Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recycled Copper Wire

Because of my landscape design business, I know a variety of contractors who are wonderfully talented in their particular areas of expertise. They are also sometimes wonderful suppliers of leftovers from their projects. This tornado of copper wire was the leftover from a large spool on a construction site. It would have been taken to the construction material recycling facility, but it was my lucky day- the contractor gave this bundle to me. I think that it amuses some people that I look at construction site debris and see jewelry making supplies. I knew that I would be able to do lots of things with this wire!

I cut varying lengths of the wire and then soldered them into rings. This photo shows a selection of soldered rings after taking them out of the pickling solution. They are still fairly messy looking since I have not yet filed off the excess solder. I use a metal file to do the initial cleaning and then finish with an abrasive attachment on my flex-shaft.

After cleaning off the solder, I usually hammer the rings flat which leaves a surface texture that I find appealing. I sometimes add more texture by hammering an old chisel into the surface as shown in the top left ring. There are two small dimples on this top left ring made with a center punch. These are the points where I will drill to turn the ring into a link.

Here are some ways that I have used the recycled copper wire. The largest rings were sized to be bangles. I joined two of the bangles with a smaller soldered ring that holds a wire wrapped lampwork bead. The open ring on the pin to the right is similar to the ring in the above photo. Here, I riveted the ring to a textured brass base. At the bottom is a link that I will use in a future piece. With this, I sandwiched a disc that I cut from a tin that was covered with vintage images. I drilled 4 holes into the copper ring and lower base- 2 for riveting and 2 for future linking.

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