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Twisting 101

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com


Tip for March 28, 2014

Wire Twisting 101- Jewelry Making Tools

Twisted wire can add style, dimension, and elegance, flash or fun to a wire jewelry design. Sometimes twisted wire is a major player, placed where it is to be seen and sometimes it is added in obscure places to add interest to a design such as within the sides of a framed cabochon.

I receive questions from those who are a bit confused as to how to twist wire, what to twist and when to use it, so my hope is that this article enables you to have more fun using twisted wires in your jewelry designs.

Let’s begin by looking at a variety of ‘wire twisters’, and how to use them.

1. Wire-twisting pliers:

They are basically a pair of large, heavier pliers with an attached pin vise that has a spring-loaded handle.

How to use it:

  1. After cutting the desired length of wire to be twisted, one end is tightly secured to a solid surface such as winding it around a nail on a bench or a wall, (or having another person hold the end firmly in a heavy pair of flat-nose pliers).
  2. The operation is to then insert the other end of the wire(s) through a hole at the back of the plier’s jaws and then into the end of the pin vise.
  3. After locking the wires tightly into the pin vise, the round knob at the end of the pin vise is pulled out and let go, causing the spring mechanism within the pin vise unit to twist the wire(s). It can be continuously pulled and released until the wire is twisted to satisfaction, and would be best used for lengths of wire18-inches and longer.
  4. After the desired twist has been achieved, open the pin vise to release the wire and pull it out of the pliers, then unhook the wire from the nail or other secured end. Yes, these pliers can be used to twist either a single or most multiple wire combinations.

2. Automatic Wire Twister:

A cordless power screwdriver is a small, compact unit that can be used to twist either a single or most multiple wire combinations easily. The Automatic wire twister has twice the power of most cordless screwdrivers. This automatic wire twister is approximately 7.5 inches tall, has 4.8 volts of power, and spins at 400rpm. Twist almost any size wire at twice the speed!

The three-prong chuck is included, so you don’t need to order an extra twister head–it’s all here. A complete wire twisting package with no other attachments needed. Weight is 1.5 lbs.

Please note: This tool comes with a rechargable battery pack and A/C Charge Adapter. To recharge the battery pack, you must plug the adapter into a 120 A/C outlet, which is standard for the US. If your country uses another voltage, you may need an adapter for this tool.

How to use it:

  1. Place the end(s) of the length of wire(s) to be twisted into the chuck and spin the chuck tightly closed around the wire(s).
  2. Hold the opposite end of the wire firmly in a pair of flat-nose pliers and push the button in either the forward or the reverse direction and twist until the desired effect has been obtained.
  3. Open the chuck and release the wire. (Having the option of either forward or reverse is nice when planning wire designs.)
  4. Most power screwdrivers include an A/C adaptor that can be used to charge the unit for use without electricity. The A/C adaptor is also a nice feature as when the charged power has run out, the unit can still be used while plugged into an electric source and charging. Yes, a power screwdriver can be used to twist really long lengths of wire, gauges 12 and smaller.

3. Pin Vises: There are two types.

Swivel Head Pin Vise

Double Ended Pin Vise

How to use them:

Each is used in the same manner.

  1. Twist one of the heads to open the inset jaws and then insert the end of a single piece of wire, (or two or three small gauged wires), into the center and twist the head tightly closed around the wire(s).
  2. Hold the opposite end(s) of the wire(s) firmly with flat-nose pliers and twist the pin vise with the other hand until the wire is twisted to the desired look.
  3. Then twist the head open to release the wire.

These units are most often used to twist shorter lengths of wire, from ¼-inch to 12-inches. Each of these two pin vise styles can be used to twist separate segments on the same wire.

Holding Wire While Twisting:

Although a pair of chain-nose pliers can be used, I prefer to use flat-nose pliers to hold the opposite end of the wire. The larger surface area inside the jaws of a flat-nose give more stability and you do not have to hold them in a ‘death grip’, thus preventing possible damage to your hand or wrist.

How to properly twist:

  1. Place about 1/8-inch of the wire end into the jaws of flat-nose pliers, about mid-way down the jaw.
  2. Hold the pliers so they are vertical to the horizontal position of the wire, grip firmly and hold the wire so it is just tautly and twist away! If you hear a ‘clicking’ noise coming from the flat-nose end, you are not holding the wire tightly enough and the wire is turning within the flats.

What about wire?

We receive a lot of questions with regards to confusion about the sizes, shapes and tempers of wire to twist or not to twist. Here are a few facts to remember:

• Twisting any temper of wire will harden it!

• The more tightly any wire is twisted, the thinner and weaker the wire becomes; therefore take care when working a tightly twisted wire using complicated techniques.

Twisting Square Wire:

• When an individual square wire is twisted, the resulting appearance is similar to a diamond cut chain, which is referred to as a ‘bead’.

• Although two individually twisted square wires can then be twisted together,due to the difficulty in getting each individually twisted to the same ‘bead’, the result will more than likely be a looser twist as the two twisted wires will seem to repel each other.

Twisting Round Wire:

• A single round wire cannot be twisted to get a ‘party streamer’ or coiled appearance.

• Two or more round wires can be put into a wire twister and twisted together.

• Round wire can be twisted around a square wire.

Twisting Half-round Wire:

• Half-round wire can be twisted around a square or a round wire.

• Half-round wire can be twisted individually.

For more detailed instruction – Check out our complete line of Instructional DVDS to get you started!

I hope this answers a few of the many questions about twisting wire. If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to try it.

Happy Twisting!

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Creating with Metal

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com


Jewelry Resource for March 19, 2014

Creating with Metal

Are you interested in learning more about how to make metal jewelry? Or maybe you have some experience, but want some additional practice… In either case, in our Metalworking 101 DVD Series Patti Bullard walks you step-by-step through 6 projects that are not only fun to create, but beautiful. Today I wanted to offer you a peek at some of the projects that Patti creates. I know you’ll love them!

Metalworking 101 DVD Series Projects

DVD 1: Earring EssentialsFunctional Zipper Pulls

Make 2 different pairs of earrings in Earring Essentials. Learn to solder post earrings and make ear hooks, explore dapping and texturing, and make a wire wrapped dangle. You’ll learn all the basics of soldering, including pickling, quenching, torch safety, and Patti’s little tricks to make soldering fun and easy.

DVD 2: Geometric Links Bracelet

Functional Zipper Pulls

Shape heavy-gauge wire around Wubbers® mandrel pliers and make perfect soldered joins while making this Geometric Links Bracelet. Discover Patti’s satin-smooth finish secret and find the best tool for the job. You’ll create a dangly, jangly bracelet that is a great gift and will help you practice soldering.

DVD 3: Mix & Match Stacking Rings

Mix & Match Stacking Rings

Use special wire and the soldering techniques we’ve practiced to create your own Mix & Match Stacking Rings. Discover how to solder a ring, attach a bezel cup, and set a cabochon in the bezel. Plus tips on finishing the rings and applying patina.

DVD 4: Mixed Metal Collage Pendant

Mixed Metal Collage Penant

Step into an art & composition cold connections workshop with this Mixed Metal Collage Pendant. Discover what makes a collage pendant interesting, learn to punch and rivet metal, and make a one-of-a-kind bail. Then turn on your flame to paint with heat patinas! Includes a tracing example and a composition guide.

DVD 5: Discover Open Back Bezels

Open Back Bezels

Use pattern wire and soldering techniques to create an open back bezel, which you can use to make earrings and pendants. Fill an open back bezel with EnCapture Concrete to embed your treasures, and discover how to add color to the background. Exploring Open Back Bezels will open your eyes to all the possibilities!

DVD 6: Twinkle Star Bracelet

Twinkle Star Bracelet

Stamp and decorate this mixed metal Twinkle Star Bracelet to create a charming link bracelet. Solder and cold connect to create a piece that fits the wrist perfectly and showcases your mastery of soldering techniques.

Do you want to know more?

A little bit about Patti: Patti Bullard is a jewelry instructor, the inventor of Wubbers® pliers, and a lifelong artist. Patti has taught wire working and metal-smithing across the United States since 2004, and loves sharing her enthusiasm and techniques with others. Patti’s experience in many forms of jewelry creation has given her a unique insight into the best tools and creation methods, and she enjoys teaching others how to craft unique jewelry pieces. You’ll be amazed how easy Patti makes soldering!

Pick up your own Metalworking 101 DVD Series today!

Metalworking 101 DVDS

Happy Metalworking!

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The 5-Minute, 5-Things Spiral Ring

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com

Live from Tucson 2014

Tip for February 5, 2014

Tip Guide to Tucson!

The 5-Minute, 5-Things Spiral Ring By Kate Richbourg

I made this ring at the demo booth at the Tucson Gem Show. Heather from Jewelry Tools came over with a camera and said “Wire tutorial for our blog… Ready? Go!” I am always up for a quick and easy and off-the-cuff project. The result is this fast and stylish wire ring. Don’t worry that your spiral may not look like mine. Creativity is the key here. Try it with round wire in a different gauge, tighter or looser spirals or more wire for a bigger spiral. Create and have fun.

The five things you need:

The five steps:

1. Cut 1 ft. of wire and wrap it twice around the ring mandrel at your preferred with the ends crossing on the top with tails of equal length.

2. Use your hands to pull one wire to the left about a quarter way around. The wires will start to form an s-shape to make the interior of the spiral. Repeat with the second tail. Switch between each tail of wire, forming the spiral and keeping it flat. Stop when you have about 1/2″ tails remaining on both wires. Be as free-form as you like and don’t worry about getting a perfect spiral. A free-form spiral looks great with this design.

3. Use chain nose pliers to wrap the tails around the shank of the ring on each side. 2-4 wraps per side will secure the spiral.

4. Place the ring back on the ring mandrel and adjust the shape.

5. Add a patina to the ring using Liver of Sulfur and polish with a pro polish pad. Slip it on your finger and admire!

To learn more about Kate Richbourg and see the amazing classes that she’s teaching in Tucson, CLICK HERE


Now we want to hear from you! What neat tips do you have for a great Tucson trip?

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Wooden Dapping Blocks

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com

Tool of the Week for January 29, 2014

This week’s featured video tool tip is about using Wood Dapping Blocks.

Today, Kate Richbourg discusses the Wood Dapping Blocks and it’s basic uses. I’ve featured our Large Wood Dapping Set, 7 by 4 by 3 Inches: DAP-160.00 below, as well as some other related wood dapping products, but feel free to look around and I”m sure you’ll find the right tools for your next project.



Demonstration by Kate, JewelryTools.com

This week’s featured tool from JewelryTools.com is the Large Wood Dapp Se: DAP-160.00

This large dapping set includes a hardwood block and ten punches ranging in size from 65-16mm (2-1/2″ to 5/8″).

The hardwood block is double-sided with ten machined half spheres that accommodate each size punch. Block measures 7″ x 4″ x 3″.

Price: $59.95


Click below to see this Large Wood Dapping Set DAP-160.00 available on JewelryTools.com

Brass Hammer 1 pound

Other Dapping tools you may find useful: Wood Dapping Block with 2 Punches: DAP-126.00

Bezel Block Set

Shallow Groove Shaping Block:

Shallow Groove Block

Shaping Punch Set: DAP-140.05

Shaping Punch Set

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Steel Bracelet Bench Block

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com

Tool of the Week for January 22, 2014

This week’s featured video tool tip is about the Bracelet Bench Block #DAP-560.10 with Kate Richbourg.

Today Kate Richbourg discusses the many uses for the Bracelet Bench Block # DAP-560.10. I’ve also featured the Steel Bench Block, Large Economy: #DAP-540.10 below, as well as the Steel Bench Block, Small Economy #DAP-525.10, so that you could see the differences. Bench Blocks are a must for anyone’s workbench!




Demonstration by Kate, JewelryTools.com

This week’s featured tool from JewelryTools.com is the Bracelet Bench Block # DAP-560.10

This new Bracelet Bench Block is the ideal size for working on bracelets and other large pieces.

Hardened steel, the surface of this block is perfect for texturing, forging and stamping.

Measures 6″ x 4″ x 1/2″.


Click below to see this Bracelet Bench Block #DAP-560.10 available on JewelryTools.com:

Bracelet Bench Block

Other Hammers you may find useful: Steel Bench Block, Large economy block #DAP-540.10

Steel Bench Block Large

Steel Bench Block, Small Ecomony Block, #DAP-525.10

Steel Bench Block small

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