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Topic: WIRE Q&A  (Read 5689 times)
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« on: October 14, 2004 06:42:19 PM »

i just received an order of 20 g 1/2 hard sterling silver wire from a company called rio grande.... basically, i'm pretty unhappy with it. it's sort of flat and ribbony.  previously i had been working with cheap craft wire from joann fabrics.  is all silver wire flat-tish? does it warrant a complaint? it's incredibly hard to work with (i want to make bead and wire jewelry, using pliers and a wigjig if i ever get one)

whats the deal.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2005 01:04:24 PM by krazigal72 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2004 10:24:49 AM »

the problem is that you got "hard" wire. You needed to order the "soft" stuff.
Try heating it before you bend - it will get easier.


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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2004 06:28:23 AM »

Silver wire comes in all shapes and sizes, but as the earlier writer said. If you are to make wire jewellery you need to either buy the soft stuff, or heat it with some type of "fire" heat source. Like a blow torch, then place the silver in cold water, and it will go cold again, but it will be softer...

while you are working with it, it will get harder and harder and harder, even if you buy the soft stuff. SO i would suggest heating it anyway...

thought when you heat it, it will go black since the impurities of the silver comes out...and you might need to pickle it, or you can just polish it...with a polisher...and you can aslo easily get "fire marks" on the silver, shows up like a dark shadow on the silver, and that needs to be brushed out...and that is easiest to do with a proper polishing machine and a brush and tripoli...it's very hard to brush things manualy enought to get out fire marks...

anwyay, I say give the company a call saying that it wasn't what it said it was going to be...

also make sure that you buy round wire, and not flat wire or oval wire

« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2004 12:12:14 PM »

Where do you all buy your sterling silver wire? The bead store near me sells it but it's very expensive ($10 for 5 ft of 20 gauge). I bought some wire off a power seller on Ebay for a much better price but the transaction went badly and she sent me the wrong gauge. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good place to get sterling silver wire?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2004 08:47:55 AM »

Hi there -- you didn't mention whether that price was for dead soft, half-hard, etc & for round, half-round, etc ??

If it's dead soft / round sterling wire -- your store's price might not be as bad as you think (just like gold, silver's higher now than it's been in quite a while).

Just so you can compare that price with those from a fairly big bead&supplies company [[ FMG, that is, Fire Mountain Gems -- either print catalog or online at www.firemountaingems.com ]]:

5-foot pkg , 20 gauge round dead-soft sterling wire is $ 9.97 per pkg if you order only 1 or 2.

You could save some if you ordered 3 to 5 pkgs at the same time, that's $ 7.22 per pkg.
And it would be only $ 5.39 per pkg if you could order 6 or more at the same time.

[[ I use half-hard round sterling wire though, that's a bit higher --
1 - 2  5-ft pkgs @ $13.39 ea. ,  3 - 5 pkgs @ $ 9.45 ea. , and  6+  @ $ 7.71 ea.]] ...

There could possibly be less expensive places online to find sterling wire (did you try googling?). However,  I happen to like FMG because I really prefer phone-ordering from a print catalog to ordering from a website,  & because the service is very very friendly and helpful, & because shipping is surprisingly fast despite the fact that FMG is on the other side of the U.S.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2004 08:51:06 AM by Ayn » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2005 02:48:42 AM »

just something else to think about -
i use tinned copper wire which is sturdy, looks silver and is fairly well priced from electronics stores....

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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2005 11:58:03 AM »

Metallifferrous (sp?) and Rio Grande are excellent sources too.
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2005 03:08:25 AM »

I've been interesting in wire jewelry for a long time. I tried my hand at it a few times, immitating cool designs I found. My basic taste is for the swirling loops combined with strung beads, that sort of thing. The wire I bought was very very pliable, too pliable actually, and wouldn't hold the shape to save its own life.

Am I, perhaps, using the wrong kind of wire? What's the right kind to use? Or is there a technique for setting the shape?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

"I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels." -Pearl S. Buck
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2005 06:44:29 PM »

If using sterling you should probably start with fairly thick wire -- at least 18 or 20 gauge -- and with half-hard wire. [[ You may have had what's called soft or full-soft, which can be quite flexible or 'floppy' and isn't good for anything that must hold a shape by itself &-or bear weight, such as a jump ring or a regular nonwrapped loop or a clasp ]

As for craft wire, I believe several brands offer various thicknesses (another word for wire thickness is "gauge") but I'm not sure they have different hardnesses (another word for wire hardness is "temper").

See this is what happens when ya get old, lllol -- I *just now* remembered this! ::
It 'is' possible to make soft or dead-soft sterling silver wire somewhat harder & less floppy by [1] working it (that is, by the mere act of bending-looping-wrapping-twisting-etc) &-or [2] pounding / hammering it. 

For [2], I believe you're spozed to have a special silverworking type hammer but if you have some wire scraps just experiment with whatever tools you might happen to have on hand already. For example, a rubber mallet or a meat pounder or a small regular hammer (with the last two you should probably put something fairly thick & cushiony -- oh say like the stuff used for corns & calluses -- between the tool & the silver wire).

Think you're also spozed to have a special "anvil" on which to lay the silver wire to be pounded / hammered -- but again, various other hard surfaces around the house could also work just for the initial experimentation.   
« Last Edit: January 21, 2005 08:23:33 AM by Ayn » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2005 07:04:51 PM »

i agree w/ Ayn, I usually use an 18 gauge half-hard wire and it works fine for me

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