Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Beaded Necklaces Keep Breaking


#1

Hello,

I hope that one of you kind Orchidians will help me with a problems
has been plaguing for so long that I have stopped making this
product.

I have been using beadalon and crimp beads to string large stones.
Usually they are round and heavy – often they are 8mm or bigger.

Unfortunately, the necklaces often wind up breaking. They would
usually break around the area where I had made the crimp. I either
crimped with beading pliers or crimping pliers. Also, no matter how
tightly I would string the necklace, there would still be a little gap
of beadalon showing once I was done. To make the ends of the necklace
look nice, I would try cover the part of the beadalon exposed over
the class with those hollow tube thingamajigs – they might be called
cord coils, I am not sure – that are either silver or gold colored
wire and that you slip over the portion of the beadalon that forms
the loop at the end of the crimp bead. I do not know if this item was
affecting the breakage or not.

I refuse to sell these necklaces until I fix this problem.

Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? I have done everything,
including taking a class on this topic and reading a ton of beading
books, so any advice that you have would be much appreciated.

I was for a while stringing necklaces using silk thread but that
poses production problems as well. The brand of thread that I use
only comes in small sizes and it is not large enough for the holes of
these beads. Often some of the larger beads are not reamed uniformly
or smoothly inside and they would actually break the necklaces. Also
silk gets frayed and dirty after a while and the necklaces need to be
restrung. It also take more of my labor to knot the jewelry, so I then
have to pass that price on to the customers.

Any advice that you would have about stringing and crimping with
beadalon – or any other material that you might suggest which is
more durable – would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Hi Annabel

Unfortunately, the necklaces often wind up breaking. They would
usually break around the area where I had made the crimp. I either
crimped with beading pliers or crimping pliers. Also, no matter
how tightly I would string the necklace, there would still be a
little gap of beadalon showing once I was done. To make the ends of
the necklace look nice, I would try cover the part of the beadalon
exposed over the class with those hollow tube thingamajigs -- they
might be called cord coils, 

You are not necessarily doing anything wrong. I have stopped using
crimps as well. I have never had a necklace break (for the customer
anyway) but I was always nervous.

I have started to actually knot the Beadalon itself, just like I
would any other thread. I use an awl to “move” the knot really,
really close to the beads and then I drag the end of the Beadalon
down thru a few more beads. I think I actually used 2 knots to keep
everything more secure. I am using a smaller Beadalon though. I don’t
know if it works as well with the larger sizes. However, as an aside,
I have found that you don’t need as large a size of Beadalon as I
thought (just try to pull on it real hard and see if it breaks).

On the issue of the Beadalon showing…I did get better results
with knotting than with crimping on this issue as well. If your
Beadalon is showing between the large beads (this is something I
don’t like) you can use a smaller bead between each 2 larger beads to
fix it.

On covering the ends with cord coils (also called french wire or
bullion), I have started threading very tiny seed beads on the loop
instead. If you would like a gold or silver look for this, I would
use size 13 or size 15 Czech charlotte beads…which you can
currently get from Knot Just Beads (or so they say in their add in
this month’s issue of Beadwork). These beads are very hard to come by
and go for about 25.00 a hank.

Probably more info than you want/need but there you go.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard


#3

Having the same trouble Annabel with beadalon and crimping and
breakage. This is on the necklaces that are single crimped my teacher
has us beginners double crimp 2 on each end so one is a backup. Maybe
this will help in anycase I am awaiting the responses too.

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#4

Hi,

They would usually break around the area where I had made the
crimp. I either crimped with beading pliers or crimping pliers.
Also, no matter how tightly I would string the necklace, there
would still be a little gap of beadalon showing once I was done. 

Without seeing one of your broken necklaces, it’s difficult to tell
what exactly is causing the problem. However, the probability is the
the beadalon is being cut, even if it’s just a little, by the act of
crimping. Cutting it even just a little reduces it’s life
expectancy.

Crimping requires the crimping sleeve to apply pressure to the
cable/wire/thread being held. However the pressure needs to be
controlled. If it’s too great, the integrity of the
cable/wire/thread will be compromised & it will fail prematurely. If
the pressure isn’t great enough, the cable/wire/thread won’t be held
securely & the crimp will fail by pulling loose.

A quality crimping pliers should have an adjustable stop on it that
can be set to only allow the pliers to close a definite amount. The
amount it needs to close is dependent on the size of the material
being crimped & the dimensions of he crimp itself. The exact setting
for each type of cable/wire/thread & crimp needs to be determined
experimentally, but once established will always work for that
combination of components.

To make the ends of the necklace look nice, I would try cover the
part of the beadalon exposed over the class with those hollow tube
thingamajigs 

Two terms I’ve heard for your ‘thingamajigs’ are: bullion & french
wire.

Dave


#5

Have tried using “foxtail”? There is a great demo of how to use this
wire when finishing a strand of heavy beads in the Rio Grande
(countertop) catalogs in this one it is on page 378 of the 2003
catalog. This is a great material to use for heavy pieces, I
especially like that I can solder the jump ring closed when I’m done
to ensure that nothing breaks or falls off. I think if you give this
a whirl you’ll be so happy!!!

Shawna
www.silversupplies.com
Tucson Az


#6

Annabel,

My solution for crimp problems is a new tool by Beadsmith. It’s
called the Magical crimp forming tool. I saw them demonstrated in
Tucson and was sold on them for my personal beading and my husband
and I ordered several dozen pairs for our bead store.

There are a few restrictions in using the tool - you must use .018 or
.019 wire - either Beadalon or SoftFlex, whatever your preference.
It requires a 2mm x 2mm crimping tube and the crimp tube must be
sterling silver, gold filled or copper. Silver or gold plate will
work, but because of the plating process, the color will come off.

What this “Magical” tool does is turns that 2mm tube into a 2mm
ROUND crimp. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure to make the crimp, so
you are less likely to break the crimp or the wire. The crimp is
strong, too.

I had a couple of “biker dudes” come in a couple of days ago looking
for something that make a crimp that would hold up to 110 mph wind.
I gave them a demonstration of the tool and they had a “tug of war”

  • each one with a pair of pliers holding one side of the loop and
    pulled firmly. The wire and the crimp passed the “test” and they
    bought a pair.

With the “Magicals” you can place the crimp practically next to the
clasp (or close enough for flexibility) without having a big loop to
try to tighten. (IMHO, that probably is part of the reason why I
have problems with crimping and wire.)

There’s a video demo on my store’s website, so you can see how they
work.

When you are crimping, you don’t want to pull the wire so tightly
that there isn’t any “give” with it - a TINY portion of the wire
will/should show so that there is a little flexibility. If you think
about cutting thread, a tight thread cuts more easily than one
that’s hanging limp.

You didn’t say what size Beadalon you’re using. For large stones,
you should be using thicker diameter -.018 or .019 is a good choice.
You should also be using at least 19 strand, but I would use 49
strand both for the strength and the greater flexibility.

The “hollow tube thingamajigs” you are talking about are called
"French wire" and they are supposed to protect your wire from wear
and breakage at the loop on the clasp. I haven’t used them, so I
can’t say for sure one way or the other how they work or if they do.

Usual disclaimer: other than carrying the above named products in my
store, I have no affiiation with any of the manufacturers of any of
the above named products.

Deb Weller
Weller’s Jewelry LLC
dba AZ Bead Depot
Apache Junction, AZ
www.azbeaddepot.com


#7

Annabel,

I used to work with heavy stones and made beaded necklaces as well.
It has been a long time since I worked in this medium but I double
and triple strung mine and used the steel wire. I found this to be
more than adequate. I also went through the stones once, added my
clasp and a crimp and then went back through the whole piece before
finishing at the other end. I left extra wire at the last end and
pulled it back through three or four of the beads and cut it so the
cut piece was tucked inside a bead. This kept the piece nice and
tight without any space.

Hope this helps,
Delias


#8

My teacher had me double crimp too and this did not helps. It seems
as if the act of crimping was in fact cutting the beadalon. What
should I do?


#9

Thanks, Dave, yes, I would use french wire. Would that also
potentially cause the breakage? Also, the act of crimping might have
been cutting the beadalon. What crimping pliers do you recommend I
get? Do you have the name of a good brand? Thanks a ton.


#10

Thanks, Deb. Does these magical pliers work with 14K, 18k and 24K
gold? I use sterling silver but I am also upgrading some of my line
to gold.


#11

Hi Annabel,

Check out this Rio link,
http://riogrande.com/tips/tips_detail.asp?category=Beads_and_Stringing
it will show you many ways to finish off your necklaces, including
French wire. I have found that French wire takes a bit of practice,
but it does look good and protects your thread and I’m sure what ever
material you may choose to use.

Best wishes
Tina
Cork, Ireland


#12
Unfortunately, the necklaces often wind up breaking. They would
usually break around the area where I had made the crimp. I either
crimped with beading pliers or crimping pliers. 

Is it around the area of the crimp or at the crimp? Also, what gauge
stringing wire are you using? I’ve never felt comfortable with a
crimp on anything smaller than 19 or 49.013. I crimp with the
crimping tool that folds the crimp over and then I give it a pinch
with the flat pliers and a tug to check for security before I clip
any excess. If you fill in between larger beads with very small seed
beads or something similar size, the wire won’t show. When you run a
tail back through an inch or so, end it between two larger beads or a
larger one and a small one, not two small ones, because it can be a
little pokey; and just snug it down before you crimp. It’s a little
tricky, but also as someone else has suggested, cover the wire with
seed beads of a coordinating color or silver or gold beads to finish
it. A smidge (less than 1mm) showing around the crimp won’t be
noticed; besides, you need a little play for flexibility of the
finished string, otherwise it will be too stiff and tight.

Hope this helps.
Veronica


#13

Stringing the necklaces tightly may be the problem. Before closing
the crimp, circle the necklace/bracelet on a table. If the item
doesn’t easily form a circle, your necklace is too tight. Tightness
causes tension on the crimp and the wire. This is the most common
reason for breakage.

Another suggestion is to verify the crimp is correct. The wire
should be on either side of the closed crimp before taking the next
step of forming the rounded tube. Failure of crimps is the second
most common reason for breakage, usually caused by failure to crimp
properly.

The third suggestion is to rethread the excess wire back through the
beads before crimping. Doing so will greatly strengthen the
stringing. One of the most common mistakes that I have seen from
beginners (I am an instructor so I see many), is that they cut the
wire far too short.

The wire used for stringing may be one of the cheapest components of
your necklace. I always advise my students to add an extra 7 to 9
inches when measuring your wire. Obviously, it is far easier to cut a
wire rather than add on to it. Students will often try to cut the
wire right after the crimp. As I said earlier, this should be
avoided. Instead, string the wire back into the beads, approximately
3 to 4 inches (if the bead holes permit).

Another tip is to “test” the crimp before going to much further. I
advise students to try to pull on the initial crimp before stringing
the rest. If it holds at that point, it will probably hold for quite
a while in the finished project.

Good luck.


#14

Using a crimping tool will help. I can’t recommend the micro
crimper, though. If you don’t know how to use it, place the crimp in
the space which is closest to the hand grips on the pliers. Squash
the crimp, then move it into the other space, closer to the front of
the pliers. Round off the crimp in that space. Tug at it to make sure
it’s secure. If it’s going to break, it will happen then. That gives
you the opportunity to see where you’ve gone wrong, before you finish
off your item.

The other thing which lets people down is not having good enough
quality jumprings. I import mine from Gena Houghton at
http://www.preciousmaille.com Her rings are of exceptional quality.
They give a very reassuring “click” when they are being closed.

Finally, make sure you’re using the right size of
Softflex/Softtouch/Beadalon wire for the job you’re doing. The finer
guages are meant to be used for stringing seed beads or pearls.

I hope that helps.
Morna


#15

On the issue of the Beadalon showing Pull the wire tight. Through
time, it does slacken off anyway. If you’re not happy with having the
crimps showing, there are now crimp covers available. Just do a
search and you’ll get lots of beady businesses which stock them. I
got mine from Rio Grande.

I think this is just a stage you’re going through with your
stringing materials breaking. I had the same problem too, but with
perseverance and practise you’ll get better. It’s just like any
craft, or new technique.

Morna


#16

Necklace crimping derived from making strong fishing leaders.
Instructions come from there.

This show plain nylon in the pictures but the technique is the same
for cable:

http://www.leadertec.com/tipsandtechniques/crimp_techniques.html

you can search crimping fishing leaders for more

jesse


#17

Something to remember when crimping… Make sure that you crimp flat
onto the beadalon, or whatever material you use. If you crimp at an
angle you’re pushing a sharp edge into the cord which will cut it. I
use basic crimping plyers from Rio. Haven’t had a problem in ages. I
use the largest cord possible, and only one crimp bead on each end
with french wire.

Someone suggested using french wire and they seem to have implied
that this can be used instead of a crimp bead. If I misunderstood
the post, I apologize. But, i wanted to clarify: french wire is only
decorative. It hides the bead cord (whatever material you use),
making the piece look a little more finished. You still need a crimp
bead to secure the piece.

Happy beading!
Amery


#18

Annabel,

I don’t use Beadalon. I’ve only used Softflex or Softtouch wire,
sterling or gold-filled crimps, and french wire finishing on dozens
of pieces. I have never had a necklace or bracelet break. Don’t know
if it is the beadalon or not, but try softflexcompany.com products
and see if it makes a difference for you.

Chris (amateur)


#19
The wire used for stringing may be one of the cheapest components
of your necklace. 

Thanks so much for all of your advice. The qoute above is so true! It
is always so interesting for me to see people stringing costly gems
and expensive precious metals on such cheap string as foxtail and
beadalon. When I first started several years ago, I was in such
disbelief about using such cheap wire to string that I used silver to
string my gems until someone told me that this was a bad idea. I am
still surprised when I see people not even using french wire to
finish a necklace and charging hundreds or thousands for a necklace or
bracelet. I have seen this often at high end stores. Oh well, to each
their own.

In any event, let me get to my follow-up question, Lillie: What
brands of string do you recommend?


#20

Dear all,

How about this: my necklaces are fine at the crimp. They break
someplace else on the strand. I have been trying to figure out why
this has happened. All of a sudden, about a month ago, four of my
favorite necklaces all broke within days of each other. They were all
strung on tigertail, Beadalon bead stringing wire, nylon coated
stainless steel, .018", 20 lbs.

These necklaces were not heavy. All three were strung with semi
precious beads, and two had small silver medallions hanging from the
center. Two broke in the front, and the one of only beads, broke on
the side. They were all strung about two years ago, around the same
time. I take this to mean that this wire has a life of about two
years. I am also thinking that perhaps perfume oil, body lotion, may
degrade the strength of the nylon coating? I wonder about that
though, because I have a bracelet I made at the same time, that has
not broken, and I wear it everyday, never take it off…bite my
tongue!!!

Any thoughts? Ant similar experiences?

Best,
Bayla