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Twisting wire

Light wire may easily and quickly be twisted by inserting a bent nail
(with its head cut off ) in your flex shaft’s chuck. Hook the center
of the wire in the bend of the nail. Hold the other end with a
serrated parallel jaw pliers. Maintain a fair amount of tension and
run the machine. If the wire is too thick for the flex shaft machine,
it may be hand twisted using the same method in the Jump Ringer Winder.

Ray Grossman
Ray Grossman Inc.

Or use a power drill. I have found it unnecessary to apply tension
to the material while twisting it. You can straighten pieces of
kinked, bent wire by twisting it. Either of these operations will
harden the wire so if you need it soft be sure to anneal it.

John D.

Just a quick note for those that may not have a flex shaft. I
recommend my beginning students to use a variable speed (battery
operated is nice) drill for twisting wire. I twisted over 70,000 feet
of 18 gauge copper wire for the sculptures that I sold during the
summer last year in Estes Park. I twisted 100 feet at a time across
my yard. A variable speed is most important! Do not use a Dremel or
Moto Tool for twisting small lengths of wire. They turn at over 15,000
rpm which is much to fast. Very fast and very, very exciting!

A variable speed, 3/8 inch, battery operated (at least 9 volt), with
forward and reverse, keyless chuck, and at a price range about $50.00
is the drill I recommend to those students that need to purchase one.
Before purchasing a drill I recommend to close the chuck, it should
close completely with no center hole or gap. These drills then can
twist 30 gauge to 2 gauge wire with no problem, but can also be used
around the shop (and home) for all your drill needs.

They are great for drilling holes in silver with out breaking the
bits. I believe this is because of the variable speed and their large
size. When I fist began teaching I thought students could control the
flex shaft more for drilling in to silver. I believed that because of
the small hand tool, they would have more control. Because of the foot
pedal they would also have more control over keeping the speed down to
drill silver. I found just the opposite, students seem to use too much
speed because of the foot control, seize up the bit and break it. I
found this true for twisting wire also. Something about the pedal
being too much like the gas pedal! hehehe

I found that it was also easier for them to bend the bit easier and
break it, because of the ease of holding the hand piece. With a large
drill they are forced my the weight to pay attention to both the speed
and how they are holding it. And, with the finger controlling the
speed they kept it at a slower and safer speed. Which, of course,
drills holes in silver faster!

Have fun today!

A hand crank drill or a variable speed electric (rechargeable) are
great wire twisters as well. Just keep it slow and use a vise as anchor
point. ED

For small quantities I just use a good old fashioned hand drill which
works very well indeed too as long as you keep up the tension, make
sure the wire is well annealed and keep a fairly constant speed.
Harriet, Hitchin, UK

When twisting wire, if part of your twist is less dense than you’d
like, you can spot anneal that area. When you resume twisting,
you’ll get more twisting in the annealed area first. This should
help even things out.

Donna Shimazu