Random Saturday - Taming the bronze?

I know I have hardly posted anything but the Oldies but Goodies in months, so it's about time for something else for a change.

Years ago I got my first bronze wire just wanting to try something new. Bronze is an alloy consisting mostly of copper (94% in this case), some tin and other trace metals or non-metals which often give the bronze its name, like phosphor bronze.
I was not happy with it as a wire for crocheting, but somehow I forgot about that and got some when I started wire weaving. So far it hasn't made me much happier than the last time, but today we had a small breakthrough in our relationship.

Lately I have been a little obsessed with balling up wire ends. I blame my friend Dawn. And my pal who sat down with me to show me the burner in person. I used copper, sterling and fine silver, and then I got curious about using my bronze wire.
What a disappointment! Instead of getting little balls the wire curled up at the ends looking like a little mutant snail - or in some cases a badly manufactured golf club. Now I have to admit that I'm not only obsessed with balling up wire, but also with the urge to find out how big I can make those balls without them falling off (I am a champion at dropping little copper and silver balls into my water bowl and cursing). I managed some big ugly mutant snails. For some reason I can't remember where I put those, so I can't take a picture of them. Maybe they went back to their home planet.
What did I do wrong? Was I too slow, did I wait too long, did I just not find the right point in the flame (bronze is melting quicker than pure copper), did I hold the wire wrong, did I maybe not know about the secret chant you need for success? I tore out my hair, blamed the cats and bit my desk, but that didn't bring me any closer to the solution.
I have been known to lose patience easily with some projects, but I kept coming back to the bronze wire. Then I remembered a blog post by Lisa Yang that I had found. She wrote some people had suggested for her to hold the wire parallel to the flame.
The wire melted just as quickly and wanted to curl up, but I lifted it right out of the flame and that way it was easier for me to control the shape. One length of wire after the other got treated that way on both sides.
The ends look differently for each metal. I found a picture on Nancy L. T. Hamilton's blog showing the result for fine, sterling and argentium silver, for copper and for bronze.

Bronze wire loses its shiny look in the flame and tends to look more like copper, after all that's what makes up most of it. I wanted to see what would happen in the tumbler and let the wire have a nice carousel ride for four hours (with some other pieces of jewelry).
I wonder what a longer ride would do to them, but I'm already quite happy with this result as the ends lost their red coppery touch and look like the wire again even if not as shiny.
I'll let you know if/when I try!


  1. I love this! Can't wait to see what you do with them next!

    1. Thank you!

      As the thinner gauge bronze wire likes to kink and break, I may combine it with copper wire in different colors eventually, but I'll definitely give the bronze another try first!

      Let me know how the bronze and you get along when you come up with something.

  2. Way to go Cat, I really enjoy reading your blog posts.

    I don't have bronze wire so I can't test it, the only bronze I have are jump rings and a few findings.

    1. Thank you, Carina!
      Kathy told me to anneal it, I already thought about that, but my problem is just how to anneal my wrapping wire without melting it, it goes so fast!