Make Your Own Jump Rings
Some of us enjoy making our own jump rings. It’s usually a matter of necessity for me as it seems that I’m either out of them when I need them or I don’t have just the right size for my project. It’s just been easier to make my own. You can purchase a jump ring maker, create one yourself or simply use what you have on hand. If you don’t already make your own jump rings and would like to, I hope the following that uses objects most wire workers have around the workbench will get you started.
Select the appropriate gauge wire for your project based largely upon the inside diameter you want in the ring, the weight of the piece and the purpose of the jump ring. For example, you would likely want a stronger jump ring for connecting links in a necklace of gemstones than for use in chain maille where multiple links come together. I suggest you experiment with a few different gauges and inside diameters in order to make a judgment. I usually try to err on the side of strong jump rings rather than flimsy. The photos in this tutorial show the use of 16 gauge wire wrapped on the large cylinder of medium bail makers. This creates a 5mm inside diameter.
Flush cut the end of the wire and wrap it around a cylinder that is the diameter you selected. Go around the cylinder completely for each jump ring you make. Note: I usually make a couple of extra in case one or more don’t turn out well. The photos below show the use of both a small bail maker and a pen as cylinders. You may also use a metal knitting needle or round nose pliers.
Remove the coil from the cylinder and use a good flush cutter to cut the first ring. Be sure you have the flush part of your cutter facing the ring you are cutting. Remove the first ring (it will probably fall off; so don’t work over the wastebasket!) Note: Some people use a saw to cut the rings.
Turn the cutters over and flush trim the new end of the coiled wire so it has a smooth edge. Now turn the flush cutters over again and flush cut the next ring. Note: The trick to making a good jump ring is making sure that both edged are a smooth flush cut.
Repeat step 3 until you have used all the wire.
Use two pair of pliers to work the jump ring back and forth until the flush cut ends meet. This also helps to work harden the ring and make it more stable.
Optional: I like to slightly hammer my jump rings at this point.
Then I use the crimpers to make sure the ends of the jump rings are snug together and that the ring is still a circle. Crimpers work great for this since they really grab the curved edges of the ring.
I usually hammer the jump rings again to eliminate as much of the seam as possible.
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