Selecting silver for Viking knit

I would think that fine silver would indeed be to frail to work in a
Viking knit. Not just drawing it through the plate but the weaving
itself. Fine silver is soft with no possibility of hardening and,
IMHO, would break too easily. For a shiny weave, stick with the
Argentium and use sterling if you want one antiqued.

MikiCat Designs

I love to weave viking knit and routinely use all different types of
wire from gf to craftwire. When I work in silver, I prefer to use
Argentium because it has a nicer look to it when finished (IMHO). I
think that depending on the number of petals, whether single,
double, or triple weave, and the gauge of the wire you may find you
like fine silver, sterling or Argentium. I’d go with whatever is the
best value. There really is no issue at all with draw plates for any
silver…just start with a junker piece of wire in the same gauge
and cut it off after pulling through the plate if you want to be
absolutely certain of not ruining your weave.

Happy weaving!

 I would think that fine silver would indeed be to frail to work
in a Viking knit. Not just drawing it through the plate but the
weaving itself. Fine silver is soft with no possibility of
hardening and,IMHO, would break too easily. For a shiny weave,
stick with the Argentium and use sterling if you want one antiqued 

On the contrary, fine does, well, fine in Viking knit. Sterling,
however, tends to get too work-hardened to even finish working with,
and is much more likely to break. Fine silver does harden, so that
part is just factually wrong. And there is a big difference between
"soft" and “frail”. Fine silver is bendy, but it is not brittle, or
weak. And Viking knit is a dense weave, so not likely to get crushed.

We can agree that Argentium does well.


The fine silver does not break when making viking knit, but I think
it will wear out from use faster than sterling. I have used 22 and 24
gauge fine silver, and both worked fine.


You know Orchid-Landers, I was taught to only use fine silver wire
for my Viking knits. I order it dead soft, and I have even knit it in
up to 20 gauge and all the way into the really fine 30 gage wire. It
works wonderfully and hardens very nicely once pulled through a
wooden draw plate. I then take the chain and rub/pull it back and
forth over a very polished large wooden stake, loosening and evening
up the weave.

The sterling wires tend to harden too quickly for me, the wire
breaks frequently during the weaving process and so I stick to dead
soft fine silver, it’s all I have ever used, and I weave all my own
chains. (not to be argumentative at all, just sharing my own
experiences) There is an added bonus that it is also easier to pull
at the manufacturer, so it is slightly cheaper to buy than the
sterling wires were in the finer gauges, (at least with Rio Grande).

So I suppose it is a matter of what you learned with, what your
preferences are, etc.

All my Best,

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I use fine silver almost exclusively for all my silver pieces, My
dear friend D. X. Ross did as well both of us preferring it to
sterling due to the copper in the alloy and our agreement that it is
an insidious contaminant in the studio like other base metals (for
instance we both dislike(d) brass brushing for the same reasons).
From years and years of experience with it I can tell you positively
it will work just fine in any gauge from 26-16 or larger with very
little if any deformation in the thinner gauges. I am always puzzled
as to who began the myth that fine silver couldn’t be work or
spring/heat hardened enough to be durable and appropriate in any
silver design desired. In 35 years i have never had a piece returned
that has failed due to softening or any other problem. yes it is
softer than sterling, etc. but that doesn’t make ot less fit for
jewelry if properly fabricated. and not entirely composed of laser
weight wire… i have made everything from brooches to rings and
fibulaae of .999 for yeaars with nary a problem reported back to
me… rer

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Teresa Perry,

You know Orchid-Landers, I was taught to only use fine silver wire
for my Viking knits. 

Is it possible to post a picture of some of your work? You’ve peeked
my interest. Just curious… thanks. peace

rer, your post about your preference for fine silver suggested that
it can be heat hardened. Could you say more about this please? Thank

Susan Ellenton

rer, your post about your preference for fine silver suggested
that it can be heat hardened. Could you say more about this please?

Fine silver cannot be hardened except by cold work period, end of

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Hey Michael,

Ya, I have been meaning to do that and so wish I had had time to
photograph everything I just sent out as Christmas orders! I do have
a few things I am finishing; soon as they are done I had planned on
getting my backdrop set up and actually shooting some new images.
This is something I am really BAD about doing, and I know I am not
doing myself any favors by not recording ALL of my work. Not that biz
is lucrative for me at all, just that I am also working full time and
I never give myself time to photograph. Seems I am always right down
to deadline for a piece, and it goes out soon as it’s off the
polisher or out of the tumbler! Bad habit to get into, I know, and
if I have one word of advice for newbs, it is to DOCUMENT all your
work photographically as soon as it’s finished. It’s a real PITA to
go back and photograph everything, and if you have had any sales at
all, it’s hard to get the work back, even on a borrowed level, to get
it photographed (even from a local friend or family member, haha).

Thanks for the encouragement, it will help me to get motivated to
photo as soon as I finish this round of work!


Contrary to Noel’s post regarding sterling silver in Viking knit, I
found that work hardened sterling worked best for me. I used 26 gauge
sterling to weave Viking knit chain for a pair of earrings and found
that I had a more consistent response in the bending of the wire if
it was work hardened before weaving. If I used annealed I found that
it didn’t work harden consistently as I wove and therefore the bends
were not consistent and when drawn tight by hand I the wire would
bend more easily at the wrong point. With work hardened wire I was
able to achieve consistent bending action with the full length of

I do understand that I could use shorter lengths of wire to help
avoid this, but I prefer using lengths as long as 6 foot, perhaps

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Alliance, OH

I use 28 gauge fine silver for most of my woven chains. I use 2’
segments because I it work hardens too much when I use longer
lengths. The weaving I do is not Viking knit but is the woven chain
technique in Tim McCreight’s books. To further work harden a chain
after it’s complete, I draw it down using a wooden draw plate and
then open it back up by inserting a large diameter knitting needle or
dowel. Repeat this process as much as you like to work-harden the
fine silver. I usually do it 4-5 times.

Elizabeth Lyne

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Hi all the chain weavers!

I also use the Woven Chain in Tim McCreight’s Book. I use Sterling
22 ga and have absolutely no problem with work hardening of the wire.
I never specify “soft”, “dead soft” or the like! The length of wire
that I use seems to work better at 3 feet. I use 3, 4, 5 and 6 loops
depending on one’s desire. I pull the chain through an Oak Board that
I had the Lumber Yard cut for me (12" x10"x 3/4"); and drilled
graduating holes in it myself. Draw down from the large drilled hole
to a desired thickness. This makes the chain quite pliable! I see no
need to insert anything down inside the chain!

I have made PMC clasps, but prefer to use cones. These can easily be
tumbled with the diluted Super Sunsheen Burnishing Liquid from Rio
in a stainless steel shot assortment. Yes, they do tarnish, but that
is a patina effect! Pulling them through a polishing cloth will
brighten them!

These chains are quite addictive to make!

Rose Marie Christison

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After drawing the chain, I slip 20g wire through the all loops at
each end of the chain, make a wrapped loop with just one wrap, slide
on a bullet end that just fits the chain, and a bead, then make a
3-wrap loop at the other other end, attach jumprings and clasp.


Noel and Barbara thanks for the on attaching the chain
ends. I understand the concept and remember seeing pictures of chains
with loops coming out the ends but did not realize that they were
also holding the end to the chain.

Thanks again.

I would be interested to hear how others attach ends to viking
knit chains and how they clean up the chains after soldering. 

A good book for someone learning to make woven jewelry is Chandler &
Ritchey’s book, Woven Wire Jewelry. They show (in detail) how to make
soldered bead ends and PMC ends (fired in place) for bracelets. I
can’t vouch for how easy their ideas are because I liked their ideas
for making an integrated frame and clasp from wire for woven wire
bracelets, so I never moved on to later chapters.


Regarding ending a Viking Knit bracelet without glue, here is a great
video clip showing just that as a preview for this great DVD: Beaded
Viking Knit Bracelet (DVD)

Rose Peterson Myers

In making Viking knit, if you want it pliable so that it drapes well
on the body then you probably don’t want a wire core, just add wire
to the ends for your findings. However, if you wish your piece to
hold a particular shape, such as a spiral for earrings, then a wire
core will help. The wire core will also provide you with ends to use
for holding findings and beads.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Alliance, OH

Hi John,

I always solder my own hand crafted ends on all my chains. I usually
make a swivel end piece, so that there are no issues with twisting of
the chain. How I do this is to cut a length of annealed sterling
tube, about 1/2 inch or more depending on the design of it. I put the
tube in my flex shaft and use a steel burnisher to round over the top
of the tube until it almost comes together solid. This leaves a hole
big enough for a wire to go through. For my jump, I ball up one end
of a piece of wire, run it through the tubing so the wire comes out
the hole at the top, then I coat the very inside tip of the tube
(just the hole area and the ball on the end of the wire) with yellow
Ochre before I solder the tubing on the end of the Viking knit. To
protect the wire from sucking up the solder where I don’t want it to
I also coat that (the Viking Knit itself), with yellow Ochre so the
solder only flows on the tubing where I want it to, making the solder
flow upwards into the end of the tube. Then I form my round “jump
ring” on the end of the wire and solder it closed. TADA! A swivel end
on a Viking knit!

I then rinse off any flux residue and throw the bracelet, necklace
or whatever into the ultrasonic and it comes out clean. I then brush
the end caps with a fine brass brush and they are shiny and new
again. (It could also go into a gentle tumbler.)

I have also made flat topped ends from Sterling tubing by soldering
a “cap” flat onto the tubing. There really is no end of possibilities
with designing end caps, just let your imagination go, (When you make
the flat topped ones you have to drill a hole into them for the wire
to go through).

I am trying to get all my photography done and just got my back
drops all set up and my photo area ready. I will post a “gallery” as
soon as I get all my pics done. I think I have a few of these that
will be in there, and will post a link to my work when it’s all up

Hope this helps you and anyone who is interested.

I don’t lube up my wooden draw plate at all. I was never taught to
do this, and since I use it quite frequently it has become very shiny
and polished. The Viking knit just slides right through without any
problems. I wonder, if you are using a brand new one, if you sanded
the holes? I did sand mine in the beginning with a piece of fine
sanding paper wrapped on a mandrel in my flex shaft. Actually the
holes are not only shiny, but they have turned a deep black over time
from running the silver through them so many times over the last few
years since I made it. It seems as if they have become burnished
smooth themselves. I know all my chains come through very bright
already, and no oils to deal with.

I suppose if I DID need to lube my draw plate I would use 2 in 1 oil,
which I tend to use a lot to lube things, unless I am using burlife,
and I would then count on my Ultrasonic solution to remove the oils.