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Hey Ray I use about the same things. I like to use bowstring wax to keep my strands together after cutting the end splices. The best I have found is the string makers type wax available from string making sources. This stuff is pretty tacky compared to regular string wax, and will insure the strands stick together. That being said, regular string wax will suffice. I have also found that a very useful tool to hold the two strings together in the initial stage of starting the two bundles together to form the loop is a large pair of hemostats. These are about 10 inchs long and have the locking clasps on the bottom.I slide some peep sight tubing over the ends to grasp the strings, and the tubing also protects the strands. Another handy tool is the small alligator clips. I also slide tubing on the jaws of a couple of these to clamp off the finished end of the first braid before I start the other end.