Beyond Frustrated: Everything I make, breaks - but WHY?

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averagejane wrote
on Aug 30, 2010 9:26 PM

So, I've made some basic pieces.  The first thing I ran into was that I wasn't crimping right, but learned how based on some helpful folks here.

But, I hadn't learned to do it right.  String after string, the crimps weren't tight enough or they were too tight and the crimp would break.  I made sure the crimp was right for my wire. Break break break break.

So taking other tips I read on the forums, I bought some of the fantastic Via Murano Twisted Tornado crimps. Got them and used them to re-string some thigns I did. I was happy! The crimps were tight!  No more broken crimp beads and, AND the crimps stayed tight, so no coming loose.

I packed up a previously failed necklace to take to a coworker again and gave it to her this AM. She unpackaged the cool necklace that I was so proud of, and I said "All fixed"!

No sooner did I get to my desk, she said "OH NO!" and I knew it was the necklace, again.  Yep, this time the wire had broken near where the crimp was.  I don't think i pushed too hard on the crimp - after all the directions say "Firmly" and I was firm.

I'm so ready to give up you guys.  I have neclaces sitting here I'm pretty proud of but afraid to give to the recipients cause I don't want them to break before even being put on.

What am I doing wrong?  I know it can be 10000 things, but I'm just so lost, frustrated and ready to give up.

aK

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Ruth. wrote
on Aug 30, 2010 10:06 PM

Well...The one thing I can think of is the string. What beading wire (nylon coated wire/ tigertail, etc.) are you using and what gauge? Also are you using heavy beads or smaller ones? Depending on the weight of the beads on the necklace, you might need a heavier beading wire. I would think that could be one cause why it snapped where your crimp was. It just might have been too heavy. I generally use .019 for all my stringing, since I like to use gemstones and lampwork (or could go heavier at .024). If you were using crystals and seed beads you could use .014 gauage. Also, don't forget that you need to use the right size crimp for a certain size wire.

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MysticP wrote
on Aug 30, 2010 10:23 PM

Jane, it sounds like stringing is really frustrating you. I'd love to take a look at pictures of the ones that fell apart, I might be able to give you some more information there about what's going wrong with them. There could be several things ... is the beading wire itself breaking? Or is the crimp itself falling apart? Or is the crimp just not tight enough and everything slides out?

Crimping is a pain - I can totally relate to that, and a LOT of my early pieces fell apart that way also. It took a fair amount of time for me to get good at it. I can't add much to the types of things that have already been said on these boards ... the subject has been canvassed pretty thoroughly. I can offer these little tidbits for what they're worth:

When I'm done crimping, I'll usually give the finished piece a good tug. I'd much rather it fall apart in my hands than in the hands of my customers. At least I know before I give it to them that something's wrong. 

Also practice crimping on spare bits of beading wire. Crimp 2 short pieces together, then try to pull them apart. If you can't, you've got a good crimp. 

For crimping, I prefer heavy crimp tubes. I find them the easiest to work with. For pieces using particularly heavy beads, I might use a couple of crimps, about an inch apart, on either end of the piece. This adds a little bit of extra security.

Don't despair! These things may take some time to learn, but with practice making perfect crimps will become easy for you. 

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Andy27 wrote
on Aug 30, 2010 10:41 PM

I would think that the majority of us had difficulty with this issue in the beginning.  I have had alot more success buying thicker crimps, the original ones I purchased were far too fragile and like you made me reluctant to sell a piece.

I like to use wire guardians and thread back through a few beads.  I have bought a new pair of crimpers and have had much more success.

Stick to it, it will come with time!

Andy

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JSmaz wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 4:38 AM

I'd be beyond frustrated too-poor you!  If you don't think that you crimped it too hard perhaps it is an issue with the wire you're using.  Knowing what it is would help.  It could be that it's not strong enough, or it could even be that you got a bad batch of it.  Have you tried different brands of wire with the same result by chance?

If you can't take photos to post here, do you have a local bead shop you could take your piece to and have them look at it?  Perhaps they'd be able to either tell what happened or they could watch you make a crimp to verify you're doing it right.

Jeni

Oklahoma City

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JanineB@7 wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 6:49 AM

Oh My !!!! First thing it to not get too upset about what is going on. I hate it when something that I created does not stand up to the test of wear....

Not knowing what your problems are, whether it is the thread you are using, or the crimps....If your wire is breaking I would say that may be your culprit. I have tried many types of wire and some did not stand up like it should have.  I always use Soft Flex wire and it is the best that I have found...for stringing...

It does sound a little odd that the crimps have failed...I have never had that happen to me.

Good luck and do not give up...

Janine

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LoisB@23 wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 8:28 AM

I'd also add the crimp tubes are MUCH better than crimp beads... difference is the beads look like a little metal seedbead, slightly rounded at each end, and a crimp tube looks like a short little section of metal pipe. Another thing is not all crimp beads and tubes are created equal.... some of them are very weak and break even if your crimping tech. is good. Several people who were having difficulty with their crimps found that buying the sterling silver crimps really helped, instead of buying plated ones. I still have trouble with the smallest crimp tubes being a bit on the fragile side, so ONLY use them for floating necklace designs, the slightly larger crimps are thicker and MUCH stronger (not to mention easier to get a good crimp done with) 

As for the wire breaking... well... could be a bad batch, could be it's too thin for the weight of the beads, could also be that it got damaged when you were crimping... all those can cause wire to fail. Take a close look at the wire... if the plastic coating looks like it is mangled, it probably got damaged while you were crimping it, if it looks like the wire just pulled apart, then it's either too fine or you might have a bad spool.

Good luck, and don't give up yet!

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averagejane wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 8:34 AM

Good morning everyone. Thanks all for your responses, I am going to do my best to answer all the questions so I can get to the bottom of this.

I'm going to base my responses on my latest breakup - a double-stranded glass pearl necklace.  Used 8mm and 6mm glass pearls. So hopefully that helps.

Ruth
I've been using Accuflex - which may be an issue. It's the 7 strand, but only .012.  The lady at Michael's said it was what I needed.  Looking now, it likely may not be strong enough.  I have been keeping an eye on the wire size versus the crimp size. And I've given up on traditional crimps, going with the Tornado crimps.  No matter how much I practiced crimping, they looked and held terribly when they didn't break.

MysticP
I'll try to get a photo.  I read so many discussions here about crimping, and just decided to give up after fail after fail and fail.  I do love the Tornado crimps a ton.  Gosh darn it I thought making jewelry would be easy ;)  (kidding of course).  I wish the only issue I had was coming up with unique ideas instead of doing knockoffs!

Andy27
Wire guardians?  I should probably ask you for more detail on this.  It sounds familiar, I'm sure other folks have brought it up on the forums, but if you can share any info let me know!

JSmaz
I posted the wire type above.  I'm thinking this may be at least a big part of the issue - not strong enough wire!  I know everyone on the forum has their own faves, but this weekend's list includes going to the store and getting some new wire. I really want to make and give away goodies to folks, but can't risk them breaking.  So if you have any suggestions on your favorite wires, let me know!

And good call on the bead shop.  There's one local that is great (sadly they don't have a ton of variety so I don't go there much), but I'm sure the ladies there would be able to help me.

JanineB@7
The most upsetting is surprising someone and it breaking within seconds. OMG! DEVISTATING!  I will grab some SoftFlex for sure.

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averagejane wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 8:35 AM

Also, does anyone have any tips or know of a guide that would help me know what strength/type of wire/stringing material to use for what type of beads I'm using?

I obviously just don't know enough to do this right!

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averagejane wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 8:43 AM

LoisB@23

I will try some tubes, for sure. Honestly my issues with crimping just about made me give up (with a slew of beads in my dining room!).  I'll also get some heavier ones, which I think I'll need once I get some heavier wire.

So, how do I know what weight of wire to get for projects? I'm hoping someone has a cheat sheet! LOL.

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JSmaz wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 8:58 AM

I think the size of your wire is absolutely the issue.  7 strand, .012" is super thin, and if you fully strung it with 6-8mm glass beads plus squished the Tornado crimp on it I think that's the issue.

A good average size for stringing would be either 21 or 49 strand (more wires=stronger), and something between .014-.019".  For your necklaces I'd aim more for .019".  The rule of thumb is to use the largest diameter wire that will fit through your beads once, but I like to string back through a few beads after going through the crimp.  Clipping the wire right at the crimp just doesn't seem secure enough for me.

A size .012-.014" wire you'd use either for lightweight things like the floating necklaces Lois talked about, or beads like pearls with tiny holes. Generally the larger the beads, the heavier the wire you want to use.  It's a good idea to have several different sizes on hand for whatever you're doing, which you will tend to accumulate over time.  If you have to start out with just a couple, I'd go with 49 strand in .015 and .019".  I probably use those 2 more often than anything.  As for brand, I prefer Accuflex but you really should try different ones and see what works best for you.

It's a good rule of thumb to thread your wire either through wire guardians (U-shaped pieces of wire that protect it from rubbing) or through a soldered closed jump ring.  Then use an open jump ring to attach your clasp.  That will not only protect your wire from wear but make it easy to change the clasp or add a chain extender to adjust the length without re-stringing the whole piece.

Hope that helps, and don't give up!

Jeni

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Ruth. wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 9:00 AM

I stole this from Soft Flex Guy's post a while back, but it's a great post for info, so....

.010 (only available in Soft Touch and Econoflex Wire) is constructed of 7 micro stainless steel wires. As soft as thread, with the strength of steel. This diameter is widely used for illusion style necklaces. The 1mm Soft Flex Crimp Tube is typically recommended for diameter .010 in Soft Touch and should be crimped with the Micro Crimping Pliers.

.014 is designed for softer, less abrasive materials such as freshwater pearls and seed beads. Diameter .014 offers the softness and flexibility of pearl stringing threads yet has the strength of stainless steel.

.019 was designed for use with small to medium glass beads, Austrian crystals, silver, pewter, 80% of freshwater pearls and seed beads. Recommended when you are designing with a variety of materials.

.024 was designed for abrasive materials and designs that will meet excessive movement such as watchbands and bracelets. It's great for multi-strand designs, African trade beads and large stones.

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Ruth. wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 9:01 AM

Jeni, you beat me to it, LOL.

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JSmaz wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 9:42 AM

Still good info about SF wire though. :)

Jeni

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Erin@76 wrote
on Aug 31, 2010 10:00 AM

Everyone has given you good info here. one thing nobody has mentioned--are you using real crimping pliers or just smashing the crimp tube/bead with regular pliers?

Here's a basic recap of things that might help:

1. Use ONLY sterling or solid copper crimps with heavy walls. Plated crimps are basically garbage and will fail constantly.

2. Use crimp TUBES, not crimp beads, and use crimping pliers to crimp them--not regular pliers.

3. Use beading wire that is at least 19 strands and preferably 49 strands. Size .019 is a good size diameter. Only use a smaller size if the holes in your beads are too small to fit onto the larger wire.

4. for added security, especially if your strands are heavy, try double crimping. Do a regular crimp, then add a bead or 2, then a second crimp.

Good luck!

Erin

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