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Kate’s Top Ten Tips – Part 2

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com

January 15, 2014

Kate Richbourg’s Top Ten Tips for a Wiretastic New Year’s!

Part 2

Okay gang! Last week I shared FIVE of my top ten wire tips for a “Wiretastic” New Year’s.  Don’t put down those pliers yet! To keep your momentum going, here are five more to keep you on the road to wire work in 2014.

1. Take a class and learn something new. Now as you may know, teaching is my passion. I love to share knowledge about all types of jewelry making techniques. Sometimes if you are having a creative challenge, it may be time to learn some new tips from an expert.

Did you know that Wire-Sculpture.com offers a metal working class on DVD for FREE? All you need to do is pay for shipping. Plus it features the fabulous Patti Bullard, wire and metalworking queen!

free-metalworking-101-2

 

2. Hammer it out. Sometimes a wire design just looks better flattened a bit with a hammer and a little texture. I love this chasing hammer. I use the flat side to flatten and work harden my wire components and the ball side to add a little hammered texture. Remember to wield that hammer with a light touch. We are making jewelry here, not building a house!

Chasing Hammer with Wooden Handle, 1 1/8 Inch Face

Chasing Hammer with Wooden Handle, 1 1/8 Inch Face This chasing hammer has a 28mm (1-1/8″) face for striking chasing tools or flattening.

3. When in doubt, punch it out! Use the sheet metal hole punch plier to pop holes with ease through metal up to 18-gauge. Use pre-cut metal blanks, add some holes and wire wrap them together to create a quick linked earring or bracelet design. The large sized holes will accommodate a variety of heavy-gauge wire and your piece will have a bit more of an edgy look.

7 Holes Metal Punch Kit- 2.38mm to 7.14mm - Pack of 1 Kit

7 Holes Metal Punch Kit- 2.38mm to 7.14mm – Pack of 1 Kit

4. Patterned wire is AWESOME! Seriously, when I learned about this patterned wire all I could say was “Wow!” The designs are so interesting!

basemetalpatternwire

5.  When in doubt, dap.   Watch my video tutorial on how to use Dapping Tools:

 

 


 
Also, CLICK HERE for a quick tutorial on how to use your dapping skills to make your own beadcaps. Enjoy!

 

There you have it – Kate’s final five tips! If you’d like to re-read her first five tips – Click Here!

Judy Ellis

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Bench Block Helper by Kate Richbourg

by Judy Ellis, Wire-Sculpture.com

December 27, 2013

Bench Block Helper # DAP-500.30

by Kate Richbourg

Today’s video tip is by Kate Richbourg of JewelryTools.com. She discusses the many uses of the Bench Block Helper. Check out the video below!

 

 


For more information about some of the other great Bench Tools we have, CLICK HERE!

Enjoy!

Judy Ellis

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Cutting Steel Pattern Wire

One of our newest products is Steel Pattern Wire, great for making wire bangles, collars, and cabochon frames. You might find it a bit tricky to cut, because it’s tougher than Xurons and even Tin Snips – so we thought we’d take a minute and show you how we cut it in our warehouse!

Cutting Steel Pattern Wire

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We’ve also heard from a customer whose Lineman pliers do the job; he said it just takes a firm grip. Some of our customers have found that using a bench grinder allows them to smooth the cut edges of the pattern wire, so it’s very dull and safe on skin. Of course, this depends on how you use the pattern wire: several wraps around a wire bundle containing pattern wire as well as square wires will help insulate the ends. Good luck – and we’d love to see your pictures of steel pattern wire jewelry on our Facebook page!

Daily Wire Tip: Wire Wrapping 1-Carat Gemstones

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

I recently purchased a parcel of faceted gemstones hoping they would be large enough to wire wrap. Unfortunately, they are all about 1 carat and below in size. What jewelry making method could I use to incorporate these gemstones that doesn’t involve soldering?

-Betty in Cocoa, Florida

Answer:

Hi Betty, I had to grin when I read your question because you say that the stones are 1 carat or smaller, which really doesn’t tell me what size they are, just how heavy they are. Carat weight varies greatly depending on the gem material. For example, corundum (sapphire & ruby) is a very heavy/dense material (density approx. 4 gm/c³), so a one carat sapphire would be a lot smaller than say a 1 carat citrine (density approx. 2.65 gm/c³) or any other quartz such as rose, lemon, smoky, amethyst, etc. The carat is a unit of weight, not size: a carat is defined as 0.2 of a gram, so there are 5 carats to a gram.

I am not going to scold you for purchasing what seemed to be a wonderful deal, however when buying stones for wire jewelry designs, it is best not to purchase “parcels.” We had a nice discussion on this subject a while ago, that I invite you to read: Buying by Carat Weight.

Now, that being said, let me tell you how you might be able to incorporate some of these tiny treasures into your wire jewelry designs. The best way would be to set each stone into a snapset and then use the set stone in your design. To make sure you order the correct size snapset for each stone, it would be best to use a caliper. We talked about this here: How to Measure Gemstones for Settings.

Setting a stone into a snapset is kind of fun, as shown in the short video tip below. Personally, I love using tiny snapset gemstones to accent a cabochon pendant. Now, go have some fun with your little sparklies!

 

How to Use Snapsets 

 

 

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
May 17, 2011

Question:

I want to start making handmade earring wires and S-clasps in gold filled or bronze wire, probably 18 or 20-gauge. Should I be using half-hard or dead soft wire?

-Debra in Knoxville, Tennessee

Answer:

Well Debra, if you are making ear wires I definitely recommend using half hard wire as it has more ‘spring’ and ear wires can take a beating, or full hard if you can find it. Ear wires need to will hold up to the constant abuse they will take from putting them on and off. I usually recommend either 21 or 22-gauge round wire for ear wires; I wouldn’t use anything larger than 20-gauge for ear wires!

If you are using an 18-gauge for clasps, S hooks, etc, then I would use a soft wire, because 18-gauge will work-harden very quickly with tiny bends. If it does not harden to your liking when making an S hook, just harden it a bit with a chasing hammer and bench block.

For a very pretty clasp design, I’d like to invite everyone to view this Swan Clasp tutorial from our talented Faculty member, Albina Manning.

Albina Manning’s Swan Clasp

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You’ll need:

  • about 3″ 18- or 20-gauge round dead soft wire
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional: 3-step pliers, hammer and bench block

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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