I’ve been fooling around with annealed steel wire. I love the look of oxidized silver paired with gold, but it’s too expensive. So I’ve been experimenting with dark annealed steel wire and bronze for the same look. Aside from Brenda Schweder’s book Steel Wire Jewelry Techniques and Inspiration, there’s not a lot of guidance on working with dark annealed steel wire.
One thing I learned the hard way: your basic AWG wire gauge, the kind we typically buy when we start to work with wire, measures non-ferrous wire only. Metal gauges are different for ferrous and non-ferrous wire. That means the gauge you use to measure silver and copper won’t give you an accurate reading for dark annealed steel wire which will mean trouble if you order online. You can buy a ferrous metal gauge here.
I’ve been fooling around with bronze metal clay for a while. It looks good incorporated with dark annealed steel wire ( I’ve used 16 gauge here, which is as thick as 14 gauge copper wire and very stiff.) I’ve experimented with chains, but bracelets are fun to make because they are limited projects and a good way to try out a technique before you attempt something more elaborate. I learned that you can solder the wire, thanks to Brenda Schweder’s great video on Facebook. I don’t try to soften or anneal the wire, but I’m learning how to move and shape it without damaging my tools or hands. I’m learning as I go along. Here are some pictures.