Friday, May 13, 2011

New Pattern Wire Review

(This article was originally published 5-12-11 before Blogger went down and it was lost. Another picture was added, too.)
I was really excited to log into Rio Grande last week to find that they were selling new patterned wire. They offer 4 patterns in copper and brass. I'm going to talk about the kind I ended up getting; Whim Z "Dot". The pattern itself is a line of dots that is pressed into the wire in a spiral pattern down the wire. 

First, the pictures on the web, used a larger gauge wire to depict the pattern. I got 20g, which I use the most of, and the pattern is not as pronounced as it seems on the website. I figured that before hand, so it wasn't too disappointing.

I thought that it might be rough, but it isn't. It isn't scratchy and I doubt the wire itself will snag anything. 

This copper wire is sold only as soft with soft being a somewhat relative term. This wire is not as soft as most soft copper wire. Not such a bad thing.

I got right down to business and cut off some pieces to throw together a quickie wrap for testing. First thing I do with any wire is run it through a polishing cloth (Sunshine cloth) to straighten, harden and polish it. This wire, however, is not smooth. It began to shred fine fluff from my cloth. Ok, that I didn't like because some of the fluff stayed embedded in the wire. Note to self:  Run gently and fewer times through the cloth.

I made a bundle and began to wrap with some 1/2 round when I noticed that you can overwork the wire and flatten out the pattern. This shouldn't be a problem, if kept in mind. I got my bundle done with a minimum of distortion.

I finished up the piece, which is made with all round wire, and noted that the wire didn't roll quite as much because it is not as smooth. That's a plus. :)

After finishing the piece, I tumbled it several hours and found that the tumbler had no damaging effects on the wire. (I use jewelers steel shot and plastic pellets for cushioning.)

I was real anxious to put this in the liver of sulfur. I imagined a very dramatic effect. After doing it, though, I found that the effect was very subtle. I have to say, it is not as bold as I thought it would be, but I do like it. The only trouble was with trying to polish it with a cloth. I ended up throwing it in the tumbler for most of the polishing and then lightly going over it with the polish cloth. This doesn't polish to a bright shine, though and has more of a matte finish with a spiraling moire pattern.

I think this will be a good wire for larger pieces where the pattern and moire effect is more pronounced. I also think that it would be nice used for wire sculpting. If this wire is used for jig work earrings etc., I think it would be striking, as well.

If you are looking for a very shiny, smooth wire, this isn't it.

The following pictures offer 3 views of this new wire. None of them really show the moire pattern very well. It is hard to purposefully photograph moire. The first 2 are the test piece. It is a very small cab of dendritic opal. This one I used LOS on.

The second is a very large, experimental wrap that I left raw because I think the copper will naturally age to perfectly blend with the Bruneau Jasper. (Cool stone, huh? See the steam coming off the cooling flows with the mountains in the background?)

(edit:  I added another picture with the pattern wire.)

I hope this brief review was helpful to you. I'm glad I like it, overall, because I have a pound of it. :)

(You can click all of my pictures for a larger view.)

Australian Rhodonite 30x40mm polished pattern wire


  1. Thank you for the wire review and the pictures. Interesting pattern, but even more interesting are your wrappings! You create two original, unusually shaped, perfectly wrapped frames as test pieces within a few hours. Just so. ;-) LOL!

    Really, I do learn so much just looking at your wraps, and am curious what you come up with next.

  2. Thank you! I'm not too crazy about the jasper wrap. The stone itself was very thin, so I had to work with that. I think as the copper ages, I will like it more, though. I'm glad they inspire you. :)

  3. Wonderful review!! I am so glad you posted about your blog on Copper Wire Jewelers! I look forward to reading more of your blogs!! You do beautiful work!

  4. Thank you, Judy. And, thank you for dropping by. :)

  5. Now I can see the dots! Wow, I looked at the prices on Rio and decided it was too high and I should wait. I love the first piece you posted here, Tela.


  6. Thanks, Cindi. Yes, it is high. I would have gotten the others but WOW that would cost a chunk! They offer a smaller amount for the brass but not for the copper :(

  7. Hey Tela, Missed this review. I do like the look this wire gives the wraps. I bought a smaller amount of the copper dot from Feeling Stone. If I end up liking it will go for Rio's bigger spool. Nice not to spend too much on a new product. Your wraps continue to amaze and inspire. Thank you!

  8. Thanks, Christine! Yeah, I'm interested in trying smaller amounts of the others. Think I need to contact Jackie. :)

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  10. Thanks, Kunal, glad you find it helpful.

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  12. Thank you! Nice to hear that coming from someone who knows his/her wire.

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