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Tool Talk Thursday: Low Tech Jump Rings

Ceramic pendants by Beads of Clay members
from my personal collection

Most of us have a use for Jump Rings.  For our pendants and for the jewelry we make.  I have been busy these last weeks getting ready for the Annual Artists' Studio tour in our area and needed quite a few.
I have had this Beadalon Jump Ring Maker in my tool box for quite a while, but just started using it about a month ago for making Jump Rings. I am quite impressed.

This tool consists of a plastic base with a place to screw in the 4 different size mandrels that come with the kit.  These are 4mm, 6mm, 7mm and 8mm.  I have chosen the 6mm for this post and for my own use-- good
all around size.
 
Once you screw in your mandrel you anchor your wire in the small hole provided  and give it a bend to hold it in place


I used 18 gauge copper wire.  An easy to acquire wire--your local Ace or Big Box hardware store carries this gauge.  Also 18 gauge makes a nice sturdy jump ring that is not too thick looking.

Then you position your non-dominant hand on the mandrel and guide the wire with your thumb.  You put your index finger of you dominant hand in the plastic winder hole and start turning the ring clockwise.  As you do that the wire winds around the mandrel.  Use your thumb to keep the coil tight and even.



Once you have a nice size coil of wire remove it from the mandrel.  At this point there are several ways you can cut the coil to make the jump rings.  I like to use a jeweler's saw.  Some folks suggest cutting the coils with a very sharp hand held flush cutter.  I find this method does not give a nice clean cut.  I must admit I don't have the most expensive flush cutter.  Also you have to give each ring a flush cut twice to get both sides straight.  Seems like a lot of work compared to using the jeweler's saw.
I always give the blade a good coat of wax or Cut Lube so the blade doesn't get stuck and snap.





Then I put the coil on a wooden dowel  1/4 inch is a  bit snug  for the 6mm but it works. Then I secure it in my vice.  You need to cradle the coil with your non dominant hand and saw with your dominant one.







This photo shows how the saw blade will be positioned to cut the jump rings.  I would be cradling the coil in my hand the way I did in the photo above this one.  I just couldn't take a pic of it since I was doing this alone ( my husband helper had to leave)  and don't have 3 hands. LOL  Keep some pressure on the jump rings so the saw will be able to cut without wobbling around.
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When you are finished you will have a nice pile of jump rings that are sporting a very clean cut.  You can  tumble them for 30-45 min and there will be no sharp edges anywhere. 

Please share your method for making jump rings in the comment section.  Or some tips for improving on this method.  Thanks so much for stopping by today.

I purchased my Beadalon Jump Ring Maker at Michaels.  You can also find it at Beadaholique

10 comments:

  1. The "cut lube" is a wonderful suggestion. It has been a long time ago when I used my saw and forgot about using the lube on the blade. I need to give this a try (making jump rings) as I have wanted to try chainmail. Thank you!

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  2. Thank you Millie for leaving a comment and giving the " thumbs up" on this post. I am so glad that it has been helpful to you.

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  3. Mary, this is very helpful. Thanks for this thorough tutorial!

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  4. thanks Mary, I have a beadalon jump ring tool but stuggled with the cut quality - your instructions are very helpful!

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  5. Cool!!! One can never have enough jump rings...

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  6. Thanks Sandra for writing in. So glad you found this post helpful.

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  7. Hi Sasha and Max, I agree about cut quality. I have some pretty hacked up jump rings using the flush cutters hence my decision to use the saw. That clean cut is also great for fusing fine silver since the ends have to meet exactly to get a nice smooth fuse.

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  8. Marsha, you are so right about never having enough!! Thanks for writing in.

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  9. Anyone use a Ringinator? I invested in one - its like a little table saw for jump rings. One of the best tools in my studio.
    I use a lot of jump rings in my jewelery for chain mail and connectors. I make 3ft long coils using a drill and metal mandrel (from home depot)
    Tube cutting is still the best for small quantity - cant tell you how many blades I went through with the hand held cutters and time for set up. Good instruction

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  10. Good to learn about the Ringinator. Sounds fab. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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