Nichrome Wire Gauges and Uses

16 Gauge Nichrome

Nichrome wire is a very useful thing in the glass fusing world.  Nichrome is shorthand for Nickel Chromium, which are the two main ingredients in Nichrome Wire.  There are several different types of Nichrome, with different capabilities. These specs are from the manufacturer that I use, but each manufacturer may vary the percentages slightly, it will make little or no difference on fusing performance.

Types of Nichrome Wire

Nichrome 60

60% Nickel

16% Chromium

24% Iron

Maximum operating temperature of  2100F (1150C)

 

Nichrome 80

80% Nickel

18.5% Chromium

1.5% Silicon

Maximum operating temperature of 2156F (1180C)

I prefer the Nichrome 80, it maintains its shape well, and stays sturdy under multiple firings.

 

Gauges: (the larger the number, the thinner the wire)

16 gauge:  large animal legs and very heavy duty applications.  This wire is much stronger than glass, so bend with caution.

18 gauge:  medium animal legs and large jewelry applications.  Bend this wire with caution, it can cause glass to chip at the fusing point.

20 gauge:  jewelry and small animals.  Fuse and Fold mold projects.  Glass is stronger than this wire, and can be easily bent, some caution should be taken at fuse point to avoid chipping.

22 gauge:  smaller jewelry items and pieces that will be finished with seed beads.  This wire rarely causes chipping when bent at fuse point.

Nichrome wire in Jewelry:

Generally I prefer to use 20 gauge Nichrome wire for jewelry.  However, you can use 22 gauge for staple and twisted eye pin styles for small beads and dangles.

Loop Type Uses
Staple- single or double sided (double
sided can look like an S shape)
Single sided
Earring beads
light weight charms
small ornaments
bail beads
Pendants
medium weight charmsDouble Sided
Bracelet Beads
Windchime components
Eye Pin – Single or double ended
Single Sided
Small charms
Earring beads
small pendants
ornaments
small chime componentsDouble Sided
beads for necklaces
Twisted Eye Pin – Single or double ended
Single Sided
Heavy pendants
charms for bracelets
Heavy duty chimesDouble sided
Beads for bracelets

 

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