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,