This was the first question I asked when buying my metal supplies. I remember how shocking it was that you could use 24 gauge metal and it wasn't paper thin. I was thinking in wire terms, and thought it would be frail and thin. Now, the number gauges run in the same way wire does, smaller number, thicker gauge, but they certainly feel very different.
So I thought I'd give you a little information on metal sheet.
The most popular metals are sterling silver, copper and brass. I highly recommend starting with copper.
Copper is softer then brass, and cheaper then sterling silver. So it works easy, and if you make a mistake, it's not a devastating financial loss like it would be with sterling silver.
When you go to buy sheet metal, some places sell set cuts- like 3x6" or 6x12". Others (like www.thunderbirdsupply.com) let you choose your own cut size. This is handy to know depending on what you plan to do.
For example, at Thunderbird, you can order 10 pieces cut at 2x7.5" if you are planning to make cuffs (not sure what cuff standards is, I just picked that measurement at random)- they are pre-cut to the size you want. They also have the option of set sizes.
Another thing to consider when ordering or buying sheet, is how you plan to cut it, and what you want to use it for. 26 gauge is very thin, very lightweight and easy to manipulate. This is great for fold forming items that may be used in earrings. I also use 24 gauge often for earring designs so they aren't too heavy.
If you need something to be sturdy and unbendable under stress, you want to use a thicker gauge, 22-18 gauge. Keep in mind how you plan to cut these sheets. You can only use metal shears up to 22 gauge (usually). So if you need thicker metal sheet, you will need to saw it.
I have ordered the standard large sheets of metal 6x12" and I found them too bulky to work with. I don't have a quick way to cut them down, so it's been awkward to work with them, which I why I like to customize my sheet size.
I hope that helps with some questions you may have on buying sheet metal. For a beginner, especially for our Metal texture Boot Camp, I highly recommend copper. It cuts and stamps like butter!
We can't wait to see what you guys are working on. Remember- the blog hop is April 8th. On that day, you will be able to link up to our site. Happy hammering.