A Tight Spot: Binding Parts Together with Wire

BENCH TIP FROM ALAN REVERE

Jewelers traditionally use wire to hold small jewelry parts together during soldering. Simple enough, you think, but even with this there are tricks to make the job easier. Whether you are binding a large item with heavy gauge or a delicate part with finer wire, the following tip will help to ensure a strong, secure fit. (This applies to both traditional black iron binding wire and a more recently available wire made of stainless steel.)  

First, prepare the wire by folding it in half and twisting, either by hand or in a flex-shaft, so that there is a twist every few millimeters. This accomplishes two things: It strengthens and reinforces the wire, and, most important, it distributes the force during tightening and reduces the chance of the wire breaking.    

After wrapping the parts to be joined, twist the ends together by hand. Then, using a pair of flat pliers to grab the wire several millimeters away from the parts, tighten in two distinct stages. First pull the wire taught, then relax just a bit as you twist the ends together. Repeat this “pull, relax, twist” sequence until the items are held firmly together.

In this method, the force of tightening is distributed evenly and the wire is not likely to break, unless it is over-tightened. After soldering, remove the binding wire before pickling to clean the metal