Tips for Working with 18G Wire
by Dale Armstrong
Question:

I found some cuff bracelets made with very large gauge (18) wire & am trying my hand at it. Any tips you can give me on working with it? Some design ideas would be great, too. I plan to mount a large focal stone in the center & am not really sure how to do it right.
Instructions
Answer:


If the 18g wire you plan to work with is round, be prepared for some denting of the wire with your pliers, as with a round surface there is no way to firmly hold large, round wire with a flat surface (like the inside of pliers) and not dent it. If the wire is square and half-hard, you should have very few problems with dents as long as your frame is made 'on the square'.

Regarding adding cabs to the design, personally I would set my stone separately and then attach it to the frame (similar to the bracelet design on my book cover) or set the cab first, making the frame in 2 pieces, side-to-side, and where it joins on each side (like where you would normally put a bail) make sure the wires are long enough to be incorporated into the entire bracelet bundle. If done in this manner, the bracelet frame will usually have to be shaped to be able to incorporate the stone, by bending the wires out and around while planning the main bundle, so the stone has room to be placed between them before taping and then wrapping the entire bracelet.

Of course, I suggest that you make the actual pattern you are looking at first, so you are familiar with how the designer/author suggests making their design, before you plan to alter it.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

Materials

18 Gauge wire options
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Tools

WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
G15-20
  • G15-20
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Premium Steel Bracelet Mandrel - Oval
MAN-217.00
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Steel Bracelet Mandrels - Round
MAN-216.00
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  • Category: Design
  • Technique(s): Wrapping, Design, General Education