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Making the perfect spiral

Hi All,

This is one of those questions that I don’t know can be answered in
text, but I am trying to make really perfectly balanced spirals in 22
ga 22K wire. There are some aspects to jewelry making where my hands
are the extension of my heart. Unfortunately, wire forming for me is
two left feet doing the cha cha in reverse. Help!

Can anybody direct me to a visual step by step in making a really
beautiful and graceful spiral.

Please post it here, cause I bet there are others who can help.


School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854


Depends on the size of spiral you want, but you might take a trip to
a good hardware store and look at the screws (I think even roofing
nails have threads?) After you use the screw as a spiral you can
stretch or compress it.

We have also drawn spirals on dowels to get them even.



If you need exact duplicates, I would take the time to carve out
some small jigs out of some wood. Just sketch the design of choice
onto the wood and carve down from the center outward, leaving an edge
for your material to reference.

I built something similar for bending spirals out of stainless,
albeit they are out of aluminium, making several jigs depending on
the thickness of material. My largest one will accomodate 5/16 stock.
These give me repeatable sprials each and every time, granted, these
are probably much larger than you need, but gives you the point.

Here is what im talking about.

I start on the outside bending my way to the center, since the
spiral is not on one plane, we have to flatten the spiral and tweak
it to shape after carving the points on it. In 22k you probably wont
have too much of an issue with this.

Or just print out a sprial and bend, matching the print…

Good Luck,

Hi Karen

I’m a little scared to answer because you use the word perfect, but
I’ll give it a try. I just received a tool called a scroll master kit
(item 118136 in the Rio catalog).

It’s basically a set of plastic templates which you can use to draw
all kinds of swirls and spirals. I was wondering if you could use a
template like that to draw the spiral onto a soft metal or even
wood. From there, you could use something to carve out the lines of
the designs. This would make a jig that you use to “lay” the wire
into and form it into your spirals.

I hope I don’t sound like too much of a novice, but that’s what I
got. I’m hoping to use it to draw spirals onto fine silver and then
place the granules for granulation right onto it.

Good Luck


I, for one, am so happy to have you on this forum. Thanks for the
question, Karen, and the answer, Pat!

Kay Taylor

Wrap your wire around a more or less tapered mandrel, and take it
from there…

Not sure if you are looking for a 2D spiral (image of a spiral which
is flat, like the side view or angled view of a spiral) or whther
you are looking for a 3D jig to make a wire spiral.

If 2D, I can make a perfect image of any spiral for you quickly.
Just give me the two end diameters and number of twists you want,
and I’ll provide you with a side view, top view, 3/4 view, whatever
you want. It will be a line drawing on white background. I can make
the image life size for you if you want, or to any scale you want,
let me know.

If you want 3D, that’s a job for a machinist and will require
placing a screw-type thread around a cone of metal so that you can
wrap wire around it. Come to think of it, you’d need to wrap it
around wax or other soluable material, I guess. Anyone with a 3D CAD
program and a mill can do that easily enough. I no longer have easy
access to a mill, so I can’t help there.

Wayne Emery
The Gemcutter

Hi Karen,

Depends on the desired result, tapered, or “cone-shaped” spiral, or
if you want a non-tapered, or “constant-radius” spiral, but we
simply use a mandrel, wind the (we anneal or order it dead soft for
best results) wire so the edges touch, and then grab the ends and
expand to the desired length, opening the tightly wound wire to our
desired shape (we measure the coil distance, that is, the distance
from coil to coil).

For non-tapered, you can simply use any round mandrel you have and
cut to size after expanding the coil, for tapered, you will need to
experiment with whatever tapered mandrel shapes you have…If you
need specific sizes, let me know - we can make them on the lathe.

Next time you see Amy, I am sure she would not mind giving you a
visual demonstration (she’s been making lots of earrings this way!).
Sorry I don’t have a step-by-step to post, but I hope the
instructions above are clear enough.

Chris Ploof Studio

Hi Karen,

Maybe I can help here… The way to make perfect spirals either
flat or as a spring is to coil more than one wire at a time. What I
mean is - lay say two wires next to each other on the bench and coil
them into a tight spiral. Now when you separate the wires you will
have two identical perfect spirals. You can use three or four wires
if you want more open spirals although it does become a bit more
difficult to coil them - maybe stick them together with superglue
and separate them by heating or soaking in acetone afterwards. Give
it a try with some bits of copper wire first. Bending the very tip of
one wire tightly round the end of the other wire first (making it a
’J’ shape to just hold the other wire in position) may help to get a
clean finish in the middle.

Best wishes,

Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK