How to harden question

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barbbeads wrote
on 12 Jan 2012 5:03 AM

Okay I will admit it! I am such a newbie here....So beneath you guys. I made my absolute FIRST spirals and turned them into earrings! It was so much fun....I may just get addicted but how do you harden the metal so it doesn't bend accidentally into some new (completely undesired shape)?  Are their inexpensive ways to doing this?

Are hammers just for adding texture? reforming, etc?

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on 3 May 2012 9:47 AM

This is a really old post, so, I don't know if you'll get this, but, yes there are lots of inexpensive ways to work harden your new earrings. You can hammer them with a rawhide mallet, this will harden them without making marks on the metal. You can hammer them gently with all sorts of hammers which will probably leave marks. Also if your metal is too soft to begin with you can take both ends of the wires ( before you make your spiral ) in pliers and twist the wire to harden somewhat and them spiral them. The more expensive route is to buy a tumbler, stainless steel shot, and burnishing solution and leave your new earrings to tumble for a few hours.(shine plus work hardened!)

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kcdancer wrote
on 10 Jan 2013 2:08 PM

I've been trying to experiment with work hardening wire, but I can't seem to make it work. Does the gauge of the wire make any difference? I've tried like four different hammers and all they do is make a groove in my wood block from the wire. Suggestions?

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BogIron wrote
on 10 Jan 2013 4:22 PM

I'm not much of a wire worker but I do a fair amount of forging of sheet and rod so some of this may apply. Once you have annealed your wire and have it dead soft and then formed it into loops you have only made it about half-hard, it is still relatively soft and easily bent. If you want to make sure that a shape stays put with copper or silver you need to have your wire to the stage of almost being over worked. Yes, dead soft wire is much easier to work but is subject to shape changing. One way to give it some hardening before working is to take it and run is through your fingers several times, this will impart a degree of hardening before you start working it into the shapes you want.  Once you have in the shape you want don't re-anneal it or you will never get it to a stage of hardness where it will  hold it's shape satisfactorily..

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