Alton's preferred metals

Alton H

New Member
New Member
Of the chains I make, I tend to use wire made from tinned copper from Beadalon, red brass, phosphor bronze, anodized aluminum wire. Most of the rings I use are wound by myself, cut by myself. I tend to use 20 gauge wire. I've also used titanium wire from Nexmetal Corporation.

Don't wear phosphor bronze in skin contact. It won't tarnish very quickly, but your skin will turn greenish :) I'm doing this on purpose. Phosphor bronze contains copper, tin, zinc, and phosphorus. Not nickel. I tested a ring in a glass bowl with 3% USP hydrogen peroxide and 5% vinegar in roughly equal amounts, and it bubbled very little but developed a lighter colour and a rougher surface. This was over about a 30 minute timeframe.
Tinned copper will oxidize over time. It becomes less shiny. But the ends of the wire will become very dark, as the internal copper oxidizes. Under a similar condition, the wire will bubble a lot more, turn the solution blueish green. Tinned copper does not turn my skin fun colours (unfortunately). Cutting copper alloy wire is very difficult using the Walmart cutters I got in a three-pack with chain nose and round nosed pliers.
Titanium wire is extremely difficult to work. Cutting should be done over a cup or something, with safety glasses. I recommend padding your palm with a cloth or paper towel when cutting. The titanium will cut, but it's super springy, meaning it will jump off the pliers as the wire snaps. Titanium slowly oxidizes into a fuller grey. Do not wind it without pliers. I beg of you. You can find the wire at a lower price on Nexmetal's own website. Amazon offers their wire, but Nexmetal allows far more customization of your order, including thickness (mm and approximate gauge [SWG, iirc]), length or weight in either kg or lbs. They also offer silver. Their titanium is very pure. They specialize in alloys for B2B sales, but they also fill consumer orders.
If anyone has any specific questions about the wire I use, I'll be happy to answer.