Understanding Wiring Lingo

Frequently, I hear/read bonsai practitioners discuss the wire they employ as being of a particular gauge (e.g. 4, 6, 12, etc) to indicate thickness with a lower # meaning you have thicker wire.

Of course, most of the places I buy wire describe it in thickness (typically mm - 1.0, 2.0, etc.) where a higher # means a thicker wire.

Does anyone have an easy/quick equivalent test they use? So, if someone recommends that I use 6 gauge wire for structural wiring – I can look at my wire (described in mm) and have a basic idea of the thickness that is being recommended?

(note: to get out ahead of some likely responses, i do understand and appreciate that a recommended gauge for structural wiring isnt always a particular # and the gauge you use should be determined by which wire gives you total control of a branch so you can control the full movement of what you are wiring.)

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I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world but generally speaking I’ve seen copper wire sold in gauges while aluminum wire is sold in millimeters in the US.

Gauge thickness is standardized and you can find the conversion charts on the web. I believe Ryan would be using the American standard, but I don’t really know for certain.


This is a great help for 3 bucks. Hell the screenshot alone is a great help for free…they have good stuff tho. Not a paid endorsement :sunglasses:.


Ahh, very cool – thanks!