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Weaving help, please


I am going to try and do some weaving for my next special project at
class. I would like to know what I should cut the silver with, regular
scissors or buy some metal shears. IF I should buy shears what kind
should they be unless there isn’t any difference. Thank you to anyone
in advance who can help me… Karen in El Cajon, ca


Will you be weaving on a loom or by hand? Also, do you have any
weaving experience? The shears are not the critical issue. The type
of metal you use, gauge, experience, etc., is very important.

Razine Wenneker, Manager
Ellie Rose LINK-ABLE Designs, L.L.C.
E-mail: @Razine_Wenneker

( IF I should buy shears what kind ... Karen in El Cajon, ca) 

Karen, There is a pair of ‘kitchen’ shears available at most good
culinary shops.These were recommended for cutting sheet, up to 18
gauge, by Fla. Society of Goldsmiths when I took Lee Marshall’s
course on Hydraulics. . They are 61/2" long, have red handles, and
stamped…Joyce Chen. They are excellent for cutting light gauge
metals and very maneuverable (don’t use them for wire). Cost under
$20.00US. For larger, heavier cutting you will need bigger shears.
Hope this helps. Thomas Blair Island Gold Works


Karen - It doesn’t really matter what you cut the metal strips with.
A heavy pair of scissors will do, or metal shears. Just make sure
they are sharp. One disadvantage to cutting the strips is that they
will curl as you cut them and the edges will be sharp. You can buy
stripped metal from various metal suppliers. I believe I have seen it
in the Rio Grande catalog. Hoover & Strong also carries some sizes.
If you have access to a rolling mill you might try rolling round wire
down into strip. By using various diameter wires you can get
different width wires. After rolling the wire you should anneal it.
You can straighten the pieces by putting one end in a vise and pulling
on the opposite end with a heavy pair of pliers. You should be able
to feel it stretch slightly and see the edges straighten. If you need
very small wires, try using cloisonn� wire. It is fine silver and
will be much softer than sterling. You should look up Arline Fisch’s
book “Textile Techniques in Metal” at the public library or the
library at San Diego State. Good luck. Steve.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA


Hello Karen,

On 17 Jan 2001, at 22:04, Karen Bryan wrote: I am going to try and
do some weaving for my next special project at class. I would like to
know what I should cut the silver with, regular scissors or buy some
metal shears. What you use to cut the metal depends upon the gauge
(thickness) of the silver and whether it is wire or sheet. Not to
mention that if you use ordinary scissors, whether or not you care
about using the scissors for paper or fabric again! Since you say
you’re weaving, I assume you’ll be using thin gauge silver sheet and
don’t need to cut with a saw. If time allows, professional shears
can be ordered, but you can use heavy duty scissors (like good
quality kitchen shears) just as well. Be aware that if you are
cutting long strips of silver, scissors and shears leave a little bur
at each cut. Also know that the edges of the silver will be sharp!
Plan to sand or file them a bit. I have had good luck cutting long
strips of silver sheet (no thicker than 26 gauge) using a heavy-duty
paper cutter. In fact, I found an old one and use it just for metal
cutting. Tin snips from the hardware store will also work - even on
thicker gauges - but may mar the cut edge of the strip. Get some
scrap copper sheet and take it with you to the store to try out the
snips. If you’re cutting wire, get wire cutters again from the
hardware store. Hope this helps. Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681

. I would like to know what I should cut the silver with, regular
scissors or buy some metal shears.         

For 20 G and higher, I use scissors . . . not metal shears. I found
some great scissors at a local craft store in the “basket making
supply” section. These scissors have large finger holes and have
short blades which makes
cutting metal a breeze!


I have tried Joyce Chen"s scissors and by accident tried my Bonsai
scissors gotten from my local garden shop. I found it works much
better and cuts heavier gauges.Try it,and you might be pleasantly
surprised. Cost is about the same. I brought my scissors to a class
where the instructor swore by Joyce C’s and after trying mine she
wanted to know where i got mine.



On cutting Sheet Metal, Gold, Silver, etc. If you can find one in good
condition, The old faithful PAPER cutter, the one with the arm ( blade
) that pivots from one end. Is a great tool, you can cut straight with
almost no effort, or you can cut to follow a pattern by moving the
material and watching at the point of contact with the blade. The
bigger the paper cutter the easier it is to use, less power required.
Try to find one.

Art Smith
69253 Lariat
Sisters, Oregon 97759


G’day; Several folk have written about the cutting of thin sheet
metal. Only one has suggested a paper shear/guillotine for thin metals
and card. One can cut up to 0.3mm thick sheet sterling silver,
giving a dead straight line - so long as the strip is to be fairly
short - say, about 12 cms if you only have an A4 guillotine. I use
mine for just about everything from labels to bezels to computer
printed documents and photos. I even put a strip of masking tape
down one edge of a sheet of wet/dry abrasive paper of various grits
and cut strips down to 2mm wide to use as part of the jewellery
finishing process. Just the job for saw pierced work.

 Such a device is easy to make, not needing a great machine shop. 

You don’t even need to grind nice bevelled knife edges on the blades -
yes; believe it!

I use two pieces of steel strip one about 45 cm long, 2 cms wide,

and 6 cm thick and the other only about 32 cm long. Clamp them
tightly together and drill a 6 mm hole about 2cm from one end of both.
This is going to be the pivot. Take the shorter strip of steel and
drill at least 4 holes along the length. Deeply countersink all the
holes and use them to screw the stationary blade to one long edge of a
piece of stable wood (fibre board is excellent) around 2.5 cm thick
and a bit bigger than an A4 sheet, so that one edge of the blade is
exactly at the same level as the board. Pre-drill the wood screw holes
and a wipe of epoxy will help keep them in place over long usage.
Fasten the pivot end to the second moving blade with a heavy, fairly
long wood screw into the wood. Either make wooden facing pieces to
fasten to the other end as part of a handle, or if you can’t be
bothered, wrap insulating tape to protect your hands. I’m sure handy
people will fit a bit of thin wood or plastic to be exactly at 90� to
the fixed blade to act as a guide to cutting, and a strip of 3mm clear
plastic almost touching the fixed blade to help hold down the material
to be cut. HOWEVER!! the top edge of the stationary strip and the
bottom edge of the moving strip must be filed dead square (90�) to the
sides of the blades. What is needed is 2 sharp edges at right angles
to each blade - which believe it - will cut cleanly, if you pull down
the blade sharply whilst pulling it over against the stationary

  Ever heard of draw filing?  No?  Well, fasten one blade securely

in the bench vice (but don’t let the vice faces bruise the strips) Get
a fairly new flat file with fine teeth. DON’T use this to file across
the strip, but stand at one end, place the file flat on the strip
edge, and with a hand at each end of the file draw it towards you
along the whole length of the strip, keeping it at right angles to the
strip edge and pressed down hard. Repeat this a few times and you
will find the edges of the 6mm thick strip are sharp enough to cut
your finger if you are silly enough to draw it along hard enough!

OK, all this sounds confusing at first sight. So next time you pass
a good stationery/office shop, go in and see how the guillotines work.
Don’t worry that they have a lovely bevelled knife edge; I assure you
my device will work well. Or if you really want, I’ll take a picture
of mine (which I have used nearly every day for 16 years) and put it
the orchid ftp site so you can see what I’m on about. Now I’ll sit back
and await cutting remarks. –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

    Such a device is easy to make, not needing a great machine

John, thank you for your plans. This project is definitely a cut
above average so why would you think any of us would cut down your
idea? :slight_smile: You’re such a cut-up!

Seriously, I’ve really been wanting a bench shear and now I have my
work cut out for me. I’m going to make one as a gift for myself after
the Tucson show. This will seriously cut down my expenses to boot!

Thanks again, Pam Chott Song of the Phoenix