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Topic: Question about beading wire (Beadalon, Accu-flex etc)  (Read 16599 times)
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Herding cats & chasing beads

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« on: October 04, 2007 01:23:10 PM »

I have a question about beading wire/cable/tiger tail, whatever it's called. The stuff that's like a miniature steel cable with a nylon coating on it. I've just started doing some stringing with semiprecious stone beads and I'm not sure what kind of wire I should be using.

So far I have used basic 7-strand steel Beadalon with silver crimps (have had no luck with base metal crimps - my pliers eat them or something). It seems to be fine in terms of its flexibility - do the 21 and 49-strand versions, or the sterling-silver ones, make that much difference? They are so much more expensive!!

My necklaces have the wire completely covered by the beads, if that makes a difference.

I can shell out for actual metal wire - I work a lot in bronze, sterling silver, and I just ordered some gold-filled wire for a pearl-and-spiral link piece - but $30 for a spool of Accuflex makes me choke a bit!

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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2007 03:59:34 AM »

I hate absolutely hate 7 strand Beadalon.  I am a huge Beadalon fan but I will only use 19 or 49 strand and in .010 to .015.  If I think something needs more durability I will use 2 strand of .010.  7 strand tends to be stiff and not much different from generic tigertail.

I also use Soft Flex in similar strands and weights and have been pleased with it also.  In my experience for my uses I like Beadalon for bracelets and some necklaces.  Beads tend to slide more easily on Beadalon and it is more kink resistant.  I do like the drape of Soft Flex so if I am making a necklace where drape is more important I use it.

I had triend Accu Flex once and was very disappointed with it.  At the time I didnt know there was a big difference in strands and weights so that may have been the problem.  I have been convinced to give Accu Flex another try but I will make sure it is comparable weight and strand to the others I use.

If you go the the Soft Flex site you can request a sample of it to try before you buy a whole spool.

Each reply you get is going to give you a different opinion.  The brand of beading wire prefered it sort of like the brand of car prefered, some like Ford over Dodge and some detest Chevy, lol.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. ~Benjamin Franklin
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2007 05:29:02 PM »

Hmmm, well, maybe I'll go up a grade and see how that feels. I don't think any of the strung projects I've been doing need more flex - I tend to stick with bracelets and shorter necklaces, though, and my beads are one the more substantial side. I could see wanting something softer if I were doing some of the woven patterns with crystals and such.

Thanks for the input!

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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2007 05:33:20 AM »

thought I would comment, hope you don't mind and hope I don't sound all lecturey - I tend to fall into teacher mode, LOL!  Wink

tiger tail comes in two thicknesses - I wouldn't give the smaller size away (it is often labled 35mm but I think it is actually 0.035), it is horrid as far as I am concerned - fewer strands AND less coating

but I will and do use the thicker (often labled 45mm) on projects that need flexibility and colored threading (it comes in a wide variety of colors for the same price as black or metallic, and I do have some metal beads and clear beads where the wire shows through even if I am not doing a "floating necklace" type piece) - it is about halfway between 7 and 19 in my opinion, though hard to say as it doesn't usually come with composition information

in my opinion, beadalon 7 is not strong enough for stones or any heavy beads unless you are double threading

the differences in the craft wire come more from the number of strands of metal in the composition than in the size - 7 has 7 strands, 19 has 19 strands, and 49 has 49 strands (hence the price difference) - I think that the width difference within a size comes from the amount of coating more than the amount of wire

In my opinion the 19 will work for smaller stones, but if you are using anything large I would use 49 - it is generally thicker, but if you need to thread it back through at the ends of a piece for crimping, you can use a stone that has a larger hole in it on the ends of your pieces. Usually clear quartz or smokey quartz has a larger drilled hole, as does natural hematite and some others. Larger beads also tend to have larger holes than, say, a 4mm bead would - but don't count on it. With some stones you can go through the same bead three to six times if you are doing multiple strands in a piece, especially with the larger quartz pieces

of course Beadalon is a brand name, same as Accu-flex, or Soft Flex or Griffin or any other brand of craft wire - so it just depends on what you like for a brand, and your experiences with the different ones

my stepson will only use Griffin or SoftFlex, depending on his project, and I like Beadalon and the larger generic tiger tail - but we mixed up our spools once and he didn't notice the difference between the Griffin and the Beadalon as they were the same strand count and size

for crimps I only use silver crimps and a crimp cover, or serrated metal crimps in some projects as the ones that are not serrated tend to break or to buckle funny for me too

there are also crimp beads that are not really crimps, they are actually small 2mm beads with very large holes in them that you can thread through with multiple strands of wire, but that are not meant to be smashed the way you would a crimp tube so they crack and break

don't know how much help that was, so much is individual opinion when it comes to what materials people use - just like what websites are preferred for buying materials and what suppliers to go to for beads

some folks will only go to the same websites, and some will only buy local so they can actually touch and handle the stones they are buying

I like to buy some stones in person and will order some online - depends on the stone - similarly, I like to use some products on some projects, and others on other projects.

hope this was helpful and didn't muddy your thinking!


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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008 03:44:49 PM »

I have been quite happy with using Beadalon 7, however, I only use this for lighter bead work. I use Soft Flex for heavier beads that I use. And when making longer necklaces, like 32 inches in length and 16 inches around, I use hemp cord to string those on. I usually use heavier bigger beads and this holds up really well and is a lot less expensive to use.

When using beads this large, I use the Soft Flex for smaller necklaces, like choker style, and this one was strung on the hemp cord.


I'm a crafty kid. I just can't help myself.
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2008 11:35:50 AM »

The 7 strand "anybrand" will kink easily, and get all curly if you don't handle it just so.
The 49 strand will hold up to alot more and is just easier all around to work with, it's the only stringing wire I'll use now. It is more expensive but SO worth it, IMO.
You can get the 49 strand in all the same sizes as the 7 (.12, .14, .19 etc).
Happy beading!


« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2008 09:21:45 AM »


  We can answer any beading questions you might have, just email [email protected] and tell her your problems or questions, she can also give you design ideas if you need those. We can also give you samples of wire if you would like to experiment, just email [email protected] with your shipping address.

 As far as the wire, I would start looking at the diameter, rather than the strands. A good rule of thumb is to use the largest diameter that will fit through your beads - this will insure your designs will be durable and strong. Seven strand wire is probably finest diameter you are going to find - the seven strand we carry, our .010 diameter is designed for weaving, stitching, and embellishing - we don't suggest stringing with it unless you cannot fit other diameters through your beads.

 If you were using our wire, we would suggest you use our .014 for pearls and seed beads. Our .019 is a great multi-purpose wire, it fits through almost everything and is very strong. Our .024 is our thickest, it is designed for bracelets and chunky abrasive stones, such as Turquoise.

Feel free to email us if you have any other questions.    Grin

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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2008 07:58:00 PM »

I am a softflex fan, I don't use any other, especially since they came out with copper finish.

All my stuff (string wise) turns out awesome, and no problems with crimps.

I don't wanna mess with a good thing, lol.

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