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Daily Wire Tip Jan. 26: Making a Zig Zag Design with a Jig Frame
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
January 26, 2010
I have a bunch of your videos. I do need help with one thing I can’t find on your videos. I want to make a zig zag design on one of those little jig frames. I want it to be thick. What size and type of wire should I use, and how do I flatten it out?
Although I don’t use a jig, my mom has one that I just played with so I could honestly answer your questions (as the designs I do that appear to be ‘jig-made’ are actually made using round nose pliers). I used both copper and sterling silver, round, soft wire in my experiments, in gauges 22 through 16. Both metals worked well; the 18 and 16 gauge work hardened rather quickly on small tight designs and was more controllable on larger open patterns; 20 and 22 gauge worked best in the smaller tight designs and didn’t work harden to my desires on larger open designs.
To ‘flatten’ any designs like these, you can use a chasing hammer and a steel bench block. If you are just experimenting before making the decision to purchase these metal working items, a regular ball peen hammer (smooth the heads first with a grinder) and the top of a steel vise will work too. You can choose to just flatten the curved sections, or just the straight or the entire piece. By using this method, you will also work harden both the 21g and 22g round wire in larger designs.
My conclusion, and I believe the answer to your query of how to create jigged designs that are thick and flat, would be to use either a 16g or 18g round, soft wire.
An example of a round wire design, made using round nose pliers and finished with a chasing hammer and bench block can be found here: https://wire-sculpture.com/pages/suzanne_hollingsworth_christmas_tree_charm.html
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
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