Enameled copper wire sources:
Copper wire is an excellent material for lacemaking (and other
textile techniques). In its raw form, copper wire has a light pink
colour, which changes to gray-brown coulour as the metal tarnishes.
For electronic & electrical use, copper wire is very often coated
(enameled). Enamel layer not only prevents copper from tarnishing,
it also adds certain properties, like heat and chemical resistance,
important for engineers, but irrelevant to me. All I am interested in
is a colour - and it varies from orange to various shades of red,
purple, brown and green. >From all the enameled wires I have used over
the last eight years, only two are showing signs of deterioration
(tarnishing) with quite interesting patina effects. Others are like
new - bright and shiny.
Enameled copper wire for electric/electronic industry is also called
MAGNET wire, because of its main usage for winding electromagnetic
motors. It is a very common, readily available material.
Two major manufactureres in the USA are EIS http://www.eis-inc.com
and Bridgeport http://bridgeportinsulated.com/index.htm
They do not deal with individual artists/craftsmen. (Their sales
people tend to get nervous when you inquire about colours ;). The
best to start sourcing the wire is to call the manufacturer and ask if
they have a sales representative in your area. From your local
representative find out whom they sell the wire to - either a store
(usually electronic supplies) or a company. Electronic supplies
stores, at least where I live (info follows) usually have a selection
of magnet wire from 14 - 40 gauge. They sell wire by a spool or
measured by a foot. The smallest spool is usually around 10 lbs.
worth of wire, which is a lot. Custom measured and cut wire is an
option, but it is quite expensive in a long run.
magnet wire for whatever they do, and ask them about remnants and ends
of rolls. Chances are that you can get a selection of gauges in
various colours for a very good price, if not for free.
Another, and by far my most favourite source of magnet wire, are junk
yards and surplus stores. There is at least one coil of magnet wire
in every electrical appliance. It is worth to look in the bellies of
old telephones, electrical typewriters, etc. They sometimes hide
treasures of wire of divine colours! (But maybe it is just me, and my
curiosity combined with a recycling obsession, which I undoubtedly
developed while I lived in Europe.)
Also, while you are at the Bridgeport website
http://bridgeportinsulated.com/index.htm click on Artistic Wire icon.
They have caught up with a growing demand and are now producing a line
of magnet wire wound on small spools for craft, hobby and bead stores.
Sources of wire in Vancouver BC area:
Wholesale: Winford Insulations Ltd. 604.420.9606 Ridd Electronics Ltd.
Retail: R.P.Electronoic Components Ltd. 604.738-6722