One of the challenges of working with strong, gel-spun beading thread such as FireLine is that it can be difficult to cut with regular scissors. Not only can it dull beading scissors, but anything less than a clean cut makes it much more difficult to thread your beading needle. For this reason, I often recommend that beaders use a hobby knife, children's safety craft scissors, or wire cutters to cut FireLine from its spool. For making precision cuts close to the beadwork after weaving-in (to end a thread), I often recommend a thread burner.
Now there's another great option. Xuron is marketing a special tool that cuts cleanly through FireLine with precision. This certainly caught my attention, and I was excited when the company sent me a free sample pair. The cutters, which Xuron calls High Durability Scissors, look something like a cross between beading scissors or snips and wire cutters. They are 5.75 inches long, with the grippy rubber handles measuring about 4.25 inches and the cutting parts of the blades about 1 inch long.
They're American made and feel solid and sturdy. What makes the blades unique is that they have tiny serrations, which apparently are designed to grip your beading thread and keep it from sliding while you make a cut. Regardless of how they work, they certainly work well for me. Here's a summary of my observations.
- The comfortable handles make them much easier to use than a hobby knife.
- Although the cut is similar to what you might achieve with some children's craft scissors, the tapered points allow you to reach into tight spaces and cut close to the beadwork -- whereas kids' scissors do not (at least not very easily).
- The cut is cleaner than you can get using wire cutters or a thread burner.
- The cutters are good quality and should last quite a while.
- They're also useful for cutting other strong beading materials, such as C-Lon beading cord.
- Pricier than children's craft scissors.
- It takes a little more effort to squeeze the handles to make a cut than it does with scissors or most wire cutters, because of the heavy spring mechanism between the handles. (It could probably be removed, but that would also take some effort.)
- Although the cuts are clean, you still need to squeeze the very end of FireLine between your finger and thumbnail, or slide it through chain nose pliers, to flatten it enough to thread most beading needles.
Where to Buy Them and How Much They Cost
Rio Grande, the big jewelry making supplier, currently carries Xuron Beadweaving Scissors for a price of $24.00, and I've found them on Amazon.com for around $21.00. I'm on the lookout for other suppliers and will update this article as I find them.