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Daily Wire Tip: Wrapping a Bail is Simple with Technique and Tools
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
Dear Dale, my hands are getting stiff (old age), and I have some problems wrapping the wire around the top of the pendant where the bail will be placed. Any suggestions?
-Judith in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee
Hi! Yes, I can certainly understand the challenges you are having as your body begins to rebel with maturity (it really has nothing to do with the fact that you worked hard when younger, does it?).
The best advice I can offer here is to be sure you are using the best possible tools for the tasks you desire to execute. I see so many "second wind" artists and crafters in my classrooms, who have been trying to follow jewelry making patterns by using hand tools that are very well worn (yes, you love them and although they have done a fabulous job for years, now they need to retire); as well as those folks who are just starting out (finally doing something they have always wanted to do) and who think that because they treat jewelry-making as a hobby that just any old tool will do, as long as it is similar to what the instructor recommends.
As you specifically mention wrapping wire around a bail to hold a frame together, this technique really is no different than wrapping a bundle together! The only difference is that the frame has two sides to wrap together, and is therefore twice as thick as the main frame bundle. This means that the hook made at the bottom of the wrap wire needs to be twice as wide, so it will easily fit over the two frame wires being joined together. After the hook has been put on and crimped, use the same method of wrapping each of the four sides, using flat nose pliers to hold the bundle while making a 90° bend at each of the four corners, and crimping with the flat nose pliers at each bend. Really, 2 wraps to show are all that is needed to hold the frame wires together, then form the bail and continue to use the same wrap wire to wrap in the bail wires, about 2 or 3 more wraps and it’s done! I hope this helps.
Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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