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Old-Fashioned Chain - Wire Work Tutorial

Picture of Old-Fashioned Chain - Wire Work Tutorial
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This tutorial teaches step by step how to create "old-fashioned chain". This is one of the very first things I ever learned to make, many, many years ago, and remains one of my favorites. It is an excellent technique to utilize all those pesky little scraps staring at you from your workbench.

Materials suggested:
Wire 1/2 hard - square or round - 1 1/16 inch straight wire per link - 3 links per inch finished chain. Almost any gauge wire can be used, just keep in mind the larger the gauge, the harder the links are to form, and the higher chance of your fingers falling off
1 clasp of your choice

Tools needed:
  • Ruler
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flush wire cutters
  • Permanent marker (Sharpie)
 
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Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1
I keep several cigar boxes on my workbench to hold usable scrap wire. I try to sort it by gauge 18 - 20 - 21 (the bulk of what I use for chain). When there is enough scrap, I sit and cut it to length and start making chain. If you don’t have that much scrap handy or simply want a chain NOW, cut your wire pieces 1 1/16" long.

Step 2: Step 2

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Using a permanent marker, place a mark on your round nose roughly 5 - 7mm from the tip. I prefer smaller loops, but not too small.

Step 3: Step 3

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The key to this technique is in how you hold your pliers. At first this will seem a little awkward, but will get easier with time. You start each turn with your palm facing UP! If you start with your palm down, as you would normally work, by the time you finish the turn, you will look and feel like you are trying to get into an impossible yoga position.

Hold your pliers in your dominant hand, and the link you are working on, on the index finger of your non-dominant hand.

Step 4: Step 4

Picture of Step 4
Grab the wire with your pliers roughly 5/16” from the end of the wire, and hold it against your index finger. Don't forget - palm up.
veronica21 year ago
what store do u usually buy ur wire? all the wire i have is to weak to be into a chain i want to find some place i can buy stronger wire
BobbiWired (author)  veronica21 year ago
Hi Veronica,
All my wire comes from RioGrande.com - I have made this chain in just about every metal except aluminum and Artistic - those I would think would be too soft and flimsy for chain.
kttecatt2 years ago
How truly beautiful. I can't wait to give this a try. Thank you for the tutorial!!
When will your tut blog open?? I am so dying here!
BobbiWired (author)  Scarlettred418162 years ago
:)) My website and blog still need a lot of work, but my tutorials are available at MyWiredImagination.etsy.com :))
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