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Pearl stringing advice/size info?

wintermute

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
5
Hi, I'd like to try my hand at stringing my own pearls. I've watched a few videos on how to string, and doubt I'd be able to pull off the method where you make the knots with tweezers or a needle, but the "Japanese method" with 2 threads seems do-able. I currently have a 16" worth of loose Tahitian pearls I'd like to string into a necklace; they've been drilled with a 0.8mm hole.

Is a 0.8mm hole large enough to do Japanese stringing with 2 threads passing through the hole? If so, can anyone recommend a particular string, or even just the right size to use for that?

Do I need to ream out the pearls on the ends?

If I mess this up, how hard is it to undo all the knots - do you have to cut each out or can they generally kind of slide out (if that makes sense)? Is it damaging to the pearls if you have to keep undoing and re-doing, and should I buy some cheap pearls to practice on?

Thank you!
 

Pearlescence

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
548
There are about as many different knotting methods as we've had hot dinners, as they say. depending on how light-handed you are and with fine small scissors (embroidery?) you can cut off each knot to undo the necklace and re-do. The pearls should not slide off - one of the reasons for knotting is so they don't! You'll only damage the pearls if you hack at them with the bread knife.
Enjoy the experience of learning a new skill.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
11,414
Hi, I'd like to try my hand at stringing my own pearls. I've watched a few videos on how to string, and doubt I'd be able to pull off the method where you make the knots with tweezers or a needle, but the "Japanese method" with 2 threads seems do-able. I currently have a 16" worth of loose Tahitian pearls I'd like to string into a necklace; they've been drilled with a 0.8mm hole.

Is a 0.8mm hole large enough to do Japanese stringing with 2 threads passing through the hole? If so, can anyone recommend a particular string, or even just the right size to use for that?

Do I need to ream out the pearls on the ends?

If I mess this up, how hard is it to undo all the knots - do you have to cut each out or can they generally kind of slide out (if that makes sense)? Is it damaging to the pearls if you have to keep undoing and re-doing, and should I buy some cheap pearls to practice on?

Thank you!

Someone will be along shortly to help
please post updates and photos as i need to be inspired to learn also and id love to see and encourage your efforts
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,351
Hi, I'd like to try my hand at stringing my own pearls. I've watched a few videos on how to string, and doubt I'd be able to pull off the method where you make the knots with tweezers or a needle, but the "Japanese method" with 2 threads seems do-able. I currently have a 16" worth of loose Tahitian pearls I'd like to string into a necklace; they've been drilled with a 0.8mm hole.

Is a 0.8mm hole large enough to do Japanese stringing with 2 threads passing through the hole? If so, can anyone recommend a particular string, or even just the right size to use for that?

Do I need to ream out the pearls on the ends?

If I mess this up, how hard is it to undo all the knots - do you have to cut each out or can they generally kind of slide out (if that makes sense)? Is it damaging to the pearls if you have to keep undoing and re-doing, and should I buy some cheap pearls to practice on?

Thank you!

The two string method seems to create less tight knots for me than the pull-over-tweezers method. Maybe just me though? I can get really tight knots that don’t budge at all with tweezers (I actually use round nosed pliers but same idea).

It took me a LONG time to get the hang of knotting neatly. And I feel like I went from “massacre” to “hey that’s really not so bad” overnight - I spent a good while in the former stage :lol:

No need to ream. And no harm done cutting and restringing!
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,067
I have tried the Japanese stringing method and could never get it right. Kudos to those who can. But to answer your question- when stringing using the more common method the string is already doubled and I have never needed to ream out the end pearls. Your thread weight choice is very important.


Is a 0.8mm hole large enough to do Japanese stringing with 2 threads passing through the hole? If so, can anyone recommend a particular string, or even just the right size to use for that?

For the most common 0.8 size hole I use Beader's Secret medium weight thread. I believe that is size/weight 30 and the same weight if using the brand Serafil.


If I mess this up, how hard is it to undo all the knots - do you have to cut each out or can they generally kind of slide out (if that makes sense)?

This is where you need to be careful because a pearl is usually ruined if you accidentally get a knot stuck inside of it. They are almost impossible to remove by hand. You will cut the the thread between the pearls and the knots if you are restringing the strand. You will need a flush cutter tool when doing this. Sometimes (especially when the strand is tightly knotted or small knots) you will find part of the knot still remains. Use tweezers to work the rest of the knot out before you try to pull the thread through the pearl. I recommend testing the thread of each knot you have removed with tweezers until you get the hang of stringing.

Is it damaging to the pearls if you have to keep undoing and re-doing, and should I buy some cheap pearls to practice on?

The biggest risk is getting a knots stuck inside the pearls. Less common (but happens) when using bead nucleated pearls (Tahitians, Akoyas, Edisons, South Sea) is having the bead rotate inside the pearl in which the drill hole is no longer in alignment. If you use glue on the 3rd knot from the clasps as many of us do you can easily remove the old glue with acetone and it won't damage the pearl.


Happy stringing!
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
5,173
Am I the only one running 4 (#30) threads through each 0.8mm hole? I get about 5x the length of what i need, run it through the needle halfway, then start stringing. So 2 threads going one way, 2 more threads coming back. It seems to be a snug fit, but am I damaging the insides by making it too tight?
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,067
Am I the only one running 4 (#30) threads through each 0.8mm hole? I get about 5x the length of what i need, run it through the needle halfway, then start stringing. So 2 threads going one way, 2 more threads coming back. It seems to be a snug fit, but am I damaging the insides by making it too tight?

You won't damage the pearls. I run the thread back on the last 3 clasp pearls on almost all my strands.
 

Pearlescence

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
548
It's easy to remove thread or knots jammed into the drill hole. Get a drill bit of the appropriate size and simple use any electric drill. Even a 'putting up shelves' drill will hold a 0.8mm bit (just remember that bits do not bend. Be sure to hold the drill so the bit is always straight.
Getting a broken bit out of a drill is not so easy)
 

Beaders Secret

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
13
I recommend when cutting out knots, use slightly curved scissors as this gets up close to the knots and helps prevent the knots retracting back inside the pearl.

I use tweezers for knot placement, most tweezers on the market are too pointed and when moving swiftly these can snag the thread.

I mainly work in 4 strands of thread, for instance for a hole of 0.8mm in pearls, I would use either 4 of fine or 2 fine and 2 extra fine. The size of the pearls also have to be taken into consideration as well as the hole size (overall weight of the pearl strand)

With beads and agate strands I mainly use medium gauge. I have never used the thick gauge thread on strands of pearls.

I often see good knotting on strands that are let down by the finishing off not being done correctly.

The finishing off should be the strongest part of your stringing. I use either the butchers knot (left over right) or the surgeons knot, depending on the gauge of thread used.
 
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