Using a pin vise to make twisted wire  

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Using a pin vise is very handy for making twisted wire instead of buying it, because first of all (particularly silver and gold) is very expensive and twisted wire more so, and second, if you run out of it, you can make new twisties in a matter of few minutes. And third, because incorporating twisted wire in your designs is just great and the pieces usually look more sophisticated and professional.

I purchased mine from Widget Supplies, because of course, when it comes to tools, Cyprus is pretty much lagging behind.

What you need:

- pin vise thin enough to catch the wire when tighted up - NOTE: make sure you get a pin vise with both ends open, so the wire can pass through it
- a piece of square or half round wire - NOTE: round wire won't work the same way, so don't waste your wire in trying to use it. If you have round wire but don't have square - read my previous tutorial how to get square wire in minutes.
- chain nose pliers

(I swear I have so many tools at home, that an average guy who is even a bit technical doesn't have. My dad is mighty proud of me, as since I've started with jewelry, I've learned how to use a pin vise, all sorts of pliers and cutters, a hand saw, dremel (think koil kutter), an anvil and hammer, mandrels, etc *roll eyes)

And now the steps to make twisted wire:

1. Take the appropriate vise out of your pack (if you bought several in a pack, - I'm using the thinnest)

2. Place the wire in the vise and tighten the grip with the screw, so the wire is secure

3. Take your chain nose pliers in your left hand (switch the items in your hands if you're left handed) and grip the wire about 8-10 cm away from the end of the pin vise. Not very close to the end of the vise else you'll do that much work to twist, but not very far away either that they're no longer comfortable in your hands

4. While holding one end of the wire in your chain nose pliers, start twisting the pin vise with your other hand so the wire starts to shape into form. As the wire is square, you can see the turnings very soon

5. Keep twisting until you find that it's not easy to twist anymore and the wire in your pliers starts moving along. Also this is about time the wire has a nice shape to it. NOTE: keep in mind how many turns you made, so you make the approximately same number of turns later on as well, of course assuming that you'll always use ~ the same distance from the pliers to the end of the pin vise.

6. Now open the pin vise (from the screw) and push the wire through it until only a tiny bit of the twisted wire remains visible. Don't forget to screw back the vise.
NOTE: This is why it's important to have a vise open on both ends, so the wire can go through. Otherwise you'll have to increase the distance between your hands to be able to twist the whole wire, and this way you'll be limited to twisting relatively small lengths of wire only.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 until all your wire is twisted.

8. Admire your handywork :D

Once you've made some nice twisted wire, you can go ahead and make some nice jewelry, such as the bracelet I made using the same wire I twisted during the tutorial. For this bracelet I twisted two wires, one on each side.

3 comments: to “ Using a pin vise to make twisted wire

  • Karma by Morgan
    May 11, 2008 at 6:43 PM  

    you have beautiful work!!! I have family in Greece, but they aren't really anywhere near Cyprus. Nice how-to!

    good luck!

  • sue
    February 24, 2009 at 9:06 PM  

    Thanks for your directions on twisting wire. I am just starting out using wire--I used to just string beads--and I am loving the change. I also love your work and your website.

  • Susan
    June 5, 2011 at 4:17 PM  

    Hi, thanks for the ideas. However, I have a tiny question...what is the issue with round wire? I understand that it would not be the same as half round or square but it seems to work nicely for me.
    When I want twisted wire I measure two pieces of wire to be the same length, put two of the ends in a rather heavy-duty vise that is attached to my workbench, put the other two ends in my cordless drill (although you could use a variable speed electric drill), pull the wire taught, and turn the drill on at a very slow speed. You can have long twists or close tight ones, and they are perfectly even. I have only used two wires at a time but suppose you could probably use more, and I have always run the drill very slowly because I feel I have more control. This makes lovely twisted wire. I've never used square or half round for this but the effects would likely be lovely also.
    I am working on some sculpture and have been using 19 guage stainless steel wire--a bit sturdier than wires we use for jewelry, which, of course, is the idea. The drill method makes twisting this wire VERY easy and truth be told I am lazy when it comes to such things.
    Again, I am just curious why you say not to use round wire....
    Thanks, Susan

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