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Topic: Beginner in need of advice and help  (Read 2154 times)
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Diane B.
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2010 10:08:45 AM »

I agree with everyone else as well, but wanted to point out that at least 2 of the links you gave went to items where the wires have not been hand-shaped (the kidney earwires and small hoop were just purchased already in those shapes, and one or both may be a very rigid wire that was formed with a machine, etc, and won't bend easily.).

I forgot to mention too (though it's on that Wire page at my site I linked to before) that sometimes "jigs" or rods/etc of various kinds are used to shape wire, especially for large loops and curves and for multiple-curve shapes or ones that can easily look a little off (like a square, for example).
Those helpers can range from rods of all kinds and sizes (knitting needles, small bottles, wood dowels, metal mandrels, etc), to round or other shapes of pegs sticking up out of a homemade or purchased flat base, around which the wire is wrapped:
Here are some pics of the base-pegs type ones, here made by WigJig: 
http://images.google.com/images?q=Wig+Jig
And here are some homemade ones:
http://images.google.com/images?q=wire+jig+nails

As for getting better and better, that mostly is something everyone learns from playing around and sometimes from reading/seeing little tips about how others do it.  Once you have the proper type of wire and pliers or jig for what you want to do (and you might use different pliers in the same piece), then your muscles will learn exactly how much to turn the pliers, etc, to do what you want, and many people will still tweak those shapes a bit here and there if they're into "excellent" finishing techniques.

Aslo, jewelry pliers come in various "types" and also sizes, as well as qualities.  There's some info about them on my page and also online in many of the wire work sites. 
(When you said "store brand" pliers, you weren't talking about a hardware store, were you?  "Jewelry pliers" are different in size and other ways from those and can often do a better job more easily and smoothly, though I've used those for some things too.)
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010 11:10:46 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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few of my photos
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Bionic Dingo
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2010 01:00:40 PM »

The most important thing about picking pliers is to make sure they don't have teeth, which alot of hardware store pliers do. (Which isn't to say all. I have a set of hardware store pliers and they do me just fine.)
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funkyjunkdesigns
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2010 03:56:19 PM »

I agree with everyone else as well, but wanted to point out that at least 2 of the links you gave went to items where the wires have not been hand-shaped (the kidney earwires and small hoop were just purchased already in those shapes, and one or both may be a very rigid wire that was formed with a machine, etc, and won't bend easily.).

'Not necessarily true.  It is very easy to make kidney wires, so don't be fooled into thinking that they are necessarily machine made.  They are not what I would recommend for a beginner, but they are not hard to make at all.  And small hoops are even easier to make, and can be made in 18 g wire.  What most of us do to make earwires keep their shapes is hammer them.  Once an ear wire is hammered, it is almost impossible for it to bend out of shape when putting it in your ear.  In making your tree of life pendant (the one in the circle with all of the branches) hammer the outside of the circle or use 18 or 16 gauge wire.

As far as tools, you might want to look at Wubbers, Tronex or   Lindstrom if you can afford them.  Otherwise, hardware pliers without teeth and with the edges filed down will work just fine as long as they fit your hands.  My first pairs were from Sears.

One of the best books, if you can't come to my classes LOL, is Mark Larreau's All Wired Up.  He gives you the very basics that you need to do professional wire working.

Another book that I recommend is Wire Jewelry Visual Tips...Lots of Great Info.

Oh, and don't ever use pliers to straighten wire...never!  Use a polishing cloth and run the wire through your hand.  Let the wire uncoil naturally from the spool or the coil and straighten the wire in 2-3 foot sections.

HTH.

You're on your way!
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edifiz
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2010 05:51:41 PM »

I bought a set of pliers from a local bead store. But it was very cheap so I am assuming they are not that good. It does not have any teeth but it seems to be a little small.
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edifiz
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2010 06:01:43 PM »

funkyjunkdesigns - Thank you so much for your advice. Also thanks for recommending the books. They are really VERY HELPFUL. It answered lot of my questions.

As Bionic Dingo mentioned earlier (and after reading the book) it looks like copper is not the easiest metal to work with. However that seems to be the cheapest. I do not want to use sterling silver for practice. Is there a cheaper wire that works like sterling silver ?

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catdaddytn
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010 08:05:15 AM »

As others have said, there is a learning curve for making jewelry.  I definitely make mistakes, even after working with wire and jewelry for a while.  I read somewhere that it takes making at least 16 loops to get it right.  This is a basic technique, but I still have trouble with it.

I heard or read somewhere that ball games are won and lost on basic skills.  For instance, how many basketball games are won or lost with a free throw. I never have been able to give credit for this quote.  I think the same thing could be said about jewelry making.

thanks.
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catdaddytn
Diane B.
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2010 10:18:36 AM »

 
Quote
after reading that book it looks like copper is not the easiest metal to work with. However that seems to be the cheapest. I do not want to use sterling silver for practice. Is there a cheaper wire that works like sterling silver ?

Unless you're making higher-end jewelry, and especially while you're learning, you can just use regular "jewelry wire" like the kinds on spools you'd buy from bead stores and some craft stores.  They come in several gauges and usually at least in "gold" or "silver" colors and sometimes others.  The ones I use look sort of like the ones in this photo (the first two spools):
http://www.firemountaingems.com/shopping.asp?skw=KWCORDOTHERGOLDWIRE
Those kind work great for most any jewelry (and won't tarnish/etc), and loads of people use only similar types or perhaps add brass** or maybe copper from the hardware store or may buy some of the colored wires, etc. 

However, if you ever decide you want to use higher-grade wire and/or spend the extra money, you can then start using more "precious metal" wire (and sell your things for more money if the style and workmanship appeal to the higher-end buyers).

** http://desiredcreations.com/howTo_PJBrassFramePendant.htm
http://desiredcreations.com/images/galleryFivePics/WovenLeafBrclt.jpg
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010 10:26:12 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
edifiz
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2010 09:24:24 PM »

Diane B - Can you please tell me what metal is the jewelry wire made of? I went to the craft store and all the jewelry wires there seem to be made of copper (with or without other coatings). So they are still very soft to work with. I bought some German silver (copper and nickel) wire online and they seem to be a little harder than copper.

Also as someone mentioned earlier, hammering the wire did help. However the hammer is leaving marks on the metal. I am using the regular hammer from a hardware store. Is there a big difference between the jewelry store hammer and the regular hammer or am i using it wrong?

I tried to hammer the wire to make ear wires similar to this. I followed the steps in the tutorial but my wire had hammer marks all over it.

http://www.ohiobeads.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=916
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Diane B.
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« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2010 09:11:36 AM »

I can answer some of those questions (yes, the hammer and hammering surface make a difference as well as the metal, there should be other silver and "gold" colored wire at bead stores and in some craft stores, and a huge variety online at Fire Mountain gems, etc), but not others. 

Really, I think it would be best though to go to a forum where members really know all about this stuff and could give you complete and accurate answers, for example this one at the Art Jewelry magazine site.  You'll have to join (free) to ask questions but can be done in just a few minutes:
...their Wireworking forum: http://cs.artjewelrymag.com/artcs/forums/26.aspx
...become a member from here: http://cs.artjewelrymag.com/artcs/forums
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010 09:12:30 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Bionic Dingo
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2010 04:45:57 PM »

I bought a set of pliers from a local bead store. But it was very cheap so I am assuming they are not that good. It does not have any teeth but it seems to be a little small.

If they meet your needs, who cares? I have a chasing set made from roofing nails. They're ugly as all hell but they were cheap and they do a good job. If it ain't broke don't fix it. As for hammers, there are thousands of kinds. My personal favourite is a chasing hammer I have that I use for damn near everything, but they tell me that's bad form. Anyway, if you're using a metal hammer, it is going to mark your metal. Think of it as rock-paper-scissors. Anything you hit your metal with that is harder than itself will leave a mark. That's why I suggested using a paper, rawhide, wood, or plastic mallet. That being said you can use hammers to texture your metal in thousands of diffirent ways; they're good tools.

The main problem wth "jewellery wire" is that you don't know what it's made of.
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