Sorting and Using Scrap Wire

by Dale Armstrong
Question #1:

When saving scrap bits of wire (the ones too small to use for any other purpose), should the various types of wire (brass, sterling, copper, gold-filled) be stored separately or can they all go in a single container?

-Sherri in Cody, Wyoming

Question #2:

Your Tip of the Day states you can always find a use for 1` - 2` pieces of half round wire. I haven`t figured out a use for that size of piece yet - What can I use small pieces for?

Answer #1:

In my opinion, wire scraps should be sorted as follows:

  • Argentium and sterling silver together;
  • Each karat of gold separately such as 10kt, 12kt, 14kt, and 18kt;
  • Each karat of gold-filled separately such as 10kt gold filled, 12kt gold filled, and 14kt gold filled;
  • Brass;
  • Copper;
  • Nickel;
  • Steel;
    And then plated items. If you know what the base metal is, you can place it in the appropriate base metal bin.

    These days about everyone one is taking metal scraps, from your local jewelry store to the recycle center. If your metals are properly sorted, it will be easier for you to sell them, as most purchasers will require them to have been separated.

  • Answer #2:

    I really do have several `scrap` containers on my workbench; one is just for half-round, one is for round and the other is for anything else (and no I do separate the metals). A one to two inch of half-round wire will make 3 to 4 wraps on a frame, depending on how many wires you are binding together. When I am making several pieces, I just leave all of the half-round scraps piled on my mouse pad work surface and use them until they are gone! While you are working, watch how much wire it takes to make a set of bindings and you will realize where you can use your own small pieces of half-round. (There are also several patterns on my new DVDs that actually call for using a scrap of half-round!)

    Answers contributed by Dale `Cougar` Armstrong


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    • Category: General Education
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