the
  correct size. 

  Please also note Silver is a soft metal, and some GF mixtures
  also tend to be "dead soft". Slippage can occur with these soft
Also, I'm hoping you are using a crimping tool, and not just
squeezing the crimp flat? I've seen a lot of people do that, and
their work comes apart the majority of the time.

I have to disagree. I, being totally Scot, could never see the need
for a crimping tool. I tend to not like tools that have only one use.
And I agree that last rounding will undo a good grip from the first
mash. I just mash mine flat, and I use a very small crimp, so that it
is less noticeable. I run the bead cord back through the last few
beads on the necklace/bracelet, never cut it next to the crimp. I
always give it a good tug after I’ve mashed it, just to make sure it
is holding. I also believe the pliers you do use to mash it with will
make a difference. The cheaper pliers just don’t give a good “mash”.
I can’t remember the last time I had a crimp bead “fail”.

CeltCraft Beads & Jewelry


I haven’t followed this entire thread, but just wanted to add that
crimp tools do not work well with base metals. I had lots of trouble
until I learned about this.

Hope this info isn’t a repeat of another post,


Regarding the crimping problem… I prefer Softflex and usually use
the,019 size. You can also get .014 if you work is really delicate,
just be sure to use the appropriate sized crimp beads. They also
have some sort of new very soft and flexible wire, but I haven’t
tried it, only seen it demo’d at a show. As to the crimps, I
discovered something called Tornado crimps made by Via Muano

that work really well to finish the wire using a regular flat nosed
pliers. The inside of the tube has ridges like the design on a barber
pole that catch and hold the wire in place. And they’re very pretty.
Not affiliated, just like their products,


I just mash mine flat, and I use a very small crimp

I used to just mash them as well, but I found that I was breaking a
lot of crimp beads that way. Also, because you need more pressure, I
was cutting into the outside covering (the nylon) thus weakening the
cord overall. I didn’t want to buy a tool just for one use either,
but I used a friend’s one day and realized how useful it is- if you
do a lot of beading. It makes a nicer finish and I haven’t had a
failure or a break since.

Hi Devora:

I have not tried this yet, but a former poster suggested that if you
are having trouble making the first crimp into a "c’ shape with the
crimping pliers then you might consider using a file to modify the
pliers to make a deeper impression. In other words, on the second
opening, you can file deeper grooves to create a more definitive "c"
shape. Does this make sense? I don’t know if that was the problem you
were having with base metal crimps, but I had thought that they were
a bit harder to bend than sterling crimps, so this might help.

Thanks for the suggestion,

Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

I’m not sure that I understand the general hesitancy I’ve been
reading in the responses to spend $13 on a tool. If you were
building a house you wouldn’t refuse to buy a hammer, or the nails.


On crimp beads - I only use the smooth ones, I’ve had problems with
the ‘corrugated’ type. For heavier pieces two or even three crimps
per side are necessary. My technique is this: perform the first crimp
using the crimping pliers, making sure that each side of the crimp
has one of the lengths of wire running through it, then mash it even
flatter with a regular needle-nose. Perform the second crimp with
the crimping pliers, and again mash it tighter with a regular

I have never had any problems since I started doing this.


Hi Kim,

Thanx for your suggestion, but I now mash base metal crimps with
pliers, and use precious metals with my crimp tool. :-))) Coupled
with using the correct size crimp per wire diameter, this has
eliminated any problems. Thanx for replying and keep shining,