Stringing Material Advice.

Q: I have worked with 'Tigertail' and 'Nymo' in making necklaces. 'Tigertail' is so stiff that one needs to be so careful not to knick it, and 'Nymo' is so fine it breaks and easily slips through jumprings. What are some other stringing materials that might better suit my needs. I work with heavier beads, using some seed beads and metal beads.

A: I really like 'Softflex' for heavier beads. I use .19 size and find it really drapes well for all seed bead projects. Mine usually have a dichroic glass pendant as the centerpiece and it is fine for that as well. I believe they have a heavier size for large beads, I think it is .14. Contrary to wire guages and beads, where the bigger # means a smaller product, Sofflex is actually measured. So the .019 size you are using is a .019 inches, and it is the middle size. There is .024 - largest, rather stiff unless you are using all lampwork, and .014, smallest, the one I use most often. (will go thru freshwater pearls) The next SoftTouch has a .010 size. And for the original poster, tigertail and Softflex are theoretically the same product - but there is really no comparison. Softflex doesn't kink and drapes much nicer - my .014 necklaces can be wrapped around your fingertips, they are so flexible. I highly recommend 'SoftTouch' (from the same folks who make 'SoftFlex') and 'Stringth'. 'SoftTouch' comes in very fine (0.10"), which even fits through the holes in freshwater pearls, Fine (0.14") which fits through many seed beads, Medium (0.19") which is great for glass beads, and Heavy (0.24") which is good for the heaviest beads, including roughly-finished glass beads from India. 'SoftTouch' comes in clear only; SoftFlex, which is a bit less supple but still very nice to work with, comes in a number of colors, and comes in 0.19" and 0.24" widths. On the 'SoftFlex'TM site, you can also try out samplers of different colors. 'Stringth' is a wonderful, strong knotting cord. I find that, if I pull on the length of thread to stretch it prior to stringing, subsequent stretching is negligible. It comes in several lovely colors, and several thicknesses (the size 1 is the smallest). 'SoftTouch' can be purchased through the 'SoftFlex' site (www.softflextm.com), but they have a $50 minimum. 'Stringth' is available through 'Rio Grande' (www.riogrande.com). In my opinion, you are working with the best wire material on the market. Make sure it says "Softflex TM" on whatever your product you are buying, to make sure you are using the original stuffs. 'Softflex' TM wire is very different from the other wire products on the market. You can knot with it, and it works very well. As per your email below, it sounds like you are not sure if you are using Softflex TM wire or not. I would suggest you make sure you are using that actual product, then you know what you are working with. All individual products work differently.