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Pearl restringing thread


#1

What is the most common thread # used for pearl restringing?


#2
What is the most common thread # used for pearl restringing? 

Griffen #2 by far

Roger


#3

I don’t know what is most commonly used. I use silk. I have 4 sizes
that I usually use. They are D, E, F, and FF. I use it doubled (one
strand through a wire needle with a collapsible eye and knotted). I
select the thickness of the thread by looking at two things. One, the
size of the holes in my beads or pearls. Two, how big of a knot I
want between my beads or pearls. For instance, I don’t want big fat
knots between 4mm pearls and I don’t want small knots that
"disappear" into a large drill hole. Also if the strand is a little
short or long for the customer; larger knots can add some length.

Leslie


#4
What is the most common thread # used for pearl restringing? 

If you buy silk (or synthetic) on a card with a needle already
attached to the 2 meters of thread, the size will be identified with
numbers - #1 being the smallest up to # 8 the largest. With this
method you will be using a single thread through each pearl. If you
are going to be doing many stringings, buy silk on a spool where size
is identified by a letter - A, B, C, D, E, F, FF, FFF (you can also
get 0 and 00 which are very fine on spools). Using spooled thread,
you will need to use a needle and the thread will be doubled (or
quadrupled!).

I use thread on spools and prefer this because I can get my knots
closer to the pearl or bead more consistently than I can with a
single thread. I findI use D and E most of the time for pearls. I use
the heaviest thread I can get through the end pearls twice (unless it
would make the knots look too large in relationship to the pearls,
then I back down a size). Measure 4 times the length of the beads,
thread a needle and knot the two ends so the thread is doubled (and
twice as long as the beads waiting to be strung now) and go through
the end 4 beads, thread the French wire and clasp on and go back
through the end bead. Tie an overhand knot, pass the needle through
the next to end bead and pull on each of the 4 threads to get the
knot snugged up tight between the 2 beads. If the holes in the beads
are too large and the knots might slip inside, I sometimes tie a
double knot by passing the thread through the loop twice but this is
more difficult to get all the threads of the knot to lay smooth.
Tying 2 knots side by side does not work as they will separate
eventually. Feel free to email me if you want/need any more

jeanette
CVG
Custom Pearl and Bead Stringing
(919) 522-9044


#5
What is the most common thread # used for pearl restringing? 

I use the thickest thread that goes through the pearls when it’s
doubled. Usually, that’s Gudebrod silk D or E from a spool so it has
a nice gentle curve to it. If sharp-edged stones or metal beads are
also in the necklace, I use Stringth #0 or #1, which is much tougher
than silk but knots and drapes the same way.

DK
http://www.colorspark.com


#6
Using spooled thread, you will need to use a needle and the thread
will be doubled (or quadrupled!). 

It is MUCH easier to string pearls or beads if you make a needle out
of your silk thread rather than use a metal needle. Then you can use
the thickest thread, doubled, that will fit through the pearls so
it’s a stronger necklace, and the knots made will be just the right
size for those pearls. Plus, using a silk needle, the threads stay
smooth and untangled because there’s no needle to twist around, and
the thread won’t break where it’s looped through the needle eye
(because there is no loop and no eye).

The only time I may use a metal needle is when putting the thread
back through the last three pearls after going through the French
wire and clasp ring. Sometimes the silk needle has gotten too soft
to force more thread through the ending pearls even when they’ve
been reamed and have a bigger hole. If that’s the case, I cut the
silk needle off and use a flexible metal needle with a collapsing
eye to pull each thread separately through the final pearls to knot
and finish off.

To make a silk needle, measure your thread (4 times length of
necklace plus an extra 8-12"), cut and fold in half. Lay the two
ends on a smooth surface such as a mirror or tile, hold them down
about 2" from the end, and with your other hand scrape with a bench
knife to untwist and remove some fibers. You’ll end up with two flat
fans of threads that get gradually thinner toward the ends, and
you’ll have a pile of fuzz to throw away. If the knife is too sharp,
you may cut the thread so just start over with a lighter touch or a
duller knife. Then, using a hat pin or toothpick, coat the thinned
thread ends with gum arabic, lift them up from the tile, and tightly
twist the two ends together while the glue is drying. Then let the
needle hang freely over the edge of a table until the glue is
completely dry. A chemical bond forms between the silk and gum
arabic, and you end up with a hard sharp point that used to be soft
silk. You can trim with scissors if the tip is too wispy, or if the
tip starts to soften after putting it through lots of pearls. If you
make a silk needle that’s about 2" long, you can snip off or angle
the tip whenever it gets too soft and still have a sturdy needle to
work with.

This only works with silk and gum arabic, and only works if some of
the fiber is removed. If the thread ends are not thinned out, adding
gum arabic just makes the threads fatter and they don’t taper to a
fine point that easily goes through the little holes in pearls.

DK
http://www.colorspark.com


#7

I just recently started stringing pearls on silk and using French
coils next to the clasp. I encountered a number of difficulties, to
which I found my own solutions.

I used a single thickness of silk (the most appropriate size to go
through the hole in the pearls) and (with much difficulty at first)
threaded a fine beading needle. The last three pearls on each end
were drilled out further for the silk to run back through them.

However, because the silk was threaded through an ordinary beading
needle, it was doubled for a short distance, and so the thread had
to be a narrow enough gauge to allow for that. As such, when knotting
between the pearls, the knots were slipping into the holes, and so I
decided to do two knots. I tried to do a French knot where you make
two loops and put the work through them both, but they wouldn’t
tighten neatly. So I just did two knots. However, the difficulty with
that is that no matter how careful you are to do the second knot on
top of the first knot, it can at some point, and with little force,
pull off the first knot, so that you end up with the knots side by
side, with them once again going inside the pearls, and with a
resultant space between two pearls which is too big. My solution was
to do the first not next to the pearl, but not pulling it tightly
against the pearl. Then I did the second knot by making sure that
the loop was between the first knot and the pearl. When pulled tight,
it sat nicely over the first knot, but would not pull off.

The French wire (or gimp as it’s called in the UK - not sure why)
posed its own problems. I found that I had to loupe the cut ends to
make sure that I had cut it cleanly, as sometimes my flush cutters
would bend the end of the wire into the opening of the French wire.
So I’d have to cut it again until the opening was clean. Also, I
probably purchased it with too small a hole and so I had great
difficulty actually getting the eye of the needle with its doubled
silk to go through it. It would regularly just unravel down the silk
as I tried to thread it. So I kept having to untangle it, cut
another piece and try again. In the end, the only way I could do it
was to pull the silk almost out of the needle, so that just a couple
of millimeters of silk were doubled, then it would thread
successfully.

In the end, I managed to iron out all my problems, and made a few
really neat pieces which hung beautifully, running up to Christmas.
I’ll try French wire with a larger diameter next time, and I may try
using the silk as a needle itself, so that I don’t have to do two
knots, and I’m sure that will give an even better result. I did find
it very therapeutic though, and something I’ll be doing again.

Helen
UK


#8
I'll try French wire with a larger diameter next time, and I may
try using the silk as a needle itself, so that I don't have to do
two knots, and I'm sure that will give an even better result. 

I do very little pearl knotting, but I have struggled with the
French wire (bouillion, gimp, whatever), finding that if it is larger
than necessary, it tends to not lie right, looking messy in the final
result. What a PITA!

In any case, I have had some success with the silk by stiffening the
last inch or so with super glue instead of using a needle.

Noel


#9

Helen,

In the end, I managed to iron out all my problems,... I'll try
French wire with a larger diameter next time, and I may try using
the silk as a needle itself, so that I don't have to do two knots,
and I'm sure that will give an even better result. 

If you make a needle out of the silk threads, all those problems you
described with knot size and consistency will no longer exist. And
you’ll be able to pull two strands through, which makes the necklace
much stronger.

As you found out, the French wire needs to be big enough to fit over
the threads snugly, but not so tightly it stretches out when threads
are pulled through. There’s almost always a little bur or two left
when you cut the French wire. Angle the bur outward so it won’t
catch the threads going through, and then it can either be tucked
into the last big-hole pearl or metal finishing bead, or cut off
with your flush cutters after the French wire is pulled tight,
threads are knotted, and the necklace is finished.

Using a needle made from silk also makes it easier to pull the
threads through the French wire. After learning how to make a silk
needle, I never struggled with a metal needle again. So please give
it a try (now that you’ve earned an A+ for perseverance :-).

Debra
http://www.colorspark.com


#10
I do very little pearl knotting, but I have struggled with the
French wire..., finding that if it is larger than necessary, it
tends to not lie right, looking messy in the final result. 

Yes, looks messy and doesn’t do its job of protecting the threads
from being worn away by the metal end ring. The French wire needs to
fit snugly on the threads so that when they’re pulled tightly into
the final bead, the French wire becomes a solid(ish) bit of curved
metal.

What a PITA! 

Yes! Can be.

In any case, I have had some success with the silk by stiffening
the last inch or so with super glue instead of using a needle. 

You’ll have definite and consistent success if you remove some of
the silk fibers, coat with gum arabic, twist threads together into a
sharp point, and let dry until it’s a hard needle.

Unlike super glue, gum arabic is water soluble so it’s easy to wash
off hands.

Debra
http://www.colorspark.com


#11

Helen,

I thought that you were suppose to use the tying thread doubled, so
you use the largest thread that works when doubled. That way you
have no difficulties with the added size just beyond the needle, yet
the final thread for knotting is the same each time. This should make
the knots bigger as well. Just my off handed opinion, as I have yet
to try knotting, I have the tools, just not the time to try yet, so I
am waiting your final solution.

Tom
Designs by Suz


#12

Helen - When I’ve used gimp in the past, I just used a razor blade to
cut it. Much easier and less fuss than using any standard type of
wire clipper. You may also want to make yourself a wire needle that
merges with the actual string strand instead of a beading needle
which requires you to have double thickness. It will make your
thread slightly thicker for the length of the needle, but not as much
as threading it through a standard needle.

Sandra Graves, Isis Rising


#13

Hi, Helen -

I think you’re taking the long way home when knotting pearls.

While you can use the silk as a needle, I find it much easier &
efficient to use a #6 superfine steel twisted needle and silk,
doubled. Even using French bouillon to attach the clasp, pearls do
not need to be drilled and knots fit appropriately. The beading
needles have a collapsible eye, are extremely flexible, and are
re-useable. Also, the #6 superfine needles go through anything,
including diamond, sapphire, emerald and ruby beads which have the
smallest bead holes on the planet, as these materials are all sold by
weight (and larger bead holes = less weight).

Should you find by mixing pearls & other beads, the knots are a bit
small for non-pearl material, rather than place a second knot over a
first knot (which will never sit pretty), try "double knotting:"
instead of passing the pearls through the knot once, pass them
through again (twice or three times). The knot will behave. Just make
sure to give yourself more silk as double & triple knots require more
material. The rule of thumb for silk is 4x the finished length; if
double knotting the entire piece, use 6x the finished length. Better
to waste some silk rather than your time.

If I can help you further, contact me off-line.

Kind regards,

Mary Stachura
http://www.StachuraWholesale.com


#14

Helen and Noel

To cut French Wire without squashing the sides, just give it a
gentle bend where you want to cut and it will expose only 1
wire…cut there with sharp wire cutters…the thought of using a
razor is ???

3 sizes of needles
3 sizes of wire
D to F’s size silk threads

…the right size wire with the right size silk will not unravel
along the silk and cause the sound of bad words…I always take my
time with this step…

When stringing a necklace, go through ALL the pearls and look for
the ones that have the largest holes…find 4 and keep these for the
ends that way they can accommodate the double through that is needed
to attach French Wire…don’t forget to attach the clasp before
doubling it back. If the necklace is particularly long, I will also
wash my hands half way to keep the silk clean.

It can be a peaceful experience…
Simone


#15

I use embroidery scissors. Works every time… but don’t use the
scissors for anything else!

Tony Konrath


#16

To Debra,

Thanks for the advice regarding pearl stringing. I will definitely
give the silk needle idea a try.

To Tom,

I thought that you were suppose to use the tying thread doubled,
so you use the largest thread that works when doubled.

I wasn’t aware of that. I learned via a number of online tutorials,
and all of them used the largest thickness of silk which would best
fit the size of holes in the pearls - and used it singly. All of them
advocated reaming out the last few beads at each end, so that you can
go back through, to secure the thread properly. If doubled, I can see
the advantages you mention, but I would have no idea how to finish
off the two ends. You couldn’t go back through the pearls, as is
customary, without having to ream out the beads even more severely -
and if you did, you’d still have the problem of the extra thread
beyond the needle, when threading the end with the two ends of silk -
so I’m not sure I understand that method.

To Sandra,

You may also want to make yourself a wire needle that merges with
the actual string strand instead of a beading needle which requires
you to have double thickness. It will make your thread slightly
thicker for the length of the needle, but not as much as threading
it through a standard needle.

I don’t understand what you mean by a “wire needle that merges with
the actual string strand”. Could you explain this further please?

To Mary,

Thank you very much for some very good advice. I almost bought the
collapsible needles too, but bought the standard ones instead - doh!
The tip about double knotting makes much more sense than what I was
trying to do. I tried to do double knots by making two loops to put
the work through, but it didn’t behave. Putting the work through the
loop more than once makes so much more sense - thank you!

To Simone,

Thanks also for your advice. I know the technique, it’s just a case
of getting everything in the right size, and trying the silk needle
trick. Thanks for the tip about giving the gimp a gentle bend before
cutting - that should improve the cut end. I will collect a few
sizes of silk, needles and gimp, etc. However, when doing that
particular job, I could only afford one size of each, and so I had to
guess. As it turned out, it all worked okay. The gimp was a VERY snug
fit, but I did manage to successfully fit it to the necklace and it
did look neat, and obviously wasn’t too big, so I was happy, as was
my customer. Having extra sizes of everything should make my life
much easier next time, as I’ll be able to choose the right sized
product for each application.

Thanks to all who have offered me advice on pearl stringing. You’ve
given me lots of different things to try.

Helen
UK


#17
I use embroidery scissors. Works every time... but don't use the
scissors for anything else! 

That’s absolutely right. I just paid a lot of $$ but what a
spectacular difference. I’m very happy with the embroidery scissors.


#18

Hi Debra, Tom, Mary, Simone, & Sandra,

I am currently working on a few pearl stringing projects, so this
posting string has definitely helped me TONS, Thank You All.

I would like to ask where you all may be ordering your silks? The
ones I currently have are from a local beading store, and they are
EXPENSIVE to buy. (Up to $5 each!)

When I was in school I was able to get pre-strung/needled silk cards
at a craft supplier very close to my university for about 99cents
each, but my almamatur is quite a drive away from my home, (it was 45
minutes each way daily) and I don’t really want to go that far for
pearl string. Do you all have a good supplier that I could order from
online that has more economical pricing? Thanks in advance,

Teresa


#19
You may also want to make yourself a wire needle that merges with
the actual string strand instead of a beading needle which
requires you to have double thickness. It will make your thread
slightly thicker for the length of the needle, but not as much as
threading it through a standard needle. 

I don’t understand what you mean by a “wire needle that merges with
the actual string strand”. Could you explain this further please?

You can make your own collapsible needle from fine-gague wire (30
gague or smaller), then take your silk thread, pull the plies apart
about two inches, and begin interweaving the threads and the wire
together to firmly embed the wire into the thread. This will create a
stiffer end. If you extend the wire past the end of the thread and
twist it together, you have a needle end. The best thing about doing
a needle in this fashion is that you only have a single thickness of
thread, slightly thickened by your wire, instead of two thickness of
thread plus the wire which is what you get when using a collapsible
eye needle.

Sandra Graves,


#20

Stachura (where Mary works) sells silk. As does Rio, Fire Mountain.
I get mine either from Stachura or Rio, and I buy it by the spool -
much cheaper that way! Have fun with your pearls - I LOVE pearls!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com