I am trying to understand what all the thread descriptors and types are and I found this reference that seems useful.
A thread about thread.
I love this forum
Word to the wise. Glazed thread is way to hard for what we do.
There’s a lot of variety in thread, designed for different sewing or crafting uses. Here’s a starting point for anybody wanting to make yoyo string at home: look into Serger thread. A Serger is a kind of sewing machine that uses thin polyester or nylon thread. Stuff like Wooly Nylon, Maxi-Lock, Joann’s cone polyester. Usually these come on a cone, and you can just search “thread for Serger” and come up with some good options.
Stuff like upholstery thread is way too thick and has a weird texture. Cotton is weird and I haven’t cracked that egg yet. I’ve tried quite a few cotton threads and it’s not easy to find a good one. Starting with Serger thread will get you at least a decent start and you can experiment from there.
Anyways. Getting too into the details isn’t super helpful when you’re starting out, just having a good starting point will get you going then you can figure out the other stuff from there.
I’ve got several spools of poly, nylon, and cotton from places like thread art, but I’m working on understanding the nomenclature and attributes used to describe thread so I can compare different options and predict what might be good for making string.
Apparently, thread “weight” is about as batty as paper weight I the USA. Tex is a more reliable measurement of how heavy a thread is. Bigger Tex numbers means heavier thread (the opposite is true for weight, but there are additional factors to consider like how many yarn strands are plied together).
Everything I have learned suggests that extra long staple Egyptian cotton thread is probably the best option for cotton string, since it is stronger than most other cotton. I’m still looking in to some of the options there. Mercerized is apparently not a common technique now and gassed thread might be preferable, but I have not seen many threads that advertise that as a feature. Glazed thread also sounds suboptimal and waxed seems like a bad idea.
I have also seen discussions about bonded nylon being like fishing line and I believe that is what BBB nylon thread was made from. Generally not recommended as a string material, though.
One of my experiments soon will be to compare spun poly and core poly. I believe everything I have used to date has been spun.
I am also getting some different wooly nylon to experiment with as well as trying to just reproduce the basic Spool Thread formula for reference before trying same variations of the process using cotton or cotton blends.
Mercerized cotton feels weird, it’s too slick for fixie play.
An annoying thing about thread is that the same basic type of thread can feel vastly different from one brand to the next. So one brand of nylon Serger thread might feel great while a different brand feels too springy or too slick. Cotton is especially bad about this, where different brands of Egyptian cotton might be too slick or too rough even though on paper they sound exactly the same.
Tbh, I’ve given up on cotton for the moment, as I honestly really love Yoyo Zeekio’s cotton string and Zipline has a great boutique option so it’s not really a corner of the market I care about getting into, since I can recommend those to people who ask, and I just use those on my own yoyos too. After trying about two dozen cotton threads in different combinations, I understand why Zipline is so proud of their kot-n blend as I’m sure they put many hours of R&D plus blood sweat and tears into getting the great result they have.
I agree, thread weight is annoying as all heck. It really only means anything when you’re looking at two threads of the same variety. Like, comparing Tex 27 mercerized cotton vs tex 42 you know the 42 is going to be quite a bit thicker. But tex 27 polyester and tex 27 cotton can be completely different thickness, because it’s based on weight not diameter. Plus there are like five different ways of measuring weight and thickness that different brands use so you’ll end up needing to use a converter to get any meaningful comparison… The rabbit hole goes deep lol.
All of this is just my personal experience of course. Things that I find kind of meaningless might make a huge difference to other string makers. I tend to just get a formula I like then use that same formula just changing out colors to get a variety that have the same feel.
BBB string is interesting… definitely see that it would last a really long time. honestly, i really regret getting black BBB string. i don’t know what i was thinking. string visibility is so important to me now that I just can’t bring myself to use black string, but i really want to try playing with it more.
Embroidery thread is the best. Love me some Coates and Clark when I want to cteate a zippy boy.