View Full Version : Can someone explain the difference...

04-06-2004, 10:46 AM
I have been making jewelry for long enough that I should know the answer to this question--but I don't.

What is the difference between hard and dead soft wire and anyother kinds that occur? I am never sure which one that I want to make jewelry with when I am asked. I usually get dead soft and I like working with it, but is that really what I want??

You know how there is always something that you just can't figure out? Well, this one is mine. :o :o :D


04-06-2004, 11:07 AM
Hi - There are usually 3 hardnesses of wire - dead soft, half-hard, and hard. I use dead soft for almost everything, because I just like the flexibility of it. It becomes work-hard pretty easily and I think it's very versatile. It really depends on what you are using it for. I know a lot of wire-wrappers prefer half-hard, because it holds the shape a bit easier and doesn't get marked by tools as easily.

My biggest stash of wire that I use is 22g dead soft - the perfect size and consistency for lots and lots of projects. I use it almost exclusively for my wire-wrapped link jewelry and rosaries. However, when I have to go smaller for pearls/tiny-holed gemstones - I go with 24g half-hard, just because it seems a bit more sturdy than the dead soft.

I have never used full hard wire.

I have also been using a lot of tiny 26g lately for wrapping briolettes and other designs that have lots of little wraps - I use dead soft for that so that it molds to the armature better and doesn't seem to kink as much when I am wrapping it.

I would say, if you tumble your pieces or use a mallet/bench block, you can pretty much get away with just buying dead soft.

I'm sure there will be other opinions here - and I'm not really sure I answered your question :evil: , but hope I helped a bit!

TurtleBay Jewelry
04-06-2004, 01:33 PM
Melissa pretty well hit the nail on the head by way of explanations.

Full hard wire is very brittle and will break easily when trying to manipulate it. At least, in my experience, it's been that way.

I do full wire work and find that dead soft is the way to go. The only thing I use half hard for is ear wires.



04-06-2004, 02:14 PM
To some degree, it's a matter of structural integrity, but beyond that it's just a matter of taste. I never use full hard for anything. There's a hardness beyond that, too, spring hard, which is good for the pokey part of pins, but nothing else that I know of.

I would use full hard for jumprings because structural integrity is a big issue there, but it springs back too much and the rings don't come out the same size as the mandrel, which makes the exact sizing of rings problematic. So I use half hard, then harden it a lot more in fabrication.

Because half hard is what I have so much of, I've come to use it for everything, but wrapping is definitely easier with dead soft. If you only need half hard for a few things, like making your own jumprings, earwires, beadlinks, etc., it's easy enough to keep just dead soft on hand and harden lengths of wire as you need them. I have a pair of nylon pliers I use for hardening and straightening and they work great for that... just pinch the wire in the jaws and pull it through 2 or 3 times and it stiffens right up. *s*

04-06-2004, 03:41 PM
Thanks lots! I think I finally have the idea now! :rolleyes: I think that most of what I have is dead soft, so I will condition it before I use it. I got some from the local beadstore and I'm not sure what that one is but it seems to handle much like the dead soft. One of these days I will get it all straight...


I just checked out your 3 websites BTW. I stand in awe! :clap: :clap: :clap: Your work is all different but very, very beautiful.