Thursday, July 9, 2015

Finally, Steel Wire!

After working with copper, brass, and plated metals, I'm trying a new material - dark, annealed steel wire. I've been fascinated with the look of steel write for quite some time. Ace Hardware had 19 gauge wire, but I found it too thick and stiff for wrapping stones neatly. I noticed on their website that 24 gauge was available to order in-store but was told I needed to order 10 packages. I do a lot of wire-wrapping but I certainly do not need 1,000' of wire! Finally, the store manager agreed to work with me, asked what I needed it for, and inquired if I might need more in the future. Of course! Now I have 2 packages of cool steel wire. 

My original reason for wanting this wire was to wire wrap some beautiful bumblebee jasper stones. The stones are a gorgeous combination of black, gray, yellow, and orange. Steel wire would look awesome!  But first I had to experiment with this wire to discover its properties. 

This first experiment was conducted with 19 gauge steel wire, which I looped around the top portion of the blue glass bead and the yellow Indonesian glass bead. For the lower loop and the earwires I use gunmetal headpins.  I was still waiting for the 24 gauge steel wire to arrive.

For this second pair, I used 24 gauge steel wire to wrap around a gorgeous chalcedony briolette, kiwi quartz bead, and pewter bead. I also coiled some of the 24 gauge to add to my handmade plated silver earwires.  

After ending up with black hands, I've learned that the wire must be scrubbed with steel wool and polished to remove the black coating. Easy enough.

I'll finish by treating the wire with some Rennaisance Wax to prevent rusting, which is likely to happen in this climate. Fun experiment! Now, I think I am ready to wrap those bumblebee jasper stones.

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