Copper Wire Art - Stove Element Rose Heart / Wire stripping technique

klynnnn(z8 SC USA)January 1, 2013

Image by: Yukon_Gold
Stove Element Heart
Stove Element Copper Wire Heart

Member Yukon_Gold doesn't let any good junk pass her by, here a rose heart she made from a burnt-out stove element:

Just can't throw the stuff out--this time, used the following materials:

1) The good old left over electrical Romex 12/2 copper wire (still have tons left) from ours and now somebody else's electrical projects; and

2) A nonfunctional electric oven baking element that blew just before Easter dinner needed to be cooked. We got to go out for dinner (heh, heh). Replacement element cost $40, so the old one HAD to be recycled by me. Just squished the bottom connector tabs together to hold bottom to a pointed shape, the rest was as you see it. It made a nice, strong framework for the copper wire designs.

Of course, as I was staring at the blown-out element after my husband replaced it, I heard him say quietly, "Oh, no! I just knew you were thinking of making something with it." Sure enough...

The wire gauge is 12, which is a little heavy, but I've gotten used to it. Plus it stays put when stressed. Got my hands on some 14, but I keep going back to the 12, it seems to be larger and more visible from a distance. It's limited for more intricate shapes, and most beads don't fit on it.

To strip, I use a box cutter carefully:

A) If you are using Romex electrical wire pieces, there are 3 copper wires in there, one wrapped in paper and 2 wrapped in plastic. I hold the Romex flat and put it on a heavy piece of cardboard to avoid damage to the table, then carefully slice the covering and remove.

B) Then for the individual plastic coated wires, I put an old magazine over my knee for protection, put the wire on my knee at the 2 o'clock position, then I hold the boxcutter at a slight angle with my right hand putting pressure on the wire covering with the blade, then I slowly draw the wire through with my left hand as the blade cuts a side of the plastic. I can do about 10-12" per tug. I do not remove the plastic cover until I have the whole wire length completely opened on the one side, then I pop it off. I've done up to 15 feet of wire this way. Make sure the box cutter has a newer, good blade or you'll be chopping little pieces off instead which is tedious.

My personal favorite is the swirl shape, like concentric circles, only continuous. Like acorkscrew piggy tail, then flattened. I could see some of these inside the star, kind of swirling-planet look alikes. Have fun.

P.S. There are two v-shaped attachments on the upper back of the element which will hang it perfectly (those were the legs that held the element off the bottom of the oven). Actually, I've been thinking of screwing it to the edge of a wooden flower box or deck edge, there are also two metal tabs with holes about 6" from the bottom on the back for doing that (those were the metal tabs that screwed the element to the back of the oven box).

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