Beading Tips & Tricks: All About Crimps | Soft Flex

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All About Crimps

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The importance of good quality crimps:
Crimps are so little, it is easy to forget just how important they are. Many times, they hold an entire design together. It is important to find a dealer that will stand behind the quality of their crimps. Our crimp tubes are double the wall thickness of most and are also seamless. Sterling silver is a soft metal - so it is important that there is enough sterling silver in the crimp tube to withstand the force used when crimping.

How do I crimp?
The method we prefer is this: make a dent in your crimp tube with the bottom hole on your crimping pliers known as the "Crimper". Then, turn 45 degrees and use the "Rounder" to fold the crimp tube in on the wire. Go around the crimp tube a few times with the rounder to make sure that the crimp is tight and compact. There should be no space between the inside of the tube crimp and the wire itself. Make sure to not use too much force. Pretend like you are shaking a woman’s hand. You are not trying to smash or crush the crimp bead; you are simply molding it around the wire.

The most common errors we see when using the regular crimping pliers are easy fixes:
1. Don't use a lot of force with the regular crimping pliers. As I said above, sterling is pretty soft. It doesn't take much force to compress a crimp tube.
2. Also, after you fold the crimp tube with the "rounder", go around the crimp several more times with the "rounder" gently compressing. This will allow you to mold it into the perfect shape and make sure that the crimp is snuggly attached onto the wire.

Should I use crimp beads or tubes?
At Soft Flex® Company, we love our crimp tubes. Unlike other crimp tubes on the market, ours have a double-walled thickness and are seamless. This means they are extremely strong and do not have the seam that finishes the crimp – which can tear into the wire. The hidden seam is also the real reason so many crimps fail. They do not offer proper hold no matter how hard you crimp them. Our crimp tubes are sterling silver or gold-filled, which means they are durable, but soft enough that they won’t damage the wire. We have found that a lot of crimp beads on the market are made from base metal – which is hard and can be harmful to your stringing material.

What is the difference between Soft Flex® crimps and other crimps on the market?
Soft Flex® Company's crimp tubes are available either sterling silver or gold filled. They are unlike any other Crimp Tube on the market. For superior strength and reliability, we have manufactured them so that the tube walls are double the thickness of other crimps you would find. When using with Soft Flex Wire and the patented crimping pliers, your crimps will be safe and secure. Also, they are solid! There are no hidden seams to pop open when compressed.

Do I need crimping pliers?
We suggest purchasing a pair of crimping pliers if you have not yet done so. A crimp finished with crimping pliers is aesthetically pleasing as well as very secure, if crimped correctly. The crimp will have a pleasant, round surface and can be incorporated into your designs as a spacer or bead. If you are using Needle nose pliers to finish your crimps, the end result will never be a uniform finish – each crimp will be unique since Needle nose pliers will not close the crimps in the same manner each time. Needle nose pliers will also cause irregular surfaces on the closed crimp which can irritate or abrade the skin. The patented crimping pliers allow for your design to be secure, while allowing the crimp bead to look and feel smoother. When using with Soft Flex® Wire and the patented Crimping Pliers, your crimps will be safe and secure.

Why do my crimps keep breaking?
Nobody likes to crimp that final tube on the design only to have it break. Crimps can fall apart for lots of reasons; here are a couple of pointers. Never smash your crimp harder than you would shake your grandmother’s hand. Smashing too hard will just work-harden the crimp and make it brittle. Make sure you are using high-quality crimps. Cheaper crimps might save money, but you may need to restring often if they are not up to the task.

Do I need to double-back through beads after crimping?
A long favored way of designing a necklace or bracelet was to take the wire and double-back through the last beads nearest the crimp. The idea was this: if a crimp failed, the doubling back would save the necklace from falling apart or give the wearer enough time to recognize the problem before the design fell apart and save it. Here is the problem - in order for the wire to fit through the final beads again, it has to be small enough for the beads to accommodate it a second time. In effect, you are now opting to make the ends more secure by making the entire piece less so. We suggest you use the largest diameter you can fit through the beads once for a more durable design. If the crimp is done correctly, it will be secure enough without having to worry about doubling-back through.

Should I finish my piece by knotting it or crimping it?
Soft Flex® and Soft Touch™ wire have been designed to be the most flexible wire on the market. All of our wire can be knotted. We do, however, suggest crimping your designs for a more professional finish. If you decide to finish any piece strung on Soft Flex® wire, we suggest using a figure-eight knot. Special-T glue is a great way to secure your knots, it is non-acidic and will dry pliable.

What size crimp tubes do I need for my Soft Flex® Wire?
Each diameter we carry will have a variation on the size crimp we suggest. We have created an easy chart to figure out which crimp will work for which diameter. Our handy chart will also show you which crimps are suggested for multi-strand designs.

Soft Flex Tube Crimp Table
Size Dia.  Will Fit Crimping Pliers
1x1mm tube  .010 4 strands Micro (PLR-586.00)
2x2mm tube .010  14 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
2x3mm tube  .010 16 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
3x3mm tube  .010 66 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x4mm tube  .010 66 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x5mm tube  .010 66 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
1x1mm tube  .014 1 strand Micro (PLR-586.00)
2x2mm tube .014  8 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
2x3mm tube  .014  8 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
3x3mm tube  .014  31 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x4mm tube  .014  31 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x5mm tube  .014  31 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
1x1mm tube   .019 1 strand Micro (PLR-586.00)
2x2mm tube  .019  4 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
2x3mm tube  .019  4 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
3x3mm tube  .019  20 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x4mm tube  .019  20 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x5mm tube  .019  20 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
1x1mm tube  .024  0 strands Micro (PLR-586.00)
2x2mm tube  .024  1 strand Regular (PLR-585.00)
2x3mm tube  .024  2 strands Regular (PLR-585.00)
3x3mm tube  .024  10 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x4mm tube  .024  10 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)
3x5mm tube  .024  10 strands Mighty (PLR-584.00)

Most Typical:

.010-1x1mm tube
.014-2x2mm tube
.019-2x2mm tube
.024-2x3mm tube

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