Daily Tip July 12: Taming the Wild Wire Bundle

By on July 11, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
July 12, 2010

Question:

Dale, I have almost memorized the instructions for straightening wire, both from your DVDs and book, yet I cannot obtain a well-fitting bundle. Do you have any additional suggestions to master this seemingly simple technique? While practicing, I use 21 or 22-gauge half hard square copper.

-Fran in Reston, Virginia

Answer:

Good for you for practicing so hard! If you have followed all of the directions with regards to making a bundle with your wire as straight as possible, the wire should cooperate. If not, are a couple of troubleshooting tips:

  1. Make sure the ends of your wires are straight as possible! When they are not, they tend to push away from each other and may even jump over one another, causing the bundle to bunch up even after you think it was tapped straight.
  2. If the ends are straight but the centers or tops are slightly curved, move each wire individually so that they are all waved in the same direction. Next, tape one end and smoothly run the wire through your fingers, making sure they all lie neatly next to one another before taping again off the center. Smooth again from that point to the last end, and tape again.
  3. If, while you are smoothing the wires together from a taped point and they seem to want to “fight” each other, don’t force them! That is where some folks make the mistake of not taking them apart and moving each wire around until they lie neatly next to one another, where they want to be.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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4 Comments

  1. avatar

    Ginni Tutterow

    July 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

    One thing I have found that makes it a TON easier to straighten wire: I do it BEFORE I cut the wire. I uncoil/unspool a bit more wire than I’ll need, straighten it while it’s still connected, then measure and cut.

    Not sure why this makes it so much easier for me, but it does.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      July 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Thanks Ginni! This is why I continuously preach ‘straighten the wire BEFORE you measure and cut! Let’s think about it: if the wire is cut first, you have to hold onto one end tightly while straightening it, meaning that the end being held is becoming harder as the wire is worked straight, and often this end becomes ‘comma’ shaped and now ‘harder’, which means the end has a slight curve that will not lay next to the other wires in the bundle, but as I mentioned in my answer above, pushes away from those wires next to it.

  2. avatar

    Mary

    July 12, 2010 at 11:28 am

    One of the bad habits I had that Dale had to break me of was cutting the wire the length needed and then straightening. Which, in my case, was the way I was originally taught before meeting and taking classes with Dale. The second bad habit I had was when I got to the end of the wire I was turning my wrist up and making the wire curve slightly on the end. Neither was a good thing and Dale quickly got me doing it corretly with great results.

  3. avatar

    Carol Penry

    July 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    On the subject of straightening wire, try pushing back from the table, and get yourself elbow room. Make sure you are not too cramped for space. Stand up if you have to. Also, in the hand that the wire is moving through, make sure your fingers are not too tight, forming a curve (thumb on top of two fingers). I can’t just use the thumb and forefinger, and you can’t stick your little finger out and straighten wire ‘like a lady’. Don’t be afraid to even change hands, and your finger positions. then it is like riding a bike, one day you will take off and it will come out straight. Good luck. and one book I read once, which I looked at and put back down quickly and gingerly insisted wire had a ‘nap’, and you should keep the ‘nap going straight’ and not ‘get one piece backwards’…. way more than I wanted to know about wire…but, if nothing else works, try it.

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