All About Soft Wire

by Dale Armstrong
This week I found another great question in our older posts that I think is well worth revisiting - All About Soft Wire. Maybe you've had this same question as well.
Instructions
Question:
I have been working with wire for more than 25 years, and have used many gauges, usually in half hard. However, sometimes I get more soft wire than I want. I remember my old teacher telling me when I complained about soft wire that it will work for a while, but then it’ll get hard. I have found that while shining the wire with a cloth that if I bend it gently and straighten it a few times, it does indeed get harder. Plus, if I twist half hard, it can get too hard to use, but if I twist dead soft (square of course), it gets just about right. What do you think?

Answer:
Yes, twisting dead soft wire will make it close to half-hard temper. The question then would be, how much twisted wire do you want to be in your design?

As far as twisting half-hard wire and it becoming too hard, that would depend on how much of a twist or ‘bead’ you put on the wire. (Sometimes I will individually twist several pieces of 24g sq half-hard and use them to hand-sculpt with, and I often twist 21g or 22g sq half-hard when making a cabochon frame too.)

In my opinion, the amount of twisting done to what gauge and temper of wire is up to the individual artist and comes first from their experience and then from their choice.
What Gauge to use:
Are you familiar with what gauges of wire to use in different kinds of jewelry? Here’s a quick chart for you to refer to in a pinch:
Dale Armstrong's All About Soft Wire - What Gauge to use:, General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Wire gauge chart
Wire Working Education
If you are interested in learning more about wire work or wire twisting take a look at the many Instructional DVDS and Wire Jewelry Books that we have available. A few suggestions might be our Jump Start Beginner Series, Intermediate or Advanced Series or even Coiling and Weaving Series.

Materials

Wire
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10X10 Inch Selvyt Polishing Cloth Tan - Pack of 1
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Wrapping