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Beaded Necklaces Keep Breaking


#21

Thanks for asking. The answer depends on the look and the items you
wish to place on the wire. For simple stringing, without the wire
showing, I like the Softflex, 49 strand, for anything that is
remotely heavy, has beads that I just don’t want to lose, and/or I’m
selling it for a good profit.

The cheaper stuff (meaning the lower strand Beadalon) is okay. (I
find that Softflex is stronger than Beadalon.) If one is worried
about a small amount of wire that may show, as may happen if you need
a piece that has more flex, I tend to go with a darker color of wire,
such as black.

If I make a piece that calls for the wire/cable as part of the
design, such as with stones widely spaced apart, I don’t use wire at
all. At that point, I use silver chain, or, if I don’t want the chain
to be that noticeable, I use a silver cable (which is a very fine
chain). If the piece calls for a black chain/cable, I dip the chain
into a solution that will oxidize the silver to a dark color. One
type of solution that will do that is liver of sulfur. There are
other solutions that are easier to use that will work as well. There
are even solutions that will give the chain a gold or green patina.

Keep in mind, however, that the fine cable is more likely to break
if holding a heavier stone or bead. In those cases, I use a chain
that is delicate looking but has some staying power and, for the
smaller holed beads, I wire wrap the beads and attach the wire to the
chain.

One other thought in the discussion of breaking crimps. I strongly
discourage anyone from using anything but silver crimps. The cheaper
stuff is weak and much harder to use. And, the nicer crimps come in a
multitude of sizes, so that one can use the crimp that best fits the
wire.

Good luck with your project and let me know if I can answer any
questions for you further. If you want more help, we can connect on
the telephone and do a long distance crimping walk-through. Lil


#22

A really sneaky culprit for broken necklaces especially, is a bead
that has a rough edge at the drill hole. It acts just like a tiny
saw blade and over a period of time, will slice through just about
anything.

Personally, I have never cared for Beadalon or Tigertail. A much
better bet for your money really is Soft Flex. (no affiliation, just
satisfied!)

Betty


#23

Hi, Bayla,

I have found that sometimes semi precious stones have sharp edges
(very tiny) inside the drilled channels. One notorious for breaking
even the thickest of cords is Quartz Crystal. The same applies for
some Jaspers that have Quartz inclusions. When they have sharp edges
they will break the cord in a clean cut. When the cord has reached
it’s peak and breaks the edges tend to be frayed. Take a good look at
the break point with a loupe if necessary.

In my experience when they break at the crimp point there are a few
different reasons:

-The cord was crushed during crimping;

-The beads are too heavy for the thickness of the cord;

-The crimp beads have sharp edges. (Once I received a batch of
crimping tube that were poorly finished at the inside edge and almost
all pieces broke within a very short period of time. Luckily I
figured out fast and stopped using them)

-Crimp covers can also have sharp edges. I would check those if you
use them.

Best of luck and have fun beading!
Vera Battemarco


#24

Hello,

If I missed these answers in an earlier post I apologize. I have
been beading for over 20 years and have a couple of things to shaRe:

  1. When I string really heavy beads I use a clothes hanger with
    clips, i.e., for skirts and slacks. I hang one unfinished end from
    the hanger clip for about 24 hours. This allows any natural stretch
    that might occur in the wire to occur before you finish it. This
    always takes care of that extra bit of wire or string you sometimes
    see at the end. Think of it like work hardening the wire before
    completing the piece.

  2. When using natural beads and gemstones you should check the holes
    of each bead to ensure they do not have any rough edges. If they do,
    either pick a different one or use a bead reamer to smooth the edges.
    This will prevent sharp edges from the bead rubbing a break point
    into your wire.

  3. I use beadalon and accuflex in the right gauge for the stones I
    am working with, the highest possible tensile strength that will fit
    through the bead.

  4. Crimping is so important and I always use two crimps separated by
    a bead AND I run the tail through several other beads before cutting
    the ends. It means that sometimes I have to finish the ends of the
    necklace with gold or silver beads with a larger hole to ensure the
    wire will fit through twice. I have never had any complains and,
    knock on wood, never had a break!!

I hope this helps. It is my first Post so if I made a mistake just
let me know!

Lynn Vernon


#25

Thanks to all of you who have responded to this thread! I am very
grateful. Another question for you – when you are beading a necklace
with a pendant, do you just string the pendant along into the section
of the necklace that you would like to string it on (i.e. if you want
to add the pendant to the middle of a necklace, then just string half
of the beads, add the pendant, and string the other half) or do you
use any other techniques when adding a pendant? Also,when adding
pendants, do you prefer to use the silk knot method (i.e. knotting
between each bead/pendant) or do you prefer to use wire? I would like
to add rather large pendants to single or multi-strand necklaces.


#26
I have found that sometimes semi precious stones have sharp edges
(very tiny) inside the drilled channels. One notorious for breaking
even the thickest of cords is Quartz Crystal. 

I use quartz all the time! What do you recommend – is it necessary
to clean the inside of the beads? Is there another technique that you
would recommend?

Thanks.


#27

Hello everyone,

Most of the time I used nymo for my bead stringing. I just started
to use beadalon because I thought it is strong to hold a barefoot
sandal. If it is still holding or not I haven’t heard yet from the
lady I made it for.

Please would you be kind to explain what is the difference between
softflex and beadalon, like strenght, price etc. Which would you
prefer if you have only one choise?

What would you use for stringing 2mm precious stones like sapphire,
ruby and emerald beads?

Thank you,
Kind regards,
Oya Borahan


#28
What would you use for stringing 2mm precious stones like sapphire,
ruby and emerald beads? 

I don’t know if someone has answered this question, for you, so if I
am double-posting, I apologize in advance. I would personally string
these on silk thread and knot in between each of them. It would be
terrible if the thread broke and these precious gems were lost! I
don’t have the answer to the other questions you asked, I’m afraid.

This leads me to two more questions of my own:

  1. I am considering using Gudebrod silk thread, perhaps doubled or
    tripled up, for my beaded necklaces. I would not knot between all but
    the most precious stones, so it would be, for the most part, an
    unknotted necklace on silk thread. I would only knot the ends, I hope
    that this picture makes sense. They would be knotted at the ends and
    attached to the closures with clamshells. I would usually use pearls
    or semi-precious stones. Would this work? Or would it be better for
    me to try to figure out what is causing the Beadalon/Softflex to
    break and use the Beadalon/Softlex instead?

I am concerned about the stretching that always seems to take place
with silk thread, no matter how much I try to stretch it out before
using it. I am also concerned that silk tends to look ratty after a
while and needs to be restrung.

  1. I went back to look at the necklaces that were breaking and I
    realized that one of the necklaces wasn’t actually breaking but had a
    faulty clasp. The other one had been DOUBLE-CRIMPED using a special
    crimping tool. The ones that were crimped only once (i.e. were flat
    instead of crimped flat and folded over) did not break.

Is there a way for me to double-crimp and avoid the breakage? I would
like to do this, because then I can put crimp covers over the crimps
and hide them. I would love to hear more from you all about this. I
have thought about all of the helpful comments that you all gave me
on this thread over the past few months, so I had to dig it up to ask
about the few last issues on this topic that I had been mulling over
for a while.

Thanks in advance for any responses.


#29

I recently strung a strand of rubies with tiny holes, and I had a
similar problem with breakage, especially with the very fine silk
thread. I finally strung them on Dandyline, from Rio. It comes in a
very fine thickness and is extremely strong.

Janet Kofoed


#30

I use the double crimp fold-over method all the time. What gauge
wire are you using? .012, .018? The really fine stuff will probably
break. I use .018 at least and after I double crimp, I use a
flat-nose and give it a GENTLE squish on both sides because sometimes
the second fold-over crimp doesn’t hold tight enough. The key is
GENTLE. Don’t kill it, or the edge of the crimp bead will cut right
through the .012.

V.


#31
I am considering using Gudebrod silk thread, perhaps doubled or
tripled up, for my beaded necklaces. I would not knot between all
but the most precious stones...I would only knot the ends> 

Silk thread is a traditional stringing technique, so no problems
there. But if you are getting breakage in the body of the necklace,
you probably have some rough spots inside the beads that are abrading
the silk and causing it to fray and finally break. In that case you
may need to look at a flexible wire material such as SoftFlex or
Beadalon instead of the silk.

I am concerned about the stretching that always seems to take place
with silk thread, no matter how much I try to stretch it out before
using it.> Prestretch your silk. My preferred method is taking the
thread, tying a 

coffee cup to each end, and draping it over a door for 24-48 hours.
After removing the tension, I try to use the thread as quickly as
possible - within 1 to 2 hours if possible - so that the thread
doesn’t relax back into its’ old configuration.

clasp. The other one had been DOUBLE-CRIMPED using a special
crimping tool. The ones that were crimped only once (i.e. were flat
instead of crimped flat and folded over) did not break. Is there a
way for me to double-crimp and avoid the breakage?> 

I am surprised by this since proper usage of a crimp plier will
usually allow for a stronger crimp and a nicer ending. But, also keep
in mind that crimps are made for stringing wires, not fabrics or
polymers, and they will (potentially) cut other products because they
have sharp metal edges cutting across the stringing material when
they are compressed to close them. I still think the crimp plier is
the best solution, but if you are using a non-wire product, I
probably wouldn’t crimp at all, but would rather tie a knot. Good
luck with the project.

BBR - Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co


#32

Hi Annabel,

I stopped using crimps on my SoftFlex and Beadalon pieces after I
had a couple necklaces break in my hands while showing them to a
wholesale customer (fortunately, a good and understanding customer).
Haven’t used them for years… and it never ceases to amaze me to see
them on expensive pieces in that jewelry catalog out of Utah that we
all love to browse. You can knot either of these stringing products,
which is how I end my strung pieces when I use nylon coated wire. It
takes a bit of practice to get a knot nice and tight into a bead tip,
but I’ve only had them break when a customer wears them every
day… for long periods of time. They are, after all, just wire under
that nylon coat … and excessive wear (in both senses of the word)
will ultimately break the wire. What will occasionally happen with
the bead tip ending is that a customer catches the clasp on
something, the bead tip opens, and the clasp falls off … but the
rest of the piece remains intact. No beads all over the floor. I get
a lot of “repairs” of this kind on bracelets (people are hard on
bracelets). But only rarely do I have to do anything other than
replace the clasp piece that was lost or just re-attach it to the
bead tip.

The routine I use is to tie a couple knots into one tidy knot on one
end of my nylon coated wire (three knots, if using.010 in. diameter
wire), leaving about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch tail, and string through a
bead tip… then string the piece, including the second bead tip. Set
the piece down, make a loop in the end of your wire and with a T pin
inside the loop pull it as close to the bead tip cup as possible.
Pick up a small pair of round nose pliers, position them on the side
of the loop opposite the bead tip cup (so that the loop is between
the round nose pliers and the bead tip), pick up a pair of flat nose
pliers to use as a grip on the end of the wire, pull on the wire and
slide the round nose pliers to tighten the loop into a knot and move
it closer to the bead tip. Don’t worry if there’s a small space
between the knot and bead tip when you’re done, because you’re going
to do it again. Just make sure that when you make a second loop and
repeat the pulling and tightening of the wire, that the second loop
sets between the first knot and the bead tip. If you’ve done it
correctly, the second knot will take up the space left between the
first knot and the bead tip. Cut the excess wire, again leaving a bit
of a tail. To assure the knot stays put and doesn’t unravel, take a
lighter to the “tail” on each end… once you get comfortable with
this procedure, you can even allow the melting process that occurs to
continue into the knot itself. Snip the residue close to avoid
leaving anything outside the perimeter of the bead tip that might
scratch skin. If you have a little black on your bead tip, just
shine it off with a jewelry cleaning cloth before attaching your
clasp.

Hope that helps… it probably sounds more complicated than it is,
but it’s worth the effort to avoid having customers come back to you
with half the beads from a piece because your crimp bead broke.

I also use this procedure as a sort of marketing ploy at shows: at
some of the smaller shows I do in my area, almost without exception
all other strung jewelry in the show end in crimp beads; I make it a
point to educate on this point - and have even gotten restringing
jobs when customers have brought me pieces made by others to restring
using bead tips. At one show where I was the first booth in the door,
I had a lot of people stop and look, listen to my bead tip spiel if
the opportunity presented itself, and return after viewing all the
crimp beads at other booths. I educate on other topics as well, but
this one seems to make it’s way into their brains and makes an
impression… crimp beads - break and lose; bead tips, open up but
retain.

Depending upon the beads you use, and their heft, you may want to
also consider stringing on beading chain. I really don’t like using
SoftFlex’s “heavy” wire (.024 in. diameter) because the knots are
rather large and require a different size bead tip. If you’ve got
beads heavy enough to require.024 in. diameter wire, beading chain is
probably a viable alternative.

Good luck!
Karan


#33
crimp beads - break and lose; bead tips, open up but retain. 

I have to say that I don’t agree with this assessment. Having used
1000’s of crimp beads in my projects over the years, and having had
none of them break (although I have had the wire break in a couple of
annoying projects) I can say that a properly fastened crimp bead will
hold extremely well.

BBR - Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co


#34

This is a repeat of an earlier post.

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.

For strong leaders double crimping is a no-no.

jesse


#35
Necklace crimping derived from making strong fishing leaders.
Instructions come from there. 

My husband is always describing my jewelry as big fishing lures. From
this reference, it feels closer to the truth. :-}}


#36

crimp beads - break and lose; bead tips, open up but retain.

I have to say that I don't agree with this assessment. Having used
1000's of crimp beads in my projects over the years, and having had
none of them break (although I have had the wire break in a couple
of annoying projects) I can say that a properly fastened crimp bead
will hold extremely well. 

But… when it doesn’t hold, you lose beads. I had bracelets with
crimp beads I bought long before I began making jewelry myself, and
after a couple of those broke at the crimp, I restrung them all. If
you think about it, there’s nothing holding that wire there but the
pressure being applied against it when you squish a crimp bead onto
and around it vs a knot sitting snuggly within the confines of a
bead tip with no way out but the itsy bitsy little hole through which
you threaded it. And if you melt the knot a little as I described,
there’s no way it’s coming unraveled. I’m just an anal-retentive,
methodical perfectionist at heart, and it affected me greatly (not
to mention embarrassed me) to have a beautiful piece come apart in a
customer’s hands. And while I thought I had the crimp thing down to
an art… they always looked great and felt snug… perhaps the blame
was mine. But with bead tips I no longer feel that fear that a piece
will come apart… either while I’m showing it to someone, or down
the road when they’ve owned it for a good long time.


#37

Jessie

that’s neat about crimping for leaders, but they
unfortunately don’t make sterling crimps with double tubes. That
would, indeed solve the problem of trying to keep the two sections of
the beading wire separated within the crimp. The main problem I think
is not with the first crimping pass, which crimps the tube into two
sections, but lies with the second crimping action which is to close
the two sections into a round one. If you don’t properly position the
crimp in the rounding slot on the pliers, you can simply undo the
previous crimping action. If it is properly crimped, it should hold -
but again, there is a “watch out” factor - if you crimp too hard, you
may nick the flex wire and then you have problems. I’ve used crimps
for years and only had a few that didn’t hold well and that was,
again, the problem of either crimping too tight, or not positioning
the crimp correctly in the rounding slot.

But it’s comforting to know that the leaders hold well.

Kay


#38

When I crimp something, I really pull on it hard and twist it around
in circles and give it some hell. I want to make sure it isn’t coming
apart before I finish the darned thing. But it gives me pause to
consider that if it breaks, beads and findings and expensive center
pieces go flying. The only really secure way to ensure that doesn’t
happen is to knot between each bead. Just knotting on the end is
tantamount to crimping the end. Stress from wearing or catching it on
something can still very realistically break it. I made a watch for a
girlfriend of mine (the devil is in the word “friend”) had me make a
watch for her teenage daughter for Christmas. It was lovely and she
loved it. She wore it every day, literally. She broke it three times.
When I looked at the wire as I fixed it, it was torn and frayed at
the watch site (some of those watches are sharp where the wire goes
through). But it wasn’t cut. She would slide her backpack off her
arm and just rip the darned thing off every time. I told her mother
this is what was most likely happening, and she said that, oh, no,
her daughter said it just fell off. Yeah, right. She finally stopped
asking me to repair it, thank goodness.

My point is, no un-knotted piece is safe. And it’s just beaded
jewelry. Albeit beautiful, it’s not a heirloom, at least as far as my
stuff is concerned.

But you do have to use the heaviest wire you can and not crimp too
hard and really yank on the thing to test it.

V.


#39
The main problem I think is not with the first crimping pass,
which crimps the tube into two sections, but lies with the second
crimping action which is to close the two sections into a round
one. If you don't properly position the crimp in the rounding slot
on the pliers, you can simply undo the previous crimping action. If
it is properly crimped, it should hold - but again, there is a
"watch out" factor - if you crimp too hard, you may nick the flex
wire and then you have problems. 

I agree with this. I realize that the beaded necklaces that broke
were those that had been crimped twice in the fashion that you
described above. While crimping like this allows one to add on crimp
covers, I find that it can be problematic for me in terms of making
a necklace that does not break.


#40

Forget the crimp covers and just use pliers to give the crimp an
extra squish on either side (not too much or you’ll just cut the
wire) and give it a tug to make sure it holds.

Veronica