Monday, December 7, 2015

Cutting Jump Rings

One of my least favorite tasks in making jewelry is cutting jump rings. If you were to google "jump ring cutter", I guarantee you will find tons of links for products that promise you the easiest, and fastest way to cut jump rings. Some of these tools will set you back some $$ - and if jump rings in bulk are needed, say for chain maille, it may be worth your while.  

I have read many ways to cut rings - make a coil and place a piece of tape around it. Cut the rings with your jeweler's saw while bracing this coil stack against the bench. I have tried this method several times, and I simply cannot get a grip on the coils with my saw - my rings turn out misshapen as I am holding onto that coil for dear life while sawing!

Personally, I have not attempted to use a cut-off blade in my flex shaft, as some of the pricier jump ring cutters suggest. I keep reading the "danger" signs involved with flying metal, and then I simply stop reading and move on!

I also refuse to use flush cutter's - even if I only need on jump ring. Due to the notching caused by the cutters on one side of the ring, it requires two cuts - and for me - rings cut this way do not produce a perfect join.

When I make jump rings, I typically use 14 or 16 gauge wire. The easiest way for me to cut these rings is to coil the wire and slip the coil on a wooden dowel. I buy the wooden dowels in various sizes in the wood craft department at Joann's or Michaels.

I then clamp the wooden dowel in my vice and use my jeweler's saw to start cutting. By cutting them this way, a notch is made in the dowel, which helps guide my saw blade. This is a "one jump ring cut at a time" process.

This works perfectly fine for me, but I wanted to see if there were any other products that could make this process just a little bit faster.

I have seen this coil cutting tool before online (photo courtesy of Beaducation - link here), where the coil is slipped inside the tool.  I assume that tool is supported by the bench block when sawing as opposed to holding up at this angle, as in the photo below. But, I have not tried it. It still looks to be a plausible solution, and one of these days, I may try it.

While up late one night with insomnia, I found this nifty little wood block on Etsy (link here).

It comes with very good, illustrated instructions.  Make a coil of wire...

Slip the coil onto your saw frame...

Insert the coil into one of the "V" channels in the block. The instructions state that you do not have to clamp this block in a vice - using your left hand, hold the block and the coil and saw with your right hand.

While the method above does work, I have the world's smallest hands. So, I clamped the block in my vice for a bit more stability. This way, I only had to gently hold down the coil.


I suppose if one possesses wood working skills, a similar style block could be easily produced. I do not possess these skills - and for $13.50, it was money well spent!

If you have found other methods of cutting jump rings that work for you, I would love to hear about it - leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping by today - now go make something amazing!!


Gale said...

I might give that block a try...but what I really have my eye on is your vise!

Patty said...

You stumbled on a similar jig to the one I use. A block of wood with a deep "V" cut into it. I nailed a small rectangle of leather on the top of mine (cut from my welder's apron used during lampwork bead making) to protect my fingers from the heat generated by the sawing friction. You can push it to the side when situating the rings in the groove. It's a nifty little jig huh?

faryal naaz said...

This is really tremendous that the way you desceibe. This information is so much more than I needed!keep it up .

Anne said...

You know your saw blade will cut that wood pretty easily. You could make this for cents. Not all that hard. I thank you for posting it might have to make one of these.

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