Anodized Aluminum and Chipping
by Dale Armstrong
Question:

Hi there! I love using wire in jewelry-making and I've noticed there are so many lovely colors of soft anodized aluminum wire and copper craft wire around. But what puts me off using them is that they seem to marr and chip really easily. Is there a varnish or lacquer that can be sprayed on finished pieces to protect them?

-Joanna in Cookstown, Ireland
Instructions
Answer:

Hello Joanna, how lovely is Ireland! I totally understand your frustration, because my daughter has used anodized aluminum rings for some of her chain maille designs.

Aluminum is a very soft metal and next to impossible to harden, so tool marks are going to happen! While working with this pretty wire as well as colored craft wire, it is important to be firm and confident with every tool move.

Sometimes folding a piece of lint free-material (such as a piece of cotton t-shirt) or a polishing cloth over the wire while you work will help avoid dents and the removal of the color coating.

When using colored copper craft wire, some people enjoy using nylon jaw pliers as the jaws will not nick the wire when making 90° bends.

After finishing a piece, some people use nail polish to repair color chips and bad scratches. My favorite protective product is the Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray. For details about this product, please refer to Seashell Jewelry. Just remember to educate your customers about the products you use and that all protectants are temporary.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

Materials

Silver Plated Copper Craft Wire
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Enameled Craft Wire
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Aluminum Wire
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Tools

Economy Nylon Jaw Pliers
G2-25
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
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Polishing Cloths - Pack of 4
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Brilliant Polishing Cloth 12x8 Inches - Pack of 1
G9-64
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design