Daily Wire Tip: Twisting a Length of Wire Evenly

By on August 14, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

Hi, I’m new to wire working and I purchased the Jump Start series. I also purchased the G10-22 sliding pin vise. I watched your video on using a pin vise, and when I try to do it the square wire twists very tightly on the ends and not so much it the middle. I also tried it with my husband’s drill and it did the same thing. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

-Shirley in Lafayette, Louisiana

Answer:

Hi Shirley, and welcome to our "twisted" world! I am always happy to help folks of any skill level in any way I can. Twisting wire is not very difficult and you are doing it correctly; however, different wires do twist differently. Most precious metals like sterling, Argentium® and gold-filled, as well as some of the base metals, all twist pretty consistently, and there is no "trick" to doing it. If you take a few minutes to read either the article on our blog Getting Twisted or the directions that come with our automatic wire twister, you will find many ideas for twisting wire combinations as well as the answers to questions you may not have thought of yet.

No, wire does not always twist consistently. It is the nature of the product. While you twist a piece of square wire slowly, watch it: the wire twists at each end first, and then in the middle. Occasionally, with lots of practice, you can twist evenly using a drill or automatic twister, but it is a rare event. If you desire a consistent twist, you have to plan for it by adding a half-inch or so to the overall length of wire you are working with and cut the tightly twisted ends off. But remember this is handcrafted jewelry! It is not supposed to "look" like it is manufactured.

I am glad that you enjoy the Jump Start series and I hope it gives you enough information to convince you to go forward with your new wire jewelry hobby!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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13 Comments

  1. avatar

    Ginni Tutterow

    August 15, 2011 at 9:42 am

    If you hear a “clicking” sound while twisting, the wire is slipping, either on the pin vise end or the pliers end…a very common problem for my students who are new to the process. Tighten up the pin vise, get a grip on the pliers, and good luck!

  2. avatar

    Emma Guy

    August 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Be sure to keep a good tension on the wire as you twist…gives better results.

  3. avatar

    Mary Beth

    August 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I have found that if I don’t have my wire coming straight out of the vise (coming out at a slight angle) then the wire twists much tighter on the ends than in the middle. Making sure the wire comes straight out makes a much more consistent twist.

  4. avatar

    Autumn

    August 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    What I do is twist one end of the wire(s)in the drill until it is the look I am going for. Then I switch the ends, and put the end I was holding in the vice into the drill for a few spends to even the twist. Hope that helps.

  5. avatar

    Margaret Delaney

    August 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Hi I am a member of the Scottish Mineral and Lapidary Club. When I was making a bracelet with D wire (do you call it that?)one of the guys put one end in the vice and with a very heavy set of pliers on the other he twisted it to my satisfaction.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards

  6. avatar

    Jilly

    August 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I use my pin vise and a flat-nose pliers for twisting. I start with the pliers about an inch or so from the pin vise and move them away as I twist. This makes a pretty even twist.

  7. avatar

    DeLane

    August 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Dale, don’t forget to remind Shirley that the wire must be pulled taut and kept level. That is another of the problems with getting irregular twists.

  8. avatar

    Cindy

    August 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Don’t toss out any twisted wire that doesn’t look quite right to you. You can use it to make some seriously funky jump rings! Wrap your twisted wire around a mandrel and make a coil. Cut the coil, either with snips, saw, or more sophisticated cutting methods if so desired. If the ends don’t join up quite right, it’s okay – like Dale said it’s handmade! Just make sure they are not sharp – file off the rough spots. Voila! You now have way cool bails, spacers, chain links, beads, whatever you want to use them for. Get twisted!!

    Enjoy, Cindy

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      August 16, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Thanks for the reminder Cindy – some designs actually have “happened” while using twisted scraps :)

  9. avatar

    Brett Scott

    August 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    watch the wires and their angles relative to each other before and after every twist. In my experiences and lessons I have found that each angle (degrees 0 to 180) create a different twist.

  10. avatar

    Sharon Polk

    August 16, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Hi, I have found that when you have a lot of wire to twist, that if you twist 4-6″ at a time, you get better results. I have a pin vise you can thread your wire through to be able to do that. Hope this might help you.
    Sharon

  11. avatar

    Liz Little

    August 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I finally found a pin vise like the one Dale uses in the Video. It is much better than the solid one piece vises I purchased from several different sellers. The end is pointer and holds the wire better and the nut is easier to slide and stays put.

  12. avatar

    Gillian Holder

    December 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Hi , I am trying to make a twisted wire connector to hang a large focal from and attach it to chain. What I don’t understand is if I make a figure 8 , how do I finish it off when I am finished or for that matter, how do i finish off any shape i make.

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