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by Carolyne Brennan
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 Industry Tips & Techniques
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Artical 1 Wire Gauges

Well this is a tricky one I am often asked what gauge wire do I use for my project, and you guessed it, it is never that simple!
In my experience
It all depends on the piece you are making, for example if you are wire wrapping a large pendant then it is going to look very silly if you wrap it in 22 or 24 gauge wire as it is to thin & 12 gauge wire is very difficult to work with and is thick so you would not use this for wrapping (see below for wire gauge chart as it all works in the opposite to the way you would think as the 18 gauge wire is thicker than the 24 gauge) so the higher the number the thinner the wire. This is very confusing when you first start off with wire work but it does get easier as you learn more about the properties of wire
.I will give you more information about this is coming newsletters as there is so much to say.
One of the most important things to remember if you are wrapping a large piece with a hole in it (now this will also depend on the size of the stone & or whether it has a hole in it, top to bottom drill or side to side drill)
TIP *** if using a stone with a hole in it MAKE SURE THE WIRE GOES THROUGH THE HOLE FIRST, if it doesn't then you have to tackle this in a whole different way, see I told you this was not an easy one !! Once you have established what gauge wire is appropriate to use for your project now you can begin.
TIP *** Always use nylon jaw pliers where ever and whenever you can so as to avoid marking your wire.
You can either start with a loop first (or a double or triple loop depending on how this is to hang onto work) and then start to wrap taking into account the shape and size of your piece.
Be prepared to cut the wire off and redo and redo as the next one you wrap will be better than the last...practice practice practice!!, do not look at this as wasting your wire or your time, you can always get some cheap wire to practice with,(try & get wire that is as close to the wire thickness that you will be using) When I am not working with silver I choose Artistic wire to work with see website for info Hot Dot Designs Jewellery Designing Tools

Gauge /Millimeters
12/ 2.06
14 /1.60
16 /1.30
18/ 1.0
20/ .82
22/ .64
24 /.5
26 /.40
28/ .33
Please remember there is more than one way to do anything. In my opinion as long as you get the required end result anyway you arrive at it is fine as long as it is well executed and attention is paid to the neatness of the back as well as the front of the work

Article written By Carolyne Brennan of Hot Dot Designs 08/06/2010


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