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Thread: Filing wire???

  1. #1
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    Default Filing wire???

    Hi

    Another daft question ...

    I'm just practising with copper wire and learning how to twist things - I made a bracelet which was really just twisted figures of 8 linked together but I wanted to get the ends a bit tidier , should I file them and if so what sort of file should I use? or is there a tool to help with this?



    Also how do you get the pieces the same size - do you just use a Jig?

    and finally ...

    What tools can I use to help me hold the wire whilst straightening or tightening up loops etc that won't mark the wire?

    I'm still plucking up the courage to experiment with soldering at the mo !!
    Michelle x

  2. #2
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    If you mean the cut ends of the wire, you can use a needle file, or tbh a four grade nail file. For rounded ends, a burr cup is the tool you're after - you can use it in a flexshaft or by hand in a pin vice - always turn in the same direction.

    For making identical figure of 8 type links, a set of bailing pliers or multi loop pliers can be very helpful. I don't use a jig, but I know some people like them for making multiples of components.

    As for toolmarks, there are a couple of things that helps - one is to make sure you're not using a 'death grip', the other is to smooth the edges of the jaws of your pliers so there aren't sharp bits that can cut into the wire.

    Copper is a great medium both for practice and for finished pieces, but it is a very soft metal and very vulnerable to marking. You can smooth out a lot of marks by using 0000 wire wool and then wet and dry papers, polishing papers, or (my favourite) micromesh cloths.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelliem View Post
    should I file them and if so what sort of file should I use? or is there a tool to help with this?
    I think most people perhaps have their own favourite tool or method. One of my favourite tools is a diamond nail file I was given as a gift about 37 years ago. I suspect it must be very good quality, I've never seen one anything like it. That's just right for taking the sharp burrs off cut ends of wire. But I also use an impregnated silicone disc in a rotary tool (held permanently in a clamp so I can work with both hands) when I have a bit to do and also fine grade wet and dry.

    Also how do you get the pieces the same size - do you just use a Jig?
    Rack ofth'eye and twist of gob largely. I have a little card in my tool box drawer that I refer to often, which has lines drawn on it for the various lengths to cut wire for particular links, clasps and assorted earwire styles. Once I decide what length works for something, I draw a line on the card, with a scribble of the link shape next to it. I can just lie the wire along the line and cut one off, then can cut more the same as the first one. Often I need different lengths for different gauges/tempering of wire.

    As for shaping, I tend to use looping or bail pliers for most of my links, as opposed to jigs, I never did get on with them - I prefer working in my hand. Experience simply teaches you where to position your wire along the plier and where to start your turn etc. There's not really any quick fix, just experience and time learning.

    And getting to know metal too. Copper bends much more tightly to the shape of your tool, because it's softer. Half hard silver would spring back a little, so make a shallower curve of greater diameter using the same tool.

    What tools can I use to help me hold the wire whilst straightening or tightening up loops etc that won't mark the wire?
    There are many tips and again, I suspect we all have our favourites. Most people grip far too tightly, that will mark unnecessarily - work relaxed. You can use nylon pliers, rubber type solutions to coat your tools and I personally, tend to grind any sharp edges off and have a favourite pair of pliers, with soft edges for the hefty gripping. I also keep some thin strips of anti-slip matting (they type you get in cheap shops on a roll for about a pound) with my tools when I need to get a really good grip on something heavy or tricky. It both protects the wire and improves grip.

  4. #4
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    Wow thank you both

    Thats loads of information which really help me.

    I have very little experience with wire as you've probably guessed but I did buy a cheap jig but I don't think I'm going to like it either I do quite like making the shapes myself and feel it would help me become more skilled.

    Hmmm my saved shopping basked on Cooksons is about to grow - again!!
    Michelle x

  5. #5
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    Boo and George, can I ask what are bailing or looping pliers? I looked up both, but got no joy.
    Linda

  6. #6
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    Oh, and without a grinding wheel, what is the best way to grind the edges of your pliers?
    Linda

  7. #7
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    Ha! I see that George and I said the same thing.

    If you look on Cooksons, they have one called Multi-sized Looping Pliers - item no. Product Code: 999 CB12.

    I also have some bail pliers that are much the same, but with just two straight sided sizes, 6mm and 8mm made by Beadsmith. Putting that into Google will find loads of references to them.

    You can just use some fine grit wet and dry on the edges of flat pliers to soften the edges - Cooksons sell many grades of it.

  8. #8
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    My current favourite bailing pliers are made by wubbers. Three pairs, so six sizes of tip. I use them all the time. I find the multisized ones a little clumsy to use by comparison.

    I tend to file my pliers with a 2 cut file to start with, and then wet and dry or micromesh to finish. It makes a huge difference.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for that guys
    Linda

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all of your tips, I have now filed my pliers, used a needle file and burr cup to smooth out the ends and I feel much happier with my finished results.

    I now have some more questions - sorry

    When making a 'wrapped loop bead link', I find it very hard to twist the wire into place when I have attached the bead (so on the second loop) and it always looks 'not quite right'. My fingers seem to get in the way, either that or the bead does. I'm thinking that maybe I'm trying to bend the wire a little too close to the bead ? and wondering what you guys think?

    Also is there a technique to get the wire on both sides a the same angle - I'm finding that i end up with one horizontal and one vertical and have to twist them level which then messes up my twisting. I'm trying to figure out what direction to bend but it just confuses me every time.

    I also attempted to make 'eyelet chain links' my first few attempts were very poor but now I have succeeded in making them reasonably ok. However the instructions say to bend the wire around something (so I used those staggered pliers) then the straight ends should go in a bit and then down rather than hanging straight down from where I have bent it (I hope this makes sense) I'm finding it difficult to bend the wire at the straight end bit into shape. I have managed it now but it takes me an awfully long amount of time and after only a few links I've very sore fingers and broken nails. Im pretty sure I am doing something wrong but my book is only explaining it in simple terms.

    Can anybody pin point what I'm doing wrong with this???

    and finally ... how do you store your wire, mine has gotten a bit muddled up (same as me it would seem) and I think I need to be more careful in how I store it and unravel it on the next batch.

    And it all looked so easy
    Michelle x

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