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How to Use 16 Gauge Metal Wire & Soldering

Learn how to use 16 gauge metal wire and soldering with this Howcast video about how to make jewelry using basic metalsmithing.


Hi my name is Tam and I'm going to show you how to make a simple thin wire ring from silver wire, 16 gauge, at home because we can only use this mini torch at home so you want to use something very, very thin with the wire. So basically this is pretty popular right now, are the stocking rings. So we're just, so with, you know, with this technique you can make as many as you'd like, but were just going to demo one.

So basically this is what we are going to make. This is the 16 gauge wire you'll need. You'll need a piece of solder, which I already cut out and put right here. And you'll need flux, and then you'll need a ring mandrel and a hammer to texture. So basically we take our wire and you're going to decide on the size that you want, and this is a ring mandrel. So it has your ring size on it. So what I would do is take a ring, chose a ring for the finger you like to wear it on because all your fingers are different sizes. So take a ring that you already have, for example I'm going to use my ring and put it on here so that you can get an idea of the size. So this is like a 7 1/2. And because we're going to, if you're not going to texturize then you don't need to make it bigger, but when you texturize the ring it's going to stretch it. So if you're not going to texturize it you're just going to leave it like the round wire. Then you can make it to the size that you want, but I'm going to texturize ours so that it looks like this, it looks a little bit more organic. So I'm going to make it a little smaller then I would want.

I would make it like about a half of size to a full size. It's, the wire is pretty malleable so you can stretch it a lot. So that's how you measure to get your ring size. So then say I'm going to make a size 7 ring, so I'm going to go to size 6 and I'm just going to take the wire. It doesn't have to be perfect because you have a lot of opportunities to correct your mistakes with this, with this project.

So basically I'm just going to wrap a few coils. Even if you would just want to make 1 ring you have to wrap a few coils because it makes the wire, has the memory. So, this is how you would, otherwise it won't be round. Then you slide it off, I'm going to snip, so then you have, when you snip it and you would have something that looks like, this looks like a coil blunder. So I'm going to cut, so that I have a ring like this. And now, this is, before we solder we have to make sure the ends are very flushed. So I'm going to take my cutters again and you notice how the, it's not flat here. I'm just going to do that and cut with the, just trim them a little bit. But now I have a, a pretty flushed joint. So I want to do something like that, so that, because when you solder you need to have the ends cut against each other.

This is a charcoal block and I put on this, just like a metal cooking pan. And I'm just going to, so this is our solder and i just cut out a little chip already, and I'm going to add that. Then I'm going to take my tweezers and I'm going to put it on the charcoal block and then I'm going to also dip this in the flux a little bit. Fix the joint. Sometimes when you pick it up, you know, the joint.

So I want to put the seam of where I want the solder to go. So basically solder goes where you apply heat. So wherever you apply the heat the solder is going to get sucked into the heat. Vacuumed. So I want to make sure that it's flat against the solder, that will just make it flow easier. So I'm going to put the solder underneath the seam. And then I'm going to, everything's fluxed and everything is ready to go. Flux is what makes the solder melt. It the solder melt faster. There's different kinds of solder that melt at different temperatures because on some pieces that your making you may want to use, you may have a lot of things to attach so you will need all the different solder that melts at a different temperature.

Okay so then this basically a, it's called a micro torch but basically it's just like a giant cigarette lighter. And it's safe for home use and like cooks use it for creme brule, like you can brown the creme brule on the top. And this is filled, refillable with a butane, butane that you can buy at any drug store. So basically it has a switch and you turn it on and then you can lock it. So when you solder you want to go around and evenly heat up, heat up the piece. And the solder just flowed. I evenly heat up the piece and then I, over the seem I just, gently go over it because you don't want your wire to melt. I mean it's a little, it probably won't melt with this micro torch but that's how you want, evenly heat this piece, apply a little more heat to where the seam is to drop the solder. But the solder won't go until the whole piece is warm. So that's it.

So here is the ring with the solder.

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