In the 08/04 issue of AJM magazine,there is a brief article by
Charles Lewton-Brain covering several approaches to cutting jump
rings. One method uses a razor blade to slice the coil into rings.
I can hardly make sense of using a razor blade in this manner. Is
anyone currently using this method? Am I missing something here?
Thanks for any insight anyone can provide.
Hi Dennis, I don’t know about a razor blade…I use a jeweler’s saw
to cut my rings. Frames and blades are readily available and
relatively inexpensive, plus a little beeswax to keep the blade
lubricated and your’e good to go. I’ve been cutting rings this way
for two years now, and aside from the occasional blade breakage (I
always try to keep a fair amount on hand so I don’t run out), this
method works well for me. It’s not as fast as using a Jump Ringer,
but considerably less expensive and that suits my budget for now.
The best way to cut clean and precise jump rings is with
a Coil Holder
a circular cutting blade with
a cutting guide.
The Jump Ringer, The Koil cutter & The Ring Tool are 3 different
makes availalbe on the market.
Regards Kenneth Singh
do you all sand the edges of your jump rings after sawing? i made my
own jump rings (by sawing) for a certain piece to use as the chain
and i found they often had rough edges that needed sanding – way
too much work for the piece. was i doing something wrong?
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679
One of our members suggested using razor blades for cutting thin
metals. May I suggest that razor blades as such were probably not
meant. I think perhaps the writer may mean Razor Saws. These are
saws made of very thin hardened steel not a lot thicker than razor
blades and with very many small teeth to the inch. They are sold
for two or three dollars in model makers supply shops, and are used
mainly for cutting balsa wood and thin plastics. If one has to cut
a fairly long strip from a piece of metal sheet up to about 2 mm
thickness, then I personally prefer these saws, which I modify by
changing the handle position end for end, so that the saw cuts on
the pull stroke, which avoids distorting the metal as cutting on the
push stroke does. These saws are strengthened with a backing,
exactly like a tenon saw used for cutting wood but, in miniature,
yet one can still cut a long strip by lowering the angle at which
the saw is held when cutting. On the other hand, whilst these saws
are excellent for cutting straight lines in sheet metal, I wouldn’t
use one for jump rings. As small as they are; the teeth on a razor
saw are too big for that. The rule is that never less than two
teeth must be in contact with the work at any position of the saw.
I prefer a very fine blade, say No. 6/0 in a saw frame for that;
used with the teeth pointing toward the handle and lubricated by
wiping it across a candle or bit of beeswax.
Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ
do you all sand the edges of your jump rings after sawing?
FWIW I’ve found that if you use a fairly fine blade in your saw, say
4/0 or 5/0, and make a point of doing as smooth a cut as you can you
end up with rings that require no further dressing before soldering.
It helps immensely if the coil is very snug on it’s core while you do
the sawing. Wrapping on an aluminium tube, locking the ends down in
slots cut in the ends of the tube and then taping the coil snugly with
an end-to-end overlapping wrap of masking or painter’s tape is
sufficient to accomplish this. Every once in a while you’ll need to
start with a new piece of aluminium tubing 'cause your ends get sawed
up but the stuff is cheap and effective so it’s no biggie.
The aluminium tubing seems to work better than the traditional wooden
doweling because you can wrap, tape and saw a tighter coil, at least
that’s what I’ve experienced.
... May I suggest that razor blades as such were probably not
Sorry to contradict JB but I believe that Charles --Mr.
Lewton-Brain-- did in fact mean razor blades. You can find the
process and procedure in his “Cheap Thrills in the Toolshop”, p.34. I
think it’s also online at Ganoksin … yup,
All About Jump Rings - Ganoksin Jewelry Making Community 'bout halfway down the
Razor saws are great but it’s definitely a razor blade that is used
in the technique Charles describes.
That said I’ve tried the process and on my couple attempts made a
horrible mess of an otherwise useful wire coil. My guess is that it’s
only intended for small and/or very small gauge wire and even then
it’s going to take you a bit of practice to get it right. I moved on
to other techniques but have never forgotten the image of zipping off
dozens of jump rings at a go.
I also use a jeweler’s saw to cut my jump rings. Only problems i run
into is that i end up cutting a little off of vertical, so some of my
jump rings have their cuts at an angle. They still work, though. I
I thought the business about cutting jump rings with a razor was in
an article by W.T.Blackband (Illustrated London News 1938, 24 April
p.659) but I only have part of it, and it ends with “To be
continued” and it doesn’t seem to have the reference. It does have a
lot of other cool ways to make granules…:-)…If anyone can get a
copy of the whole article and/or the second part, I would be forever
grateful…I probably got the piece I have (an old xerox) from the
Goldsmiths’ Hall Library or the Bodleian.
It works like this: you solder a piece of razor to the end of a
piece of rod or thick wire (perpendicular) which you have used as a
mandrel around which you wrap very fine wire. Then you pull the
mandrel-wire through a drawplate thru a hole just big enough to let
it pass. The wrapped wire will get squished between the razor and
the back side of the drawplate, but if you keep pulling, the razor
cuts thru the coiled wire leaving tiny rings.
Janet in Jerusalem
If you haven’t experienced the ease, speed and consistent perfection
of using a Jump Ringer to wind and cut your rings you are wasting
time and effort that may be put to more productive use.
I want to start making my own jumprings & would like to know what
wire to use & must it be hardened & by what method…
Audie Beller of Audie’s Images-
do you all sand the edges of your jump rings after sawing?
I’ve made quite a few sterling rope chains using 12 ga. 1/2 round
wire, as shown in Tim McCreight’s Complete Metalsmith. I cut the
links with a Jump Ringer tool, but there’s still a bit of a burr left
behind. I solder only the first and last single rings (to answer
somebody else’s question), as each of the others is looped through
multiple rings, adding strength. After constructing the chain, I put
it in a vibrating tumbler with stainless steel shot. This does an
effective job de-burring, polishing (burnishing) and hardening the
links. You can use the less expensive carbon steel shot, but the
maintenance of carbon steel shot can be challenging… stainless is
All the best,
Charlotte, NC (USA)
cutting jump rings with a razor
Charles discussed this right here in Ganoksin! The description and
illustration are at
If any Orchidians have tried it, please tell us about it, e.g., how
thick the wire can be, what the cut ends are like, does the process
distort the rings, etc.
I don't know about a razor blade...I use a jeweler's saw to cut my
I’d think the razor blade idea might work with a little
experimentation on lighter gauge wire. However, to cut heavier gauge
wire, the Koil Kutter works well. There are Koil Kutter models for
Proxxon & Dremel motor tools as well as for Foredom #30 handpieces.
I always use an ultra thin separating disc on my flex shaft. The
kerf is minimal, the cut is smooth-- no jerking from sawing
motions-- and the coil easily held on a dowel, in pliers, etc.
Wax the disc and wear eye protection! These discs are fragile and
not cheap, but they get the job done beautifully.
where can i get the Koil Kutter
The Koil Kutter is available from:
David D. Arens
3649 N. Pellegrino
Tucson, AZ 85749
I wanted to throw my $.02 (US) in on the subject of jump ring
cutters. There are two cutters that I know of - the Koil Kutter (by
Dave Arens) and the Jumpringer (by Ray Grossman). I own and use
both. I purchased the Koil Kutter (KK) initially because I did not
own a flexshaft (a requirement for the Jumpringer) and wanted to be
able to use my b&d rotary tool. It is also quite a bit cheaper than
the Jumpringer. If you do not have a flexshaft or a lot of money to
spend, it is a good place to start. However, if you have a flexshaft
and you plan on cutting on a regular basis, in production, large
sizes or different shapes, I recommend the Jumpringer. It is a much
more precise tool and is more verstile than the KK in that you can
purchase different coil holders for different shapes and the round
coil holder has sides for multiple sized rings. Much better with
larger rings than the KK. For production, I much prefer the
Jumpringer - I keep my KK on a rotary tool as a backup when I only
need to cut one or two coils and don’t want to change out my
flexshaft. If you have the money, though, in my opinion the
Jumpringer is the better tool.
Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a rotary tool for your jewelry projects? We recommend:
Interestingly enough no-one has mantioned cutting the jumprings (by
saw) on the same mandrel they were formed on. This is a tip I learned
from David La Plantz years ago. Having formed the rings on a mandrel,
steel or brass (or for massive 18mm+mm dia ones, plastic rod) using
the same method as shown in Charles’ Ganoksin article. I have a slot
in one end which I use for sawing and a hole in the other end for
locating the wire, then mount the mandrel in a vice (US: vise) and
saw then through right on the mandrel.
Hold the top bunch of rings in a pinch grip and saw 5 or 6 at a time
putting the saw in the slot, then most importantly withdraw the saw.
The j-rings slide off the mandrel all in a bunch.
B r i a n A d a m
e y e g l a s s e s j e w e l l e r y
Wrapping on an aluminum tube, locking the ends down in slots cut
in the ends of the tube and then taping the coil snugly with an
end-to-end overlapping wrap of masking or painter's tape is
sufficient to accomplish this
The only thing I would be concerned about here is the contamination
of aluminum in the silver filings. At least wood doweling can be
harmlessly burned off.
Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady)
May your gems always sparkle.