Okay, I know, this is a frequently discussed topic, but I cannot find a definitive answer. Here is my story...
The oft repeated line...fireline is fireline is fireline is simply not true. I was led to the Beadsmith product by an instructor, and it does perform very well on things that need strength, like bracelets. And, it seems to work well on peyote stitching. But when I tried it on a delica brickstitch earring, it was too thick, and frayed if I tried to correct a mistake.
This led me on a wild goose chase about the different types of fireline, which for beaders seems to be Beadsmith "braided", fireline fused, and/or fireline original. In the interest of saving money, I believed the beading experts that said all fireline is the same. But, when I bought some fireline fused crystal fishing line, it was definitely a different texture and feel, when compared to the Beadsmith product.
Next, I sent a message to Berkley and asked them to clarify the various fireline qualities. Regrettably, they just blew me off with no response, probably in the interest of the Beadsmith line. Just for fun, it would be nice to hear the real facts, as opposed to opinions. It may be that the fused product is a different process, but there does not seem to be a "braided" fireline in the crystal color.
Can anyone bring clarity to this confusion?
I will try and explain what I know about Fireline. May not be all true, but mostly will be. When Fireline first hit the market as a fishing line, it was a braided line, made of many very small extruded PE filaments and woven into one line. You could play with the end and separate the filaments. The new line is "fused" which means that the filaments are heated and they stick together, thus one solid line. The weights start at 1 lb and goes up. As for strength to Dia. Fireline is the strongest, but will cut very easy on a sharp edge of glass. I would not know why all the name changes, but suspect it is a marketing ploy. Crystal clear is for when it is in the water, not in a bead project. If you would type "fireline" in the search window, upper right, you will find 165 links listed.
Hopes this helps
Etsy.com/shop/buttonsandshanks 100's of buttons
Blue............ah, the mysteries of Fireline. I just went to my wire and thread drawer and pulled out a spool of Berkley Fireline and Beadsmith Fireline.........they are the same product as far as I can see and feel as I drew a strand through my fingers, under high strength light it also looked exactly the same. I pulled a piece off the spool and squished the end (don't you just LOVE technical terms.......) and saw how it split into a fan shape of individual fibers. Did this for both the spools, they reacted the exact same way, produced the exact fan. Beadsmith may have created their labels when it was actually braided, and just haven't changed that one word. I remember the first time I noticed that the Fireline I bought said "fused" and I wondered about it but went to my vendor and asked.
The FL you have may be a heavier weight, you didn't specify what it was, but that is the only reason I can think of that it would not work in brick stitch. Peyote basically is one thread through each bead per row, so two total. brick is also two because you go down under the bridge on the row before and then back up through the bead. Fireline up to 6# should work and even if you double stitch the first two beads in a row in brick, it still should go through easily. I have stitched a delica project with 8# FL because it needed to be stiff and I had no problems with FL going through a 11/o delica.
Fireline should have never frayed when doing a correction in brick stitch...........that is too weird and leads me to think maybe the store's stock is so ancient that it is breaking down. Now Fireline is tough stuff compared to most other threads, but who knows. Brick stitch produces a pretty rigid piece of work which is why it is great for earrings, so your tension can be a smidge looser and the item you are making will still work.
Hope between shanks and my response, you have a better idea of what you are dealing with....and "Fireline is Fireline is Fireline".....LOL, really. Donna
Can anyone bring clarity to this confusion?
You have discovered tha bane of every beaders experience.
And the truth is there is...there is no one magic "thread/line" that is all things to all beaders.
Experimentation is the only way to find out which has the fewest issues for you. Take the suggestions of other beaders with a grain of salt use them only as a starting place. I learned this early on.
southwest Texas USA
In terms of "fused," what you say makes sense. To add to the confusion, there is an "original" brand of fireline. I have not looked at this one, yet. If you run both "braided" and "fused" through your fingers, you can feel the difference (not just me, but others agree). Then there is the "braided" fireline, but not in the crystal color. I suppose what drives my curiosity is a manufacturer that sits on their hands, refusing to clarify the properties or versions of their product lines.
Thanks for your reply.
D.M.Z. : Actually, a similar line in another posting by you was the inspiration that inspired me to post my original note. You posted the same *is*is* in another posting. To clarify what I attempted, I was using 6 lb. test Beadsmith fireline with 11/0 Delicas. I have made the pattern many times, but with colored nymo. If you look at nymo stitched brickstitch (decreased) very closely, you can see the thread, especially around the first 2 beads. Perhaps a finer fireline would be better, but I don't need the strength for earrings. I sometimes use Trilene (2 lb) and it's almost invisible.
My whole premise surrounding my original posting was the unwillingness of a manufacturer to communicate information about their products. I was hoping to hear from someone who may have talked to Berkley or knew factual information. Everyone has opinions, but I am searching for the facts, and that may indeed prove fruitless!
Blue, I agree that Berkley is stonewalling you.........what they think you are going to go out and compete with them? For the small price we pay for threads? Not exactly something that a rational person would tackle in today's market. But if they are paranoid, maybe they have grounds for it.........shrug.
I got out my jewelers loupe, 20x and looked at both the Berkley and Beadsmith lines again. Also ran my fingers down them both (eyes closed so as not to be biased. 20X may not be enough power, but I see the same texture, same marks, the ends fray out the same, however to the touch it does seem that the Beadsmith has some texture that the Berkley does not..........
For a brick stitch earring, I also use Nymo because the brick is a pretty strong stitch, and I can just continue with the Nymo for the fringe, if needed. I think where Nymo is less warranted is in a bracelet that you know is going to get worn and worn and bump against things........then for sure I go with Fireline. I have used 6# Berkley FL for an earring (it was all I had carried with me to an open beading session) and if the package is correct, the Beadsmith 6# FL is thinner. Berkley is .15mm and Beadsmith is .008 avg. thickness. If you want to use Fireline, you could go to 4# which I also use occasionally.............but I'll never run out of it in my lifetime, I don't use that small a bead that often, right now I am using it up making up swatches of delica color samples.
Trilene is a mono-filament, so no multiple strands (either braided or fused) only one and it is known to just break, but the same applies, earrings don't usually get too much abuse so it may not matter.
I feel a deep inclination to ask some questions of Berkley and I may go through my source to see if they know anyone in corporate that will answer questions............. charging forward (into the wall?) if you hear a loud thump it is probably me.......LOL. Donna
D.M.Z.: You sound like my kind of gal (I'm a guy). Not being a fisher-person limits my knowledge of fishing lines, but I struggle with the monofilaments, which I thought were sent from God, a few years ago. After working with several different weights, I realized that they were difficult to "cinch up." My wife also lost a very nice bracelet, when the 8 lb. mono gave way. Fireline seems to work far better for bracelets.
The "touch" is exactly what several have noticed between Beadsmith and Berkley. I swear I can feel little "bumps" in the Berkley version. Whether or not this changes the characteristics or strength is beyond me. I'm assuming that "fusing" merely groups the individual strands together.
Jewelry making is one of many pastimes for me, but I really like the simple handcrafts that one can learn quickly, but take a long time to master. I relish new found knowledge, but hate going through a stack of cash to try and find the good stuff.
Apparently, you are in the business of beading, so I will keep my ears to the railroad tracks to see what you find out.
Thanks for hanging with me.
Other lines to look at.
Have you ever looked at PowerPro? It is a very soft line, small Dia. for weight and easily dyed with a permanent marker. It is a very white line when new. You may find it to be an interesting line to work with. PLine is a fishing line that is fluorocarbon coated and has great abrasion resistance and is quite limp.
D.M.Z:Blue, I agree that Berkley is stonewalling you.........what they think you are going to go out and compete with them?
Remember that Berkley is first and foremost a fishing line. I live in an area where there is a lot of professional fishing tournaments and when the various sporting good companies start handing out 100's of millions of dollars, a year, in prize money and gear. Plus sponsoring tournaments and teams and just the amount of competition they have in the sporting goods field in general. You bet they are going to keep how they make their products to themselves.
And just to clarify...I too am a fireline user.
I use anywhere from the 4# to the 8# pound, crystal, fireline on almost all my beading. I think the smallest # strength I've used was a 2# just because the wrong size was purchased. But I do experiment with other threads that were designed expressly for beading. But I still prefer my fireline. And yes, I have done several brick stitch earrings and had success with them. You just have to learn which # strength to use for the application.
Good Luck with Berkley I admire your tenacity and couriosity(sp?)
Well................. just got off the phone with a "source" from Berkley......... who dug into some old reference material at hand while we were on the phone. Here is the answer from this employee of Berkley. When it was introduced it was marketed as "braided", which it was and somewhere along the line the description changed and is now "fused". "Original" Fireline (FL) is now the designation for the colored materials which are smoke, blaze orange and neon green, the other product is Fireline Crystal which is now categorized a bit differently, but is just for the Crystal color.
I erred when I noted that the Beadsmith 6# was "considerably thinner"..........because I was overlooking the now obvious fact that one was measured in mm and one in inches...........duh, my mistake totally. So they are the same diameter. Also, I was thinking about that feel of the line and I ran my fingers back over the lines again........both directions this time, and I am not sure now.......sheesh, but I do have an infected cut on my fingertip (the most sensitive one) from gardening with prickly thangs.
OK, here is the bottom line, the person I spoke with did not have much to say about Beadsmith, but I said "oh, so they just buy the same stuff and respool it with their own label" to which I got a polite but short answer of "I guess so"..................... The Berkley person was not willing to discuss Beadsmith's purchase of their product. Having been in the biz world for almost 50 years, I can totally understand that.
Sellen........I totally agree that Berkley is a great company and needs to protect themselves.......why right this instant there are some people disecting their line and speaking some unspecified foreign language. The thought of fake Fireline is not funny. There is no reason to give up the farm to any Tom, Dick or Donna. I will continue to purchase my Fireline from my respected supplier and not be tempted to stray......
That said, maybe I'll fire up my phone again and tackle Beadsmith........... But in the long run their line is too expensive for the amounts I use in my looming, so I am not buying their products anyway, but they are the same. I have been known to buy a spool of smoke Fireline by Beadsmith because until I had my eye surgery in January, I had a tough time seeing dark beads and dark line, so a 50 yard spool was a good compromise. Now that Berkley has a $15 rebate going on, maybe I'll just buy a bigger spool of smoke along with my resupply of Berkley Fireline Fused Crystal.
So, to ditto myself yet again (I'll bet you are all sick of me by now) Fireline is Fireline is Fireline, but there are different "flavors" of it, but the line is the same stuff, same factory, etc. Donna
Well................. just got off the phone with a "source" from Berkley......... who dug into some old reference material at hand while we were on the phone. Here is the answer from this employee of Berkley.
Donna: You rock!!! I think we can put this issue under the rug for now. It all makes sense. For all we know, Beadsmith may be drawing down on some pretty old stuff. I noticed today that even the "Original Fireline" brand of crystal is fused.
BTW, I knew that both Beadsmith and Berkley were the same diameter, so the fact that they tricked you with one in metric and the other in inches (it got me too, when I was ordering) is just another annoyance from a company that is obviously out to lunch. Plus, I never tire of those who stick with it until the cows come home. Thanks for your help.
Bob in WA
I've just had a first hand experience between the Berkley Fireline from the fishing/tackle shop and the Beadsmith beading Fireline and found there is a difference.
I have been quite happily using the fishing Fireline for my beading projects and was getting close to running out . The new bead shop I have found sells Berkley beading Fireline there so I bought a spool for around the same price as what the fishing line had cost
Went to use the new stuff tonight and nearly cried with disappointment.
Both spools are 6LB Crystal and 125YD length - No problem
The fishing Fireline is marked as 0.15mm (0.005905 inches) dia. The beading Fireline is marked as 0.008 inches (0.2032 mm) dia. - No problem
The fishing Fireline is FUSED. The beading Fireline is BRAIDED - PROBLEM
I reeled out 2m of the Beadsmith fireline and threaded my needle to do a little brick stitch project which is about 20 beads wide (delicas). No sooner had I started then I noticed that along the thread it was already unravelling/untwisting in spots along the length of the thread and the end of the thread had frayed apart and was not holding together - No big deal I thought and kept on going.
After three rows I made a mistake and tried to unpick the thread back through the beads I had just stiched on. NOPE NOT A GOOD IDEA. I tried to slip my needle in under the thread and pull it up like I had done on earlier projects using the fishing fireline with no problem but this one just plucked up a few strands of the thread and I ended up with another yucky unravelled spot in the thread.
I know alot of people say that you need to use thread conditioner on this thread or that thread and now I know why! It's to stop them unravelling. I never had this problem with the Fused fishing Fireline unless I unpicked the same spot over and over and over and only then would it start untwisting a bit.
So I am now going to go and buy another spool of the fused Fireline from the fishing/tackle shop and chuck the Beadsmith spool in the bin as I can't find my receipt to take it back to the shop I bought it from
Trayck............... lordy I love hands on reports. Thanks. I mostly loom and since I use the fishing version of FL, I have not unpicked any stitches with the Beadsmith stuff. But it is good to know that it is braided and obviously without the last step that Berkley takes with their product, the fusing of the strands.
Not bashing Beadsmith at all, they take cool products and relabel them. I was able to buy some of my Xuron tools as they purchase and relabel some of them with their brand. They weren't cheaper or anything, but were available at my local bead store. I was able to hold them, finding they fit my hand properly, worked smooth, etc. The advantage is that lots more people are able to buy Beadsmith at a real store and are exposed to our fave time occupier, beading. The down side is, of course, rebuying and rebranding and repackaging means we pay a bit more. They have introduced me to some good products and one or two less than stellar ones.
Thanks for the hands on report. I love my Berkley Fireline, and just think, if I got hongry for some fishy wishy, I could reel off some of my beading thread and go out and catch dinner. Sigh, happy Donna