- Arts and Design
Best Kinds of Dowels To Use For Wire Jewelry
Big Dowel for Wire Jewelry Coil
One of the Best Tools for Jewelry Making
Dowels, either solid or hollow rods, come in a variety of different materials and shapes and are an excellent tool to be used when learning how to make wire jewelry. Dowels in general help to work the wire in a wide variety of ways. You can use them to gracefully bend long wire lengths and most certainly to wind wire around when making larger wire jewelry pieces and long wire coils. If you have a kink in your wire and want to straighten it out, a good dowel can be most helpful in doing that. You can also braid wire around them. If you want to know how to make beads with wire, dowels are the ticket. I use dowels so often in my own wire jewelry making that I always keep them near.
For the most part, round, hollow brass dowels are preferred for wire jewelry making. Brass dowels come either hollowor solid and again, for most applications, I prefer the hollow ones. Hollow brass dowels are strong enough to resist even the tightest winding. By and large, these dowels hold up well.
Best Type for Making Wire Jewelry
I recommend using hollow as opposed to solid brass dowels with this
caveat: hollow dowels come in a variety of wall thicknesses. The
thinner the wall, the greater the chance of bending the dowel. If you
tend to pull your wire very tightly, hollow dowels can bend. Choose a
hollow dowel that has at least a medium wall thickness. Hollow brass
dowels are lightweight, sturdy, and generally easy to work with.
While this may seem like a minor point, something as simple as
choosing a hollow over a solid metal dowel can make quite a difference
in your working comfort. Particularly if you’re using dowels a lot in
your wire jewelry work, the extra weight of a solid brass dowel can eventually cause unnecessary muscle strain and discomfort.
Aside from round, other dowel shapes include: square, octagon, half
round, triangular and oval. While more difficult to locate, these dowel
shapes produce some interesting effects when wire is wound around
them. However, if you’re lucky enough to come across some of these
dowels, you’ll need to make sure any edges are sanded down smoothly
so the wire slides off easily. Putting cornstarch on the dowel first can
also help the wire slide off more easily.
Since dowels are used essentially as forming tools, the most important thing to consider when making your dowel choices is how easily the wire will slide off of them. For that reason, I generally try and avoid using wooden dowels. The wood is generally soft and if you pull the wire tightly against it, the wire can sort of "cut into" the wood making it hard to get your wire off the dowel.
Next, consider the durability and weight of the dowel. Since brass and aluminum dowels are readily available, if you have a choice, choosse brass. Brass is a dense, heavy metal, whereas aluminum is very soft, lightweight and too easily bent.
Finally, if you live in a remote area and/or find it hard to locate dowels, it's fairly easy to find substitutes. Metal crochet hooks and knitting needles work well. Rummaging through kitchen or garage drawers may also produce some good dowel substitutes.
When you're in the process of learning how to make wire jewelry, having the best tools for jewelry making can make all the difference in the world.