Monday, February 15, 2010

Experiences Twisting Wire

I must admit I have been remiss in posting to my blog. I was caught up in Christmas and since Christmas have been exploring techniques found in my Christmas books-Wire Art Jewelry by Sharilyn Miller and Wire Work by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong.
Since I have become enamoured with learning wire wrapping, I decided I needed to learn to twist wire to give variety to my designs. The wire twister purchased at Harbor Freight was the beginning step. However, I found I was not strong enough to engage and release the spring catch on the twister. Harbor Freight readily refunded the purchase price.

Next I decided to try the technique using a cordless drill as described in many resources.

Materials needed:
Cordless drill
Round or square copper or practice wire
Masking, painters, or quilters tape

Single wire twist
Place masking tape around each end of the wire. Place the wire ends securely in the vise and then in the drill chuck. Keep the wire straight and taunt between the vise and the drill. Twist at a medium speed until the wire appears to your satisfaction. Remove from the vise and drill. After twisting the single wire, I found that the length was still the same so extra length did not have to be added to allow for twisting. I would think that if I had twisted more, the length would have been shortened. When I twisted a long length, I did add some to the length to allow for inaccuracy in my measurement due to the coil of the wire.
Armstrong recommends that when twisted wire is used side by side, use one wire twisted on forward, and one wire twisted on reverse. It helps the wires stay together.
Single TwistedrWire
Single Twisted Wire

Double wire twist
Measure at least twice the length of twisted wire you wish. You might want to do a test piece measuring the beginning length and the ending length. Tape both ends of the wire together. Place a nail in the vise so that the pointed end is up. This will allow the wire to slip off when twisting is finished. Put the ends of the wire in the drill chuck. Place the folded end of the wire around the nail. Step back from the vise holding the wire in a taunt straight line from the vise to the drill. Twist at a medium speed. Stop when the wire meets your approval. Some directions state to twist until the wire around the nail breaks, but I did not find I needed to twist that much.
Double Twisted Wire
Double Twisted Wire
Twisted Wire
Twisted Wires and Swirl with Twisted Wire

Mark the gauge of wire you have twisted either single or double. Knowing the size will be valuable when using in later projects combining with other wire. Twisting the wire work hardens it. I found the dead soft copper wire I twisted had work hardened.


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  2. Thank you for the great tutorial, I think I can use it for Handmade Earrings