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Stringing metal beads

To the beaders of this site,

I have a problem that I hope you can advise me on. On a lark, I made
a bunch of enameled copper (of 0.025"/0.635 thickness) beads that
are 3D projections of the shapes once used by programmers to diagram
computer programs before PC’s were invented.

My wife, bless her, was intrigued with them and had some of them
strung as a necklace (double knoted at each bead) by a local
professional beader. The necklace has considerable weight, but much
to my surprise it sold. The lady likes it so much that she wares it
very often. Unfortunately so much wearing has now caused one of the
strings to be cut by a bead, and now I need to repair it.

Is there a way to blunt/smooth the edges of metal so that I can
considerably reduce the chance of this sorry event happening again?

Looking forward to reading what you suggest. And thanks in advance
for your suggestions.


Hi David,

Try stringing them on a cable link chain…gold…silver…or gold
filled will work.



What I do with my gold beads to take the edge off the inside is:

Take a hart burr, slightly larger than the (center stringing) hole,
using your flex shaft, smooth around the center hole with the burr
removing a bit of metal from the inside edge.

Works like a charm.
Good luck,

If the beads have small holes use Softflex. Softflex can be knotted
between beads but it really isn’t necessary unless you are trying to
prevent the beads from rubbing together.

If the beads have large holes you can use foxtail but you won’t be
able to knot it.

Both products are available at any supply house specializing in
supplies for Native American jewelry.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hi David,

You might try a diamond-coated bead reamer to smooth the edges of
the bead holes. This will be especially good if the enamel comes
right up to the edge of the hole, as the diamond reamer will also
work on the enamel.

Keep the bead under water while working with it in order to keep
vitreous dust down and to keep the bead cool. Be gentle to avoid
cracking the enamel.

Kevlar thread, offered by many bead supply places, is reputed to be
very wear-resistant, but I don’t know if it comes in the thickness
required for making knotted strands. Foxtail chain is another good
traditional material for stringing hefty beads.

Jessee Smith