Thursday, July 24, 2014

Make your own ear wires

this is a step by step on making your own ear wires - without the use of jigs or the new ear wire making pliers (which I own) and have yet to use


I try not to have a heavy wire so i try for 20-22 g sterling silver wire

For decoration I like the ball on the end and a bit of a bend to make it easier to put into your ear

1. cut your wire to the length you would like -  I like the longer loop  so that is about 2-1/2" to 2-3/4
once you read through make a mock earring and then stretch it back out to be your master length
I then mark this on my leather piece I use to put things together and it reminds me of sizing on basic items

2. take your pieces - I'll do about 100 at a time -
to make the ball - I use a bottle of Mapp gas and a self igniting torch head
have protective eye wear
work on a fireproof surface in case any metal falls (cause I still do it even after all these years) I'll be paying attention and the "squirrel"....... and poof it drops
to make the ball just start torch hold wire with pliers (cause it gets hot)
 just above the flame and slowly introduce - as wire gets hot it will suddenly ball up - pull up before its too hot and the ball of metal drops- do some test pieces to get the feel of when it balls up before it drips -
place on fire resistant surface to cool - next wire - till you have a good qty ready


3. once you have all your wires balled -  next take a pair of round nose pliers  and curl the end - this is where you would put your display piece- I like right to the very end to give myself space (especially if the thickness is needed)

I will sit and do them all to this stage 

4. I like to use a pen as I always have one around -allkinds of things you can use -   and I make the larger loop - I try to bend about half of the remaining wire over the pen and make a tight loop and there should be a tail a little past your small loop end

this sample came up a bit short but still ok for short earrings - the longer ones will have the longer tail 


5. at the end of the wire I use flat nose pliers to make a crimp end




once complete I go through the ends and use a cup burr tool - if you have never seen one it is really handy to have - it cleans the ends of your wire from sharp burrs and files the end more rounded and smooth - a very handy tool to have -  you can get some that are mounted on handles and others you can get for dremel in sets or just one size - again Rio Grande or Gesswein


Once this is all completed you will notice how yucky they are from torching the ends - so now we want to work harden the wire and to clean it up -  so off to the tumbler - (from rio grande) rotary ar12NEW A Tumbler is a Tool a Jeweler Should Own Early On I use a mixed "shot" Stainless Steel Shot, MixedI got from Rio Grande - will last a long time  ( I clean with baking soda and soap then rinse in a metal sive and then lay out and dry and then put away so it does not rust after each use )

 here is a great video on using a tumbler from Art Jewelry:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyBa-y3fEjY  

I tumble for a few hours - I check on my wires to see how clean and bright they are - take out rinse and dry
then clean up my tumbler and shot

now I have ear wires -  to put my pieces on the loop just like a jump ring I twist to side put on my piece and twist back to place - voila - you have ear wires -  that I find very comfortable -

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