A reader following one of my tutorials asked me about scratches while wire wrapping. Since scratches are a common problem, I thought I'd share my answer:
The softer the wire, the more likely it is to scratch. I generally use very soft wire, so I have to be extra careful about scratching my work. Usually scratches are combination of the pliers you're using and how hard you're squeezing the wire.
I use well worn, high quality pliers. The edges of my favorite pliers are dulled with use and the surfaces are very smooth. For a good pair of pliers, expect to pay $30 - $70 per pair. Some brands come with the edges already rounded.
As far as how hard to press on the wire, this is one of the skills that can take a long time to master. The more wire wrapping you do, the cleaner your wire will be. So practice, practice, practice! I used to make dozens of tiny rosettes at a time out of scrap wire instead of doodling. This helped me get a sense of just how hard I could press on the wire before it would dent or scratch. And remember, how hard you press on the wire changes with the hardness, gauge and type of metal you're working with.
The last thing is to make sure you've got good lighting and eyewear, if you need it. Seeing precisely what's going on will help you avoid marring your projects.
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