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Bending very thick sterling wire


Hi Guys,

Does anyone know how I can bend a 10mm thick wire of sterling silver
into a bangle?

I’m having a terrible go at it.

In addition to wire so thick, how do I go about getting it to be a 3
inch inside diameter? Is there a formula for it?



Anneal, anneal, anneal… I have had no problems bending 6ga & 8ga
fine & sterling silver w/ an inside diameter of 1 inch.

Be well & do good work,


anneal and use a mandrel and rawhide or leather mallet. If you have
no formal anvil with horn or a mandrel use a baseball bat! if you
saw the standard wooden “little slugger” into sections you can get
three nice tapered mandrels and one with a great rounded doming form
on the top! You can eyeball where the cuts would naturally fall to
give you the 3 pieces then just sand the ends and give them a coat of
varnish shell lacquer or polyurethane to seal out the moisture from
the cut ends. if you dip the warmed wire in Cupronil or any other
firecoat/flux (Cupronil being superior and consistent - more so than
a home made pripp’s type flux/ firescale preventative ) then anneal
and bend. though not generally necessary it can be pickled if there
is any excessive flux glass or staining that you want to remove or
in the case the flux glass prevents you from forming it nicely before
bending ( if you will be soldering the ends together it is not
necessary to pickle before bending the prepared softened wire ).

There is also a plier called “rap and tap” that are forming pliers
and well suited to bending without using mandrels- but in the long
run the cost of the pliers is not as rational as the cost of the bat
( available at thrift stores or sporting goods exchanges in some
cities for very little money- certainly cheaper than a single wooden
forming mandrel sold by a jewelry supply vendor, as one bat yields 3
sections that have specific functions that will last quite long if
cared for and not marred) given the usefulness of each tool compared
to the other- the bracelet mandrel(s) far outweighing the necessity
in the studio.

Bottom line is annealing will make the task easiest whatever you use
to form it on from that point. rer


The length you need is calculated by adding the wire diameter to the
inside diameter, and multiplying the result by PI. So, since 3" =
76.2mm, and the wire thickness is 10mm, the length is 86.2x3.14159 =
270.8mm = 10.66".

If you have a long length of the wire there will be no problem in
bending it round a suitable former and then sawing off one loop, but
if you only have just enough wire then proceed as follows. This is
the way I made a solid 9ct gold bangle from 8mm square wire; 9ct gold
is rather tougher than silver.

Don’t try bending it into a circle straight off. Use a vice with
soft jaws and bend the ends first. Hold about 1/2" to 3/4" in the
vice and then bend each end so it looks rather like a wide flat
staple. Try to avoid sharp bends. Leave the ends straight and then
start bending at various parts between the end bends until the ends
start to meet. You will probably need the vice to help bend the
metal, the objective is to get the two straight ends to meet up, in
line with each other. You can then solder the joint.

With the joint nicely soldered, the next problem is to make it round.
For a mandrel I used a piece of brass tubing with an OD a little less
than the required ID of the bangle. I used the vice to squeeze the
loop at strategic parts until it approximated a circle and could be
forced onto the mandrel (it would be much easier with a tapered
mandrel). I then pounded it with a hide mallet until it was round. I
hope this helps.

Regards, Gary Wooding


The first thing I would recommend is that for a 70+mm diameter you
buy about 260mm of wire or if you are producing several bangles about
50mm longer than the expected length for number. Forge one end, about
25mm of wire flatish about 5mm thick. Anneal. Find a core, preferable
steel, about 65mm diameter to be held vertically in the vice Set up a
sturdy vice in a position you can walk around it, open jaws till they
will accept the core and the flattened end of the wire. Close the
jaws tightly clamping the flattened silver to the core. Grab the
other end of the wire very tightly in a pair of self locking pliers
and pulling away from the core walk round the vertical core. You
should now have a prefect overlapping coil. Expand to the correct
diameter and cut. Then, using faceplates, I hold the overlapping ends
in the vice and use a hacksaw, 32 teeth, to cut through the two
thicknesses. File and solder. This method is somewhat wasteful of
silver but you can have fun rolling or melting the offcuts.



Just wanted to say SORRY!! I should have suggested about 13 inches of
10 mm silver wire may be a bit less. I tend to have problems with