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Half hard vs soft wire

One of the suppliers I buy some stuff from has half hard sterling
wire on sale this week. For miscellaneous use (snap rings, twisted
wire, chains, etc) would half hard wire be as easily useable as the
soft? dead soft? wire I get when i just specify 16 ga. sterling wire?
Wire wrap which I do not do is mentioned as a primary use for half
hard wire.

Thanks for you help
Jim J


When I last bought silver wire I bought half hard as I was also wire
wrapping. Now that I rarely wrap, I use it as is most of the time.
For those times that the wire needs to be annealed I just coil up
what I need and anneal it gently. Not hard to do, it just takes a
little extra time.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

In my experience half hard wire is about twice as difficult to
manipulate (bend, twist, etc.) as soft. But I don’t think that would
make much difference for jump rings and stuff.



It depends a lot on how much you will need to work the wire to get
it into its final shape. I have made jump rings and the like from
half hard silver wire, where I just used a round nosed plier and gave
the wire a single twist, and voila! A perfect ring. For making more
intricate shapes, situations where you need to bend the wire back and
forth more than a couple of times, or if you plan to hammer the wire,
soft wire is a better bet. The wire tends to harden as it is worked.

If you have half hard wire, and you need it softer, you can soften
it by annealing. Just heat it up and quench it.


Half-hard wire will not twist evenly. It’s OK if you are only
twisting an inch or two, but not for longer lengths. For rings, it;s
great, most chain styles would also be fine as long as you figure in
spring- back when you form the rings. Your rings will be ever so
slightly larger than when you use the same mandrel with soft wire.

Bev Ludlow