View Full Version : What tools do I need to work wire?

14-09-2009, 05:20 PM
After my little bit of soul searching over quality this morning and all your helpful responses I have decided to take the plunge and start actually using silver and copper findings made by me.
I've never done it before so I have no idea what kit I would need to get me started and I'm hoping it won't be too costly.
If I want to make ear wires and simple clasps what would I need?

This style ear wire I would like to be able to make for myself.
CEWR12- Copper Earwires 24pieces (12 pair) - Handmade by E2SSupplies on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=29342281)

Or this
SEWA4- Sterling Silver Almond Earwires 8 pieces (4pr) by E2SSupplies on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=30728618)

Am I being too optimistic as a total noob?

And if I wanted to solder copper and silver what would I need?

Thanks in advance for your patients, there may well be a lot more questions coming from here in the near future!

14-09-2009, 06:16 PM
Hi Pandanimal,

the tools i personally use every day and wouldent be without are

Snipe nosed pliers
half round pliers, these dont mark the metal and
flat nosed pliers preferably two pairs for jump rings
a selction of needlefiles, to smooth the end of earwires you will just need a flat one
a good pair of metal shears, worth spending some money on these

medium, easy solder
small torch 19.99 from cooksons
saftey pickle although there have been a couple of post on this and you can use other things aswell

i wouldent use anything over 08 for earwires some of those that you linked to looked awfully thick

hope this helps and i am sure other members will add to the list of things i have forgotten or that they use to:D

The Bijou Dragon
14-09-2009, 06:25 PM
To make those ear wires I use a piece of cheap wooden dowell, a pair of memory wire cutters (as they cut flushly) and a pair of round nose pliers.

You might also want to get a pair of nylon jawed pliers too.

The second pair are the just pair with a bit of pressure applied at both ends to make it fold in the middle.

Can be done very quickly, easily and what's more very cheaply :)

14-09-2009, 07:10 PM
Definitely not too optimistic, I expect you could do far better than the examples you have given!

A decent set of pliers as described is probably the most important thing for wire work, plus cutters, also needle files as Emerald says. If you don't want to spend money on exoensive flush cutters just yet you can always file the ends of the cut wire with you rneedle files. To round the end of your earwires you can use the needle files or get a cup burr and use in a rotary tool if you have one. Using one of these it's a bit easier and quicker to get a perfect rounded end. A steel bench block or min anvil would be a good investment along with a nylon or rawhide hammer for shaping and owrk hardening your wire.

Regarding wire widths, I tend to use 0.7mm wire as a couple of customers have fourn 0.8mm a bit thick in the past.

For soldering I personally would get some hard solder as well as what had already been mentioned, plus again if you are on a budget you can pick up a decent torch in B&Q for less than a tenner.

14-09-2009, 07:13 PM
Go for it Pandy, you will find it so easy hun, you are very talented xx

14-09-2009, 07:22 PM
Pandanimal - if you want to come over and have a quick look-see at my tools and how to make this sort of stuff, you're welcome - and only about 15 minutes away. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to :)

19-09-2009, 07:36 AM
I have been looking at cooksons this morning and popping things into my basket.
But when I got to files they have different "cuts" 0 through 4 by the look of it. As well as different shapes. What would I need as a beginner please?

19-09-2009, 07:47 AM
I have a set of different shapes in cut 2...I think thats about average and seems fine for rounding off ends of wire on clasps etc.
I could be wrong tho :)

19-09-2009, 08:06 AM
Thanks Trudi! There seems to be a lot of cut 2 files.

19-09-2009, 08:54 AM
yes 2 is a good alround size x

19-09-2009, 09:38 AM
My most used files are a 2 and 4 cut half round (full size) and a couple of 2 and 4 cut half round needle files. I know I should use a flat file more, but I reach for the half round without even thinking - it just feels nicer in the hand somehow!

For wire ends, you might want to get a cup burr (you don't need a flexshaft, you can just pop it in a pin vice) Burr:busch 411 Cup 1.2mm - Cooksongold.com (http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Burrbusch-411-Cup-1.2mm-prcode-989-020)

As a very simple rule of thumb, you need two gauge sizes higher than the wire you're rounding, so the one above is perfect for 0.8mm wire. It only takes a couple of twists (always in the same direction) and the wires are perfectly rounded. It really is much quicker than using a file, especially if you're doing a few at a time.