Very stiff 'wire' can be had by getting some cold-rolled round
stock in very fine sizes from a machine shop.
Just to amplify Katherine’s suggestion a little, another type of
stiff wire is ‘piano wire’. In the US, many hardware stores sell it
in 3 ft lengths of various diameters. It’s usually $1 or less for a
If it were me, I’d mount the wire to a board so the beads were free
to revolve without touching the board. This can be accomplished by
using a machine screw to raise the wire above the board the necessary
Here’s how: 1. Obtain 2, 1/4"-20 machine screws 2" long. 2. Obtain 6
nuts for the 1/4"-20 screws. 3. Cut a 3/4" thick board about 2" x
about 4" longer than the strand of beads to be polished. 4. Drill 1/4"
holes through the 2" side of the board about 1" from each end. 5.
Thread 2 nuts all the way on one of the 1/4"-20 machine screws. 6.
Insert the 1/4"-20 screw through one of the holes. 7. Thread a 3rd nut
on the 1/4"-20 screw so the end of the screw is just flush with the
nut. 8. Screw the middle nut down on the board. Tighten it securely.
Leave the top nut loose for now. 9. Repeat steps 5 thru 8 for the 2nd
1/4"-20 machine screw. 10. Form a loop in one end of the wire & place
it around one of the screws, just below the head. 11. Position the
wire so it is in line with the other 1/4"-20 screw. Run the top nut
up to hold the wire in position. 12. Thread the beads onto the wire.
13. Draw the wire taut, wrap it around the 2nd 1/4"-20 screw just
under the head. Form a loop in the wire & twist the end around the
wire. 14. Run the top nut up to hold the wire in position.
Note: Use a wrench or pliers to tighten all the nuts securely.
The length of the machine screws can be changed to suit the size bead
being polished. The wire should be placed high enough off the board
at the ends so that the beads don’t rub on the board when the center
beads are being polished.
For metric screws a M6x1 about 50mm long would be a good size.