Wire - dead soft or half-hard?

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Original Post

Just curious . . . to the other jewelry artists out there, do you typically use dead soft or half hard wire for wrapping briolettes?

I've been using dead soft because its easier to work with. I'm still a beginning when it comes to wire work and still learning all the ins and outs of working with wire. I'm thinking I should be using half hard instead.

Posted at 2:48 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT


StudioDax says

Always dead soft - working the wire will harden it.

Some folks use half hard for earwires or basic loop wraps, because it is springier and keeps the shape better, but to me, I prefer working with DS

Posted at 3:50 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

Personally, I hate dead soft wire and never use it for anything if I can help it! I get much neater, tighter wraps with half-hard.

Posted at 9:03 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

Iuse DS wire. Working with it hardens it and I like the maleability of it.

Posted at 9:05 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

I prefer to get raw materials dead soft. I always manipulate the silver a lot so it hardens quickly. But I don't do very much wire wrapping, so I may not be qualified to answer.

Posted at 9:08 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

I like half hard for 24 gauge and thinner. Everything else I buy in dead soft.

Posted at 9:08 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

Wow, looks like I'm in the minority! But I really do have a strong preference :)

I spent days looking for a good source of half-hard copper wire because I got so sick of dealing with the soft stuff that just bends willy-nilly all over the place and doesn't stay where you put it.

The book that I got when I was starting out (All Wired Up by Mark Lareau - a terrific book on basic technique that I highly recommend) says to use half-hard, and I'm going to quote him here:
"Dead-soft wire offers no resistance when you're working with it. This quality may initially seem to be an asset, but it actually makes the wire very difficult to work with. If you grasp a piece of dead-soft wire with flat nose pliers and try to make a sharp right angle bend, the wire turns limply to make a weak and curving bend. Half-hard wire is ideal for wirework because the wire resists you every step of the way. It doesn't want to bend, less of it's surface yields, thus it makes a sharp angle."

But the only way to decide what's right for you is to just get some and try it both ways!

Posted at 9:15 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

my preferences are:

soft for briolettes
half hard for earwires
half hard for wrapping links
soft for intricate wrapping

<- wishes she was playing with wire right now....

Posted at 9:18 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

TheBrassHussy says:
my preferences are:

soft for briolettes
half hard for earwires
half hard for wrapping links
soft for intricate wrapping

<- wishes she was playing with wire right now....


Same here...

Posted at 10:14 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

Dead soft, you can always toss it in the tumbler, as long as your stones aren't soft as well. I use dead soft 28, 20, 18 and 16 gauge wire, sterling silver. 28 and 20 gauge parawire. Of course the parawire can't be sent to the tumbler.

Posted at 10:18 am Sep 2, 2010 EDT

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