5 Rules for Defeating Abrasion 

Beading wire brings the strength of stainless steel to your jewelry designs. But even the strongest wire can fall victim to abrasion from sharp-edged beads, beads with burrs, heavy beads, or a design strung to tightly. Bracelets and watchbands are particularly vulnerable to breakage from abrasion: around the wrist demands a high degree of flexibility and these are often in daily wear. Certain types of beads are also prone to abrasion problems, especially glass, metal, semi-precious stone beads. Follow these simple rules to reduce the effects of abrasion - and prolong the life of your designs: 

Rule 1: Diameter Matters 

Use the largest diameter wire that will fit through the beads' holes. A larger diameter wire is more abrasion resistant than a smaller one. If the wire has space to move around within the bead hole, the wire will rub and eventually degrade. Can you pass the wire through the smallest bead hole in your design more than once? Then a larger diameter wire is essential to the longevity of your design.
Rule 2: A Little Elbow Room 

When stringing your designs, allow enough space between beads so the design can move freely and unrestricted. Be sure to bend the design into the shape in which it will be worn to get a true sense of the bead spacing. You can significantly increase the longevity of your designs simply by increasing your spacing. When beads are able to move side-to-side slightly, the contact with the wire is spread over a greater area, reducing the effects of abrasion.
Rule 3: Strong Enough 

Choose a wire with a break strength consistent with the beads' weight and type. The heavier the beads, the greater the wire's break strength should be. To string heavy glass, metal, and semi-precious stone beads, be sure the wire has a break strength equal to support the total weight of the design, plus additional strength to handle occasional snags or pulls. Note that wire diameter is not always an accurate indicator of break strength - see below.

  .015" (.38mm) 024" (.61mm)
Beadalon 49 Strand 20 lb. (9 kg) 40 lb. (18 kg)
Beadalon 19 Strand 17 lb. (7.7 kg) 48 lb. (21.7 kg)
Beadalon 7 Strand 15 lb. (6.8 kg) 20 lb. (9 kg)
Rule 4: Flexibility 

Select the grade of wire best suited for your designs. The greater the number of strands in the wire's construction, the more flexible the wire. 

• Beadalon 7 Strand: seven strands twisted together, an economical choice: Flexible. 
• Beadalon 19 Strand: nineteen strands twisted together: More Flexible. 
• Beadalon 49 Strand: seven bundles of seven wires twisted together, offering the strength of wire with thread-like flexibility: Most Flexible. 

Choose the grade of wire that will allow your design to drape and feel the way you envision.
Rule 5: Smooth that Burr 

Use a bead reamer to gently smooth and round out the holes of each bead. Be sure to use the reamer on both sides of the bead hole until it is smooth and free of sharp edges and burrs. The beads should 'slide' on the wire. Beads that slide along the wire cause less abrasion.


See also: Resource Center | Beadalon Bead Stringing Wire | Spin-n-Bead - Bead Loaders | Tips and Techniques