Knowing how to choose the correct hardness of sheet and wire metals for your jewelry techniques and designs helps you achieve the good-looking, long-lasting results you want. Below, we share some of what we know about metal hardness and we hope it enriches your experience at the bench.
Metal hardness is one of the trickiest things to try to explain—the term is relative to the particular metal or alloy, for starters; depending on the elements that make up each particular alloy, what’s called “hard” in one metal won’t bend, form, work, or feel the same as a material designated as “hard” in another metal.
The Hardness Relativity
Metal is composed of individual crystals arranged in a pattern and density specific to that type of metal. Because of this, the range of hardness from soft to hard will be relative to each metal (see the Vickers hardness chart below). Dead-soft sterling, for example, does not feel or behave the same as dead-soft white gold.
If you will be soldering on the piece you’re making, you may as well start with dead soft because it’s easy to work with and any hardness the metal may have will be lost when you apply heat to solder. If you will be cold-working the metal (manipulating, forging, twisting, folding, etc.), you may want to start with dead-soft metal and anneal it every so often as needed to resolve the work-hardening and return the metal to a dead-soft state. Jewelers who wire-wrap usually use 1/2-hard wire because it holds its form well in the finished design—as the wire is bent to wrap it, the working hardens the wire further so that the finished jewelry is stronger.
Any kind of cold working such as rolling, drawing, bending—even uncoiling and coiling wire—increases the hardness incrementally. Annealing can return the metal to dead soft, and further work will again begin to harden it. Mills that make sheet and wire typically measure the hardness of their products based on how much the product has been worked (a percentage of reduction, for example, in rolled sheet or drawn wire) since they were last annealed to dead soft.
The descriptions below offer, in general, what you can expect from the various hardnesses, but remember that these will vary in degree depending on the metal you’re working with, what you’re making and how you work.
Metal that is dead soft is in a relaxed state at its molecular level, so it is easy to bend, shape and hammer. The act of bending or shaping will gradually work-harden the metal—right up to the breaking point. Dead soft metal will not hold its shape if put under stress in structures such as hinges or clasps.
Metal that is 1/2-hard has been worked a bit, tightening the grain at the molecular level. This metal is harder to bend and hammer, but it is still possible in some cases to shape the metal—it just takes more force. While still malleable, it will also hold its shape under a certain amount of stress; it is ideal for wire wrapped structures that will support other components. If you are fabricating an item that needs both strength and a thinner gauge, you would probably choose 1/2-hard.
Metal that is tempered (or significantly work-hardened) will be difficult to bend but will hold whatever bend you put into it pretty stubbornly. This hardness is ideal for clasps or hinges.
Metal thoroughly hardened will lose pretty much all of its malleability and will actually spring back into its original shape when bent by hand. This hardness is ideal for ear wires, jump rings head pins and pin components.What is the meaning of the phrase dilemma of regulation? How to tell if a guy has a small package? What is the meaning of thrice? How do dude perfect do all their tricks? What does abdl mean? What is a kcal? What is the meaning of the name amelia? What does it mean when your poop is dark green? how to make cheddar cheese melt hamburger helper What does self assured mean? how to mock a private helper function What is the meaning of mona's name? What is a doppelganger? What gun tips for painting cars? If school was a loadingg screen. what wouldd be tips? What does bludgeoned mean? As a waitress what do i do with tips? How to renew global entry? Word for a person who tricks someon else? 10 tips on how to stay safe online? How to self care tips? Accept who you are and revel in it meaning? How many tricks does an animal companion start with pathfinder? What does paid internship meaning? How to deactivate an instagram account? When marnie was there meaning? What does coughing up blood mean? What does encrypted mean? Happiness is only real when shared into the wild meaning? How do you do tricks in a plane in fortnite? What does adamant mean? What day does 1883 come on? What does foundation mean? How to digitally sign a pdf? What is the meaning behind the name james? How to frost cupcakes? How to make espresso without a machine? What channel is fx on directv? How to prevent mosquito bites? What does abstract mean? What in transit mean? How much do waiters make in tips a week? What color does blue and brown make? What does ipa mean? someone a helper or partner who is with u How to train your dragon series? What does mfa stand for? What is a warranty deed? How to become jewish? How to find percent error? Tips when i move of state with little moneu? How to copy and paste on a macbook? how to make hamburger helper fettuccine alfredo how to create helper methods in react where to find clerical helper in davis, ca? How to get better at pull ups? How to do tricks on sparrow destiny ps4? How to erase macbook? What does a real id look like? What does bop mean? What does voyeur mean? What is statistics? What dates are libra? How to say please in spanish? Why meaning infrastructure matters so? How to deactivate a facebook page? How to thicken hair naturally? How are they doing magic tricks? What is the meaning of eluded? What time zone is kentucky in? How many guests may a temporary member bring to a private club? What is the meaning personal computer? What are dermal fillers? What does annie mean? What are botflies? What does tbf mean on facebook? How to start a conversation on tinder? What does sustainability mean? What does 711 mean spiritually? What are the abc islands? What is a siren? How to grow a bigger penis? What does fap stand for? What does texas a and m stand for? How to read a pulse oximeter? what is "tidal helper" How does mike carbonaro do his tricks? How to edit tips on amazon now? What is the meaning of the number 12? Why are onion root tips a good choice for viewing cells in different stages of the cell cycle? How to make a slideshow on iphone? What tips to use on krause and becker airless paint sprayer? How many calories are you supposed to eat a day? How long does a body take to decompose? What does official mean? What does pendeja mean? How to get weed smell out of car? What is the meaning of the movie turning red? What does long time coming meaning? How many calories do i need to burn to lose weight? how to stop spotify web helper What time does napa close?