Puzzling Wire Behavior

I am soldering 18 gauge half-round sterling wire to the edge of a
bracelet that I’m making out of sterling sheet, and the wire is
behaving in a very odd way.

The idea was to tack a part of the wire down along the edge at a
particular point in the design and then use the long edge to
smoothly pull the wire into position along the next edge to be

What’s happening is, while soldering the wire, the part that isn’t
being soldered - the long piece that will be used to pull the wire
around the edge - is shattering. It’s not slumping or melting, it’s
suddenly breaking into two or more pieces about two inches from the
part that is being soldered. (I’m using medium solder.)

As a result, it’s taking me about twenty times longer to do this
than I had envisioned. Does anybody have any ideas why the wire is
shattering and what I can do to prevent it from happening?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Linda – I had a similar experience one of the first times that I
tried to work with hollow silver tubing (years ago) and if I’m
remembering correctly, the why had to do with the formation process
for the tubing. While this may not be your particular circumstance,
I found that calling my metal supplier and talking to their technical
people was extremely uesful to figuring out what I needed to do –
they have always been a good resource for me.

Laura Wiesler