I’ve recently returned to wire work.
I love silversmith projects but I have to sit at my bench, with the drawer open over my legs, while I saw, file or polish. Sometimes I just want to get out of there for a bit and wire work is ideal because it doesn’t require a lot of tools. I can oick up a couple of pliers and some wire and sit on the couch, watching tv while I make a pendant. Wire weaving in particular is a very repetitive technique and it usually takes a few hours to complete a project, so it’s nice to be comfortable and entertained while I do it, otherwise it might start feeling like work.
To help me get started on a wire weaving project, in particular to help me choose the weaves I want to do, I decided to make a sampler. I folded a wire in half, with a loop on the folded side, so I can hang all the samples on a safety pin, so I don’t lose any.
Another tip I’d like to share is how I hold all the wires together when I start a weave. My favorite tool is a wooden ring clamp. It secures all the wires in place without marking them and I don’t hurt my hands trying to hold everything in place with just the strength of my fingers.
This ring clamp is used a lot in silversmith work, to hold rings or small bits of sheet metal while filing. As you can see it can be very helpful for wire work as well.
Other alternatives for holding the wires in place are painter’s tape, spring clamps and even forceps. The importan thing is to find ways to prevent too much stress on your hands and wrists.