Harden Wire

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DOCami wrote
on Feb 27, 2010 6:41 PM

I would like to make hoop earrings and I need to know how to harden the wire. I have read tutorials and info in these forums but I can't seem to get the wire to harden. I am new to beading and am broke so I have limited supplies. Here is what I have:

Art wire 20g

Nylon hammer

watchmaker's hammer that has interchangeable heads: brass flat, steel flat, and poly flat

2 thick plates: 1 aluminum and 1 steel (subs for a proper anvil)

I have tried hammering with all the above on all of the above including a cutting board (dont try that) and a countertop surface. I can't get the wire to harden at all. I can get it to do that curling/creeping thing people talk abt but that is abt it. Please help!!

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yeli wrote
on Feb 27, 2010 8:04 PM

Have you tried 18g?

Some wires are softer than others.  Maybe it's the brand.

Can you tell me the brand and type of wire? Is it silver?

You also have to know that wire hardens, but not too much. 

There are some projects that cannot be completed in 20g.

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DOCami wrote
on Feb 28, 2010 12:53 AM

Its Beadalon ColourCraft permanently colored copper craft wire.

I would like to try 18g but unfortunately lack the funds atm. 

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JSmaz wrote
on Feb 28, 2010 4:50 AM

Most of the colored copper wire does tend to be pretty soft, and 20 gauge is on the thin side, so I can understand the issue you're having.  I'm guessing you're just trying to make simple hoops, and the 20g may just be too thin to get very hard.  If you're willing to experiment you could try wire-wrapping the hoops and that would add strength to it, but that may not be the look you want.

Jeni

Oklahoma City

ArtFire Studio & blog  |  Gallery 

 

 

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Pam I am wrote
on Feb 28, 2010 5:19 AM

When I want to harden a short length of wire, especially copper, I just hold it in one hand and pull on it with the other and run it through my fingers repeatedly until it's as hard as I want.  It's kind of like curling ribbon with scissors only I use my fingers instead of scissors.... it takes numerous times to harden, say 30 or so as a guess...maybe more depending on how hard I want it. 

Generally hammering with either a metal hammer on a wood (or soft, ie: wood, plastic, some other kind of surface that gives a little bit...probably not the cutting board though that's thinking in the right direction) or a wood or soft hammer on a metal or hard surface will give a good hardness without making the wire absolutely brittle.

While I'm thinking of it, of the hammers you have to use the one I would choose to do the most hardening is the brass flat as it might well be the hardest head of the three.  Steel could be too but I'd choose the brass first because brass is a very hard metal while steel can be made in lots of different tempers.  Doing this will mark the metal, there will be hammer marks, but those could be used as a decorative effect. 

Another thing you could try if this doesn't work too well is to take a couple of inches or so of this wire and roll it between the two plates you have.   This will also straighten it.

If this doesn't work maybe your wire is just way too soft to begin with, Billy and I just recently had a small amount of some kind of copper alloy we've pretty much given up on because it just won't harden but breaks at the least touch or bend.  That's the only piece of wire I've ever seen do this though....

Good luck, let us know!

Pam

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DOCami wrote
on Mar 6, 2010 5:15 PM

JSmaz:

Most of the colored copper wire does tend to be pretty soft, and 20 gauge is on the thin side, so I can understand the issue you're having.  I'm guessing you're just trying to make simple hoops, and the 20g may just be too thin to get very hard.  If you're willing to experiment you could try wire-wrapping the hoops and that would add strength to it, but that may not be the look you want.

What do you mean by wire wrapping it? 

 

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DOCami wrote
on Mar 6, 2010 5:23 PM

Pam period just Pam that redhead:

When I want to harden a short length of wire, especially copper, I just hold it in one hand and pull on it with the other and run it through my fingers repeatedly until it's as hard as I want.  It's kind of like curling ribbon with scissors only I use my fingers instead of scissors.... it takes numerous times to harden, say 30 or so as a guess...maybe more depending on how hard I want it. 

Generally hammering with either a metal hammer on a wood (or soft, ie: wood, plastic, some other kind of surface that gives a little bit...probably not the cutting board though that's thinking in the right direction) or a wood or soft hammer on a metal or hard surface will give a good hardness without making the wire absolutely brittle.

While I'm thinking of it, of the hammers you have to use the one I would choose to do the most hardening is the brass flat as it might well be the hardest head of the three.  Steel could be too but I'd choose the brass first because brass is a very hard metal while steel can be made in lots of different tempers.  Doing this will mark the metal, there will be hammer marks, but those could be used as a decorative effect. 

Another thing you could try if this doesn't work too well is to take a couple of inches or so of this wire and roll it between the two plates you have.   This will also straighten it.

If this doesn't work maybe your wire is just way too soft to begin with, Billy and I just recently had a small amount of some kind of copper alloy we've pretty much given up on because it just won't harden but breaks at the least touch or bend.  That's the only piece of wire I've ever seen do this though....

Good luck, let us know!

Pam

I did try hardening it with my fingers, almost to the point of blisters but it didn't work out. I guess I am either expecting it to be harder when I harden or its just too soft as you suggested. 

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DOCami wrote
on Mar 6, 2010 5:26 PM

When I harden the wire, how hard is it supposed to be? I just want it to be hard enough that it won't bend out of shape when worn. I have this idea for hoops that I really want to try but I need to make the hoops first. 

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JSmaz wrote
on Mar 7, 2010 2:13 AM

Sorry, I meant wrapping a second wire around the main wire (like a coil) to give it some added strength.

Jeni

Oklahoma City

ArtFire Studio & blog  |  Gallery 

 

 

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Pam I am wrote
on Mar 7, 2010 4:35 AM

DOCami:

When I harden the wire, how hard is it supposed to be? I just want it to be hard enough that it won't bend out of shape when worn. I have this idea for hoops that I really want to try but I need to make the hoops first. 

That's about right, hard enough to hold it's shape.  20 gauge wire isn't likely to get much harder than that anyway since it's a fairly small gauge.  Try the hoops and see...  I think they'll be fine.  Blisters, now that's not the idea...

Let us know how it goes.

Pam

 

 

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