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Work hardening explanation (sorry long)

well, to begin with, Jean, in order to understand McGuire’s
interesting explanation, one has to understand McCreight’s…perhaps
an analogy might help? here’s one: paper. as dissimilar as it is
to metal, it has some things in common with metal…when we get
metal from a supplier, we can ask what “temper” we get the metal
in…i.e. how much it has already been work hardened. so with paper,
do we want card stock? tissue paper? i prefer half-hard wire,
specifically silver and gold (i make wire and chain
jewellery…working on a site :slight_smile: ) i also use dead soft copper.
which means, if i hold a length of half-hard silver wire, say 24 gauge
(0.5mm) between two fingers, and “tap” it with another, it will be a
little springy…it will take some force to have it be bent more
permanently. Do the same with some dead soft copper (an
example…general purpose copper wire, the kind you find in a
hardware store), and it won’t spring back into its original
position…much less force is needed to bend it more permanently. back
to the paper analogy…take a regular piece of paper, fold it in
half. flattening it out again, if you’re careful, might not leave
much, if any, evidence of you ever having folded it. rip it and the
paper will likely rip along your fold. doing it with tissue paper,
and your fold has more likelihood of staying. so…when using wire,
whether it is dead soft, half-hard, or hard in temper…treat it like
tissue paper. once a permanent bend is made, you will find it
difficult to straighten it out. “feel” the wire before and after you
make a bend…a loose bend/fold will still leave the wire feeling
soft and flexible…a tight bend/fold will feel harder (like a wad of
really folded-up paper). sometimes you can actually see a slight
discolouration in the metal at the middle of a bend
point…particularly if the metal has been forced in half…all of
these points have to be carefully watched…all such bends can be
sources of weakness in wire, especially when these bends get re-bent
several times. it sounds like you want to either braid, weave, knit,
crochet, or tat the wire with beads…there are several people on
this list who are excellent references for more specific techniques!
i hope this layman’s explanation might help you…although i’m sure
there are better…erhard.