Monday, July 19, 2010

All Wrapped Up - Which Wire for Wire Wrapping?

Wire wrapping and choosing wire - what is the best wire to use?

Well - like anything - it really depends on exactly what you mean. In this case - what do you mean by "wire wrapping?"

I tend to think of this stuff (on the left) when someone says "Wire Wrapping," - but this, (on the right) can also be called "wire wrapping." I'm sure I don't know what else to call it! The techniques as as different as the end results - and so is the wire used.

The secret - the flat-out, knock-down, depths of hell secret to the stuff on the left is . . . (drumroll please) . . . the square wire. And the half round wire.

It really does make all the difference in the world. If you are going to cut 5 pieces of wire, lay them side by side, and then tightly wrap wire around them to hold them in place without glue or soldering - it is essential that they don't move around relative to each other - and having flat sides accomplishes that. The devil is in the details!

After that - the rest is easy! Well - relatively easy! Like our resident instructor, Robert Burton, would be pleased to hear me say that! Don't tell him I said that. Maybe he won't see this.

The other kind of wire wrapping - the more free-form stuff - well - that requires just two things - the wire be heavy enough to be strong enough - without being too big to use, and soft enough to bend easily and repeatedly. I'm not a big fan of being in pain - so I like my wire soft and easy to bend!

So the bangle bracelet is made with 20 gauge wire for the base, for strength, and 26 gauge wire to wire on the embellishing beads. Both of these are Artistic(tm) brand wire - which has a copper core and is soft and easy to bend, and does not work harden - although it CAN fatigue and break if you bend it back and forth in the same place too often.

More on wire next week!

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