The wire dispenser was designed and fabricated by my father, Jim Wells in Troy MO. After watching me struggle with a loose coil of wire and trying to guess how much wrap wire I would need, he commented that I needed another hand to provide tension and a way to reduce wire waste. So he went to work designing the dispenser, which I have used on nearly every piece of wire wrap I’ve produced in the past 10 years. We’ve found that the dispenser helps both beginning and advanced wire artists to make neat, even wire wraps with a very minimum of wasted wire, and is very easy to learn to use.
The dispenser is very solidly constructed of metal and has a padded base to prevent scratching any surface it’s set on. It holds a 2x4 inch spool, and we include 2 spools with the dispenser. These are the same size spools that rio grande and several other wire distributers sell wire on, so they’re interchangeable. We do have more spools available if you need them, they run 2 or 3 dollars.
Please note: We do NOT include any wire on the spools, the photo with wire on the spool is to demonstrate how it will look when ready to use.
This is how it works:
To load the spool, take the wing nut and sleeve off the spindle and slide the spool on. Then replace the plastic sleeve and wing nut. I like to use half round wire for my wraps and I load the spool so the flat side of the wire is down, making it the side that comes in contact with the wire to be wrapped. Unroll the spool a little, I usually grip the end of the wire with my pliers and feed it thru the silicon guide. As the wire comes to the cut out center of the guide, you may have to twist the tension screw up a bit to get it out of the way, then feed the wire on thru the silicon until it is sticking out of the front. Then twist the tension screw down till it’s providing light pressure on the wire. This will hold the wire in the silicon guide. Some wire is very springy and will try to pull back thru the guide, especially the heavier gauges. The bars around the spool are designed to help contain the wire if it springs back and tries to unroll from the spool. Anyone that has had this happen knows what a mess it can be.
There are two ways to provide tension for wrapping, you can adjust the wing nut to make the entire spool hard to turn, and I do this when I’m traveling so my wire doesn’t unwind along the way. But I prefer to put just enough tension on the spool to keep it in place and use the tension screw in the front for resistance when wrapping.
I begin by measuring my stone, then cutting and straightening the wires I will need. After taping them securely and deciding where my wrap wires will need to be, I use the dispenser to apply them. Turn a small end of wire under at a 45 degree angle. This will make your wraps on the top of your bundle straight. While pulling your bundle away from the dispenser with mild tension, use your pliers to close and hold the wire while you turn the bundle to the next wrap. As you wrap, if you keep the bundle slightly turned, the wraps will be closer together and you’ll notice that you can “feel” the wrap wire sliding off the previous wrap and dropping into place. After making all the wraps you need, cut the wire and press it tight with your pliers, then go back and cut off that small “tail” of wire that you turned under to start. This is all the waste wire you will have with the dispenser – The amount of wire saved with this device will make it easily pay for itself. And, with tension against the wire, you can more easily make those even “coin edge” wraps for all your pieces.
The last picture is of a standard wrap in silver, done with the wire dispenser. See a video demonstration of this technique on youtube at https://youtu.be/yOGRrPo9GC8