Viking Knit Part 3 – Wire

Today the topic is the viking knit wire you'll be using.  There are all kinds and gauges to choose from, and here's some information to help you choose best.

You've probably seen part 1 and part 2 of my viking knit series; if not, you may want to take a look when you're done with this post.

Kinds of Wire

Wire Types (Click to Enlarge)

Wire Types (Click to Enlarge)

Unless you have money to burn (or are just super-coordinated), I highly suggest that you start learning to make viking knit chain using either copper or artistic wire (which is basically a coated copper wire).  Both are inexpensive and readily available.  (In a pinch when I run out, I hop on over to my local hardware store for some copper wire.)

You can also try brass wire, but it seems to harden up faster than copper does, making it more difficult to work.  But it does give you a gold color without using gold-filled wire.

Fine silver, sterling, argentium and gold-filled wire are glorious but they are expensive to start out with, due to the amount of wire you will use.  Once you are confident of your skill, though, then try your wings with wires other than copper or artistic!

Wire Shapes

When you go to buy your wire, you may be confronted with a choice of wire shapes.  The three most common are round, half round and square.

You'll want to use round wire with your viking knit.  Half round and square would be much too frustrating to use when you are learning.  Half round might be interesting to experiment with, though, once you can do viking knit in your sleep.  ;)  I don't know that I would try square, though, even as an experiment.

Besides, round wire is the least expensive to purchase; the price goes up for any other shape.

Wire Gauges

Wire gauge refers to the thickness of the wire itself.  The most important thing to know is this:  the higher the number, the thinner the wire!  (I know, it seems backwards, but that's the way it is.)

The two most popular viking knit gauges are 24 g and 26 g.  And while you can use any gauge to your heart's content, keep the following in mind.  If you go larger to 22 g, the wire will work harden faster (or at least be harder to work because it's thicker and stiffer).  And if you go smaller with 28 g, you'll be having a very narrow chain indeed.

Wire Hardness

When buying wire, you may or may not see a reference to the wire being hard, half-hard or soft.  You will want to go with soft wire.  Why?  Because the act of making the viking knit chain will "work harden" the wire, making it stiffer.  And while you might could go half-hard with 26 or 28 g wire (since it's so small in diameter to begin with), if you do, you'll need to work with shorter lengths of wire.

Other Gauges for Viking Knit Jewelry

To finish your viking knit jewelry, you will need a small amount of a 20g or 18g wire.  This will be for finishing the ends and making a clasp (unless of course you plan to use a ready-made clasp).  I personally like 18g for clasps, since it is harder and stronger than 20g.  But there are plenty of people who successfully use 20g, so the choice is yours.

How Much Wire -- Lengths

Starting out, you'll use quite a bit of wire trying to get a handle on the viking knit, which is why I suggest an inexpensive wire in the beginning.  But how much wire is needed for a viking knit jewelry project?

Here's an estimate you can use:  1 troy ounce of 24g sterling wire (48 feet) will make roughly an 18" (after being drawn) double-knit chain.  At the time I am writing this, the lowest price I've found for sterling wire is about $20 an ounce.

Like I said, this is just an estimate; your chain may vary somewhat.  And if you use a single knit instead of a double knit, you can just about double that finished chain length.

And of course, the gauge of your wire makes a difference as well.  That's why I suggest making a chain library before you start on your jewelry projects.  You'll have a better handle on what you need, as to length of wire.

One more thing -- how much working length of wire should you use for a session?  I tend to like using 6 feet of wire at a time.  If you're not familiar with using wire, you may want to go shorter, with 3' lengths to start.  But I know other people who like to use 10 feet at a time.  Ultimately, use the working length most comfortable for you!

About Your Eyes

If you're of a certain age, you'll need reading glasses to work your viking knit.  If you don't need reading glasses to see the chain stitches, then wear safety glasses.  Wire can whip around, and you do not want it to strike your eyes!

Now that I've covered wires, I'll next discuss the relationship of dowels, petals and wire gauge for your viking knit jewelry project.

While you can go out to your local hardware store and/or beading or craft store for your wire, if you don't have any of these kinds of stores nearby, here are some copper and art wire available on ebay.

Til next time!

12 yard SILVER PLATED COPPER WIRE BEAD WRAPPING 24ga Craft Jewelry Make Wire
12 yard SILVER PLATED COPPER WIRE BEAD WRAPPING 24ga Craft Jewelry Make Wire
$1.09
Time Remaining: 1d 17h 20m
Solid Copper Wire Strip 3 16 x 24 gauge 5 Feet
Solid Copper Wire Strip 3 16 x 24 gauge 5 Feet
$4.25
Time Remaining: 5d 5h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $4.25
Tarnish Resistant Craft Wire 3 Colors 7 Gauges Jewelry Making Crafts
Tarnish Resistant Craft Wire 3 Colors 7 Gauges Jewelry Making Crafts
$4.79
Time Remaining: 26d 9h 57m
Buy It Now for only: $4.79
12 Yard 24 Gauge Silver Plated Copper Wire Roll Findings for DIY Jewelry Making
12 Yard 24 Gauge Silver Plated Copper Wire Roll Findings for DIY Jewelry Making
$1.79 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 20h 13m
Set of 24pcs Fret Wire Fretwire 22mm Copper for Electric Guitar
Set of 24pcs Fret Wire Fretwire 22mm Copper for Electric Guitar
$3.72
Time Remaining: 8h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $3.72

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10 rolls craft wire dark copper 26ga 30 yrd spool
10 rolls craft wire dark copper 26ga 30 yrd spool
$20.00
Time Remaining: 14h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $26.00
Tarnish Resistant Craft Wire 3 Colors 7 Gauges Jewelry Making Crafts
Tarnish Resistant Craft Wire 3 Colors 7 Gauges Jewelry Making Crafts
$4.79
Time Remaining: 26d 9h 57m
Buy It Now for only: $4.79
Copper Wire Dead Soft 999 Gauges 14 To 26 Choose Your Length Coil or Spool
Copper Wire Dead Soft 999 Gauges 14 To 26 Choose Your Length Coil or Spool
$37.00
Time Remaining: 4d 5h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $37.00
Tarnish Resistant Craft Wire 3 Colors 7 Gauges Jewelry Making Crafts
Tarnish Resistant Craft Wire 3 Colors 7 Gauges Jewelry Making Crafts
$4.70
Time Remaining: 21d 18h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $4.70
Silver Filled Wire Round Copper Core Wire Wrapping Bead Wrapping Gauges 14 to 26
Silver Filled Wire Round Copper Core Wire Wrapping Bead Wrapping Gauges 14 to 26
$7.16
Time Remaining: 22d 18h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $7.16

« Previous12

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