An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Fireline or not? What do you think?

Fireline is on my mind. I have just bought a large spool from a local shop that sells fishing tackle and now I can complete a spiral rope that has been waiting for this purchase. For those of you out there who are not beaders or beginning beaders, Fireline the brand name of a form of fishing line made from a synthetic fibre, called Dyneema that is tough, does not absorb water, is unaffected by ultra-violet light and stretch resistant.

Dyneema began to be produced in the 1990s and is considered to be the strongest fibre in the world - fifteen times stronger than steel fibre of the same weight. The fibre is a synthetic fibre made from polyethylene. It is used in making a wide range of products from aquaculture nets, medical and protective gloves, and bulletproof armour to containers for airfreight and ropes for underwater projects.

Whilst, Fireline’s qualities are clearly great for fishing line they are also great qualities for a beading ‘thread’. Many beaders like to use Fireline in their beadweaving to give it added strength and durability. For instance, the spool I bought today is a 6lb test spool so it won’t break very easily but will pass through my beads several times because it has quite a fine diameter.

Of course, in the way of these things I ran out of Fireline when I was half way through my current spiral rope project. So I am delighted to have my new spool of Fireline and its strength as a fibre will ensure my project is extremely durable. Mind you, I don’t think I could claim it was bulletproof!

The qualities of Dyneema has given it great eco-friendly credentials as it is being used in a wide range of products designed to reduce our eco footprint.

You can readily see Dyneema’s eco-friendly credentials in several of its products:

· HyFlex Dyneema medical and protective gloves can be laundered several times and still ensure cut protection. This reduces the overall number of ‘plastic’ gloves used and it reduces hard waste.

· When Dyneema ropes replace steel ropes in underwater projects they cut out the environmental issues associated with the need to lubricate steel wire when it is in water.

· Dyneema panels in airfreight containers are stronger and lighter than the traditional aluminium ones and therefore help reduce carbon emissions from helping reduce cargo weight and thus reduce fuel use.

However, it seems that fibres such as Dyneema do not biodegrade, they photodegrade and take between between 500 and 600 years to do so. That means beading with Fireline creates a beading item that can stand the test of time, but it also means there is a lot of fishing line in the world that will be here for a long time as well! It seems that Dyneema in the form of fishing line brings significant ecological costs.

So as a beader, to Fireline or not? What do you think?



Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

I love fireline, especially for structural work. It's less likely to split, allows many easy passes through a bead, and with each pass provides additional stability when it's needed. But I think it has it's limitations as well. It is almost never my choice for fringe applications, because the drape is not very soft and mobile. Sometimes, I use three different threads in a single project, each for its best purpose. Great post, I didn't know about dyneema as a fiber and its alternate uses.

The Bead Doodler said...

I LOVE FIRELINE! I've tried several types of beading thread and always manage to split it if I pass through a bead more than once. That might not be so bad if you didn't have to take out any of your work, but that's not the case with me. I've never split fireline, so I feel like my beadwork is secure.
I to some sculptural work with different size beads and, while some old-time beaders recommend a stretchy bead thread for this, I get better, firmer structure with fireline.

I use 4 lb for very fine work that won't be under much stress, 6 lb for most beading and 8 lb for heavy beads. It's great!

3 Peeps Designs said...

Good article... I wish they would make fishermen use something else because if you've ever been fishing, in the popular spots you see broken, tangled line in trees, in rocks, etc... and if it does indeed last as long as 500 years... well, its going to be there for quite a while with more and more added to it. For us beaders, well, we are usually a more responsible group and I do enjoy using it.

Emerald Window said...

I say for beads - YES! For fishing - NO!

Patricia C Vener said...

I can see that I'm in the minority but that's possibly because I haven't tried the stuff. I am very happy with my Silamide thread. I love the colors, how it behaves (mostly), it's excellent strength, and the fact that I can thread it through a number 13 beading needle. It also does not stretch. And given that I have been known to stuff the holes of beads by many passes of threads and knots, I really do need something fluidly flexible, thin, and strong.


Dawn N said...

I use Fireline for most projects. I got tired of dealing with split thread.

Chrisbeads said...

Fireline is high on my list of favourites, although One G has been very good too. Definitely prefer Fireline for sculptural pieces and multiple passes through the beads.
Great post Glenda.

Jane-Michael, Crafter Extraordinaire. said...

I can't live without Fireline! I have gotten the size d (6lb test) through size 15 and 16 needles! Although, I agree with Marsha. It does have it's limitations when trying to create a fluid drape. Luckily, for me, most of my projects are very structural.

Marina Levy said...

Fireline is good and strong, but really expensive

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