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Daily Wire Tip Sept. 26: Choosing Wire
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
September 26, 2009
What is the rule of thumb for uses of gauges, temper of wire? Most projects I see recommend half-hard wire.
As the artist and creator, you are the one who will decide which gauge and temper to use for whatever design you are making! There are so many different ‘styles’ of wire jewelry, and each instructor and/or author has their favorite, however to generalize: ‘Sculpting’, is mainly done by hand with few tools involved and most of the wire used is dead soft so it can be easily manipulated, in gauges according to the size of the project from 24g through 18g; ‘Coiling’ utilizes mainly round and half-round wire in soft and half hard tempers from 26g or smaller to 16g; ‘Weaving’ is also done in both dead soft and half hard, in all sizes; while ‘Classic or Traditional’ designs use mainly half hard, often incorporating All tempers, shapes and gauges.
I would suggest that a person follow a few patterns or wire wrapped tutorials, getting the ‘feel’ of different wires as the authors who designed the patterns did so for specific reasons such as why they choose certain tempers and gauges, according to what components and embellishments are involved in the piece being made. Once you feel comfortable with certain techniques, you’ll be able to go off on your own, knowing which wire You want to use for whatever technique.
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong