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Author Topic: what type of silver wire to buy?  (Read 1458 times)
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Still thinking about it...........
Forum Member
Posts: 162

Life is too short to wake up with regrets

« on: July 08, 2009, 04:08:45 PM »

Up to now I have been fiddling with craft wire experimenting with bits and pieces for making bracelets with my beads, and making up a few trial pieces.  Now I am ready to try making some pieces in proper silver so I can give them for presents.  I would like a small stash of silver (not plated) wire in the most commonly used thicknesses to cover most eventualities, wrapping, links, clasps, bangle wires (as per brangles) etc and am confused by all the options available. My preference is for the chunky rather than the delicate.

Please can someone give me a clue to as to what would be a good cross section to buy. Am I better buying sterling or fine?
Should I half hard or soft?

I suspect just a metre of heavy, and perhaps slightly more of the most commonly used thicknesses.

So many questions.
So many answers.
How long is a piece of string.
How much do I want to spend?
Does anyone do a starter pack.
I note that Cooksons don't specify if their silver wire is hard, half hard or soft.  Which do I assume it is?
Maybe I need too many people to hold my hand.

Help please.

Forum Member
Posts: 42

« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2009, 05:20:13 PM »

If it's for wirework ie wrapping I'd use a half hard 0.6mm (20 gauge?)
For ear wires, use hard 0.6mm
1mm is really quite chunky - you could use it for bangles.

The more work you need to do with the wire the softer you should get it. It will work-harden the more you twist/shape/bend it.

I use 0.3 fine for melting onto lampwork beads.
The next I have is 0.5 for finer detail.
The largest I have is 1.5mm for really chunky stuff (I wouldn't consider this unless you're into cutting and soldering!)
All sterling.

That's just me...

Posts: 799

Or should that be missus?

« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2009, 04:01:40 AM »

I rarely use half hard for wrapping - I find it hardens up too quickly. Cookson's 'standard' wire is soft, but not as soft as some other bullion suppliers.

My most used gauges are:

0.5/0.6mm for fine wrapping, briolettes etc
0.8mm for general wire wrapping, and 0.8 fully hard for earrings
1.0mm for everyday wiring - links etc.
1.3mm (my most used gauge) for links for beads, smaller clasps and hooks.
1.6mm for bigger bails, clasps, toggles and forged work

2.0+ for bangles, rings and pendants.

I'd buy some of the more common sizes in copper (which behaves very like silver) and have a play with that to see what you like and practice designs first and once you know what you like working with, then get the silver. Remember, there are price breaks for buying slightly higher weights, so very short lengths can be uneconomical - and do get used up very quickly!

Still thinking about it...........
Forum Member
Posts: 162

Life is too short to wake up with regrets

« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2009, 02:54:56 PM »

Thank you so much for the information.
I have been practicing with silver plated craft wire.  I did buy some 1mm brass to make myself a clasp for a specific necklace but found it very stiff to work.  I will definitely get the copper to try as well.
I love twiddling little bits of wire, and I really enjoy making my beads into something wearable.  My relations are in line for some very predictable presents for the foreseeable future!
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