Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Top Tip Tuesday ~ Working with Wire

Working with Wire

What you need to know about working with wire!

Here is the first in my new series of Working with Wire.  It will include Top Tips on Tools and Wire Gauges ~ What to use & when and how to use it.

Top Tips    ~~  Stretching/Strengthening Wire

Before starting to work with wire it needs to be stretched or straightened, this strengthens and hardens it slightly, it also takes out a lot of the bends and light kinks it may have.

To stretch the wire, depending on the gauge -I will base it on 0.8mm (20g) wire, a pair of nylon coated jawed pliers are invaluable but you can use your own fingers (which is what I did for a number of years before getting my first pair of pliers).

Place the wire between the jaws of the pliers, starting nearest your hand, squeeze pliers and pull along the full length of your wire as far as your arms reach will allow. Now move the pliers to that position and carry on until the end of the wire. Repeat this action 2 or 3 times.

NB:  It is advisable to use around a 1m to 1.5m length of wire if you are using it for wrapping or coiling, if you use longer than this it is more likely to get tangled and kinked, plus can become difficult to handle and a possible chance of injury!

Wire makes a wonderful whipping noise through the air while working with it ~~ Love the sound but eye protection is necessary! 


Top Tips  ~~ Hammering Wire

When you have made your item, say for instance, a clasp/hook with a loop to connect a bracelet or necklace, you will need to strengthen it to stop it from bending or distorting.  Hammering the item will give it stability and strengthen it to stop it from doing this.

There are a couple of ways of hammering wire, it will depend on your chosen effect of the finished look to the piece!

Firstly, you have to decide if you would like a flattened look or a rounded look to your wire item:

Flatten Look ~ you can use a ball pein hammer on a steel block hitting the wire many times on the circular area of the clasp/hook or loop. You will also get hammering marks appearing which gives a slightly faceted look to the piece, this can enhance the feel of the piece and give it a more rustic effect.

NB:  Do not hit any wire areas where they cross over each other!

If you have a chasing hammer and prefer a much smoother feel to the piece then because of the lovely smooth, domed head of the hammer, it will not facet the item as much as the Ball Pein hammer. You can also use the round (ball end) head of the chasing hammer, this will leave slight indents in the wire and give a different type of finish altogether, to the wire.

Rounded Look ~ if you prefer to leave the wire in its natural rounded shape then the Rawhide Mallet is the hammer to use or a rubber mallet if you have one!  This hammer should not leave any marks on the wire or flatten it but it will still strengthen it.

Hope this is helpful.

Please comment if you would like any further advice!

I will come back when I have some photos to add, I couldn't find the photos I thought I had for this posting.

Next time ~ will be on Wire Gauges and when to use them.


E x

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