Argentium Wire – Straightening, Work Hardening, Holding its Shape?

by Patricia.

Argentium Wire - Straightening, Work Hardening, Holding its Shape?  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

Have you ever tried straightening Argentium wire by locking one end in a vise and pulling the other end with chain nose pliers? Does this work harden the wire too quickly?

Will dead soft Argentium hold its shape if used as earwires?

Thanks,

Patricia

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  • Judith says:

    I use Argentium a lot and have straightened it in more or less that manner (holding one end in chain nose pliers rather than a vise). Argentium is notably harder than regular sterling silver — it takes some getting used to! — so you can sometimes get away with using soft for uses where you would definitely want half hard for silver. I once did a pronged gemstone piece in, I think, 21 gauge soft Argentium and was amazed at how firm the prongs were. Nonetheless, I still use half hard most of the time and would definitely use that for earwires because I love the added hardness (for holding the shape) without having to tumble. But if you have arthritis or hand cramps, you might be able to get enough strength by using 20g soft for earwires, esp if you plan to tumble or hammer to work-harden after making them.

    I wouldn’t worry about over-work-hardening. At least it has never happened to me except with headpins which were already hardened. Wire is pretty forgiving, at least in the heavier gauges. Good luck!

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