Several years ago, I bought someone’s tool kiters, abo and it
included a set of six mysterious round steel rods of varying diametut
six inches long, each of which had a small hole drilled through one
end. I eventually realized that they were jump ring mandrels. These
tools have become something I use all the time, and basically
couldn’t live without. My students eye these things with envy, but
I’ve not been able to find them in any of my tool catalogs. Can
anybody out there in Orchidland help me? I would be such a hero to
my students if I could find a source for these jump ring mandrels.
Several years ago, I bought someone’s tool kiters, abo and it
Why not just go to a welding shop, get some brass rod of various
sizes cut them to length and drill holes in them? Brass is easier
to drill but if you prefer, get steel drill rod.
Jerry in Kodiak
My students eye these things with envy, but I've not been able to find them in any of my tool catalogs. Can anybody out there in Orchidland help me? I would be such a hero to my students if I could find a source for these jump ring mandrels.
I make a set of 23 metric mandrels from 2 mm to 13 mm in 1/2
increments. The mandrels are aprox 4 inches (101 mm) long. One end is
slotted for holding the wire. All the mandrels will fit in a 3/8 inch
chuck. The larger mandrels have the diameter of one end reduced for a
short length to fit in the 3/8 chuck.
Can anybody out there in Orchidland help me? I would be such a hero to my students if I could find a source for these jump ring mandrels.
They’re easy to make. I’d bet the original owner of your jump ring
mandrel didn’t buy them, but made them. Machine tool supply
companies like MSC, and many others, will happily sell you drill rod
stock in an almost unlimited range of sizes of your choosing. I’ve
even seen it packaged as an assortment of drill sized lengths, all
set in a drill index box, the same as you might buy finished drills.
I think that was from Enco, but I could be wrong. Anyway, all you
need to do is drill a small hole in the end. Don’t buy high speed
steel stock, just good tool steel. Heat one end till it turns blue,
and you’ll then be able to drill through it easily enough. Or just
use a separating disk and cut a slot into the end, like the slot in a
screw head, only deeper. It works just as well to trap the end of
the wire you’re winding, but you then can slide the whole coil off
the tool without having to extricate the end from the hole. And
when you’re done you’ll have a fine tool for undoubtedly a whole lot
less cash than if you buy the same sort of thing from a jewelry tools
supplier, 'cause all they’ve done is the same as i’ve just
Hi Bill, I have a set of about 12 that I use all of the time. I got
them at Metalliferous in NYC. I live close so I went in person but
would imagine you could order them in their catalog as well.
Bill We make a set of jump ring mandrels and it contains about 14
They start from 1mm to 15mm. There are many Orchidians that use
You can also get these from Dave Arens a fellow Orchidian.
Hi Bill, I used to live in Phoenix, AZ, and bought a set of 16 round
mandrels from Lonnie’s for about $20. They range in size from 1.5mm
to 12mm (1.5-5.5mm in half-increments and then 6-12mm). I don’t
think Lonnie’s has a web site, but their phone # is 602.220.0494.
This is the Phoenix location–I can’t vouch for the folks in Mesa,
but everyone in Phoenix was always most helpful and I miss being
able to shop there now. Hope that helps! I, too, have found these
I made my own in order to do loop-in-loop chain except that I used
brass rod. It’s easier to drill. Kevin Kelly
Bill, I have a similar tool. It came with 6 rods plus a wood handle
with a chuck on the end to hold the rods. I haven’t seen it in a
catalog in a long time. Rio Grande does sell two different lengths of
16 piece mandrel sets, designed to be used with the "JumpRinger"
tool. Joel Schwalb @Joel_Schwalb www.schwalbstudio.com
They're easy to make. I'd bet the original owner of your jump ring
Another esay way to start, if you wish to make them, is to get a set
of “transfer punches” form Harbor Freight Tool, MSC, Enco or whomever.
These are steel rods in graduated sizes that machinists use to
’transfer" a hole location from one part to a mating part. You lay
the part with the hole atop the part you want to mark, drop the
correct sized punch through the hole, and tap the punch with a
hammer. A point machined on the end leaves a nice center punch mark
In any event, a set of maybe 25 punches costs maybe $10 US if you
catch them on sale. I have 2 sets, one is standard US fractional inch
sizes, the other is metric. You might have to anneal one end if you
want to cross drill them, as another poster described, I did not
drill mine. I just stick the end of the wire in between 2 of the
chuck jaws to get it started.
Lots of sizes, and you can, of course, use them for transfer
All, Since I always make my own jump rings, I have devised various
methods for making them. For round rings I have a set of knitting
needles of various diameters. They are typically made of highly
polished anodized aluminum which facilitates their removal.
Oval jump rings are more problematic. Small diameter mandrels are
tapered thus making it impossible to make a large number of uniform
sized rings. I have solved this problem by using miniature brass
tubing which I shape into an oval by hammering or compression in a
vise. Miniature brass tubing is usually available in ordinary
hardware stores or nearly always available in hobby shops. You can
also use strips of sheet metal of most any kind inasmuch as the wire
will not conform to the flat surface. I use a thin abrasive disk to
cut through the rings. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA
I make a set of 23 metric mandrels from 2 mm to 13 mm in 1/2 increments.
I have had a set of Dave’s mandrels, and wouldn’t part with them. If
you ask really nicely, he might sell you the winder that mounts on
your BenchMate holder!
All the best,
I often use wooden dowels instead of metal rods. The coil can then
come straight off the jump ringer winder and into the cutter. They
have to be replaced every so often but it makes for a much faster
Tony Konrath Key West Florida 33040
I solved the jump-ring mandrel problem for myself when I bought a
boxed set of graduated drill bits. I use them as mandrels all the
time, in–what–36? 48?sizes. They don’t have holes or slits, but
they could. If you’re making mass quantities, they’re too short, but
they’re fine for 20 or so.
Oval jump rings are more problematic. Small diameter mandrels are tapered thus making it impossible to make a large number of uniform sized rings. I have solved this problem by using miniature brass tubing which I shape into an oval by hammering or compression in a vise.
When you need smaller oval jump rings, take a piece of brass
wire/rod, roll it somewhat flat in the roling mill and draw it
through a drawplate with the appropriately shaped holes. Then wind up
your jump rings. To get the rings off the mandrel, anneal the rings
on the mandrel, … and here comes the real trick: stretch the
mandrel either by clamping one end in a vise and hold the other end
in a pair of draw tongs and give a quick and firm jerk or stretch it
in the draw bench, and voila, the coil of oval jump rings comes off
like butter. Agreed, you can only use the mandrel once for that size
of jump rings. However I save the used mandrels and draw them down to
the next smaller size, and brass rod is not that expensive.
Niels Lovschal, Bornholm, Denmark
Oval jump-ring mandrels can be made by soldering two pieces of round
brass rod from the hardware store together. If you are using the
jumpringer, drill a hole in one end, to fit over the pin in the
coil holder. I make a groove the length of the rods( not cutting
through the solder joint!) on one side for the blade to follow.
Richard in Denver
Can you give me more info. about these mandrels. Are they metal?
Is there a groove for cutting them? I want to go the best route in
making my own. I use alot of the ovals as well. If I got the
mandrels, do I need a separate cutter?
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Jill, Mandrels for jump rings can literally be any
steel/aluminum rod (round and others) that you can wrap wire around.
I have not tried the burn-away paper method that has been shared
here on Orchid, but intend to try. I’ve had great luck with just
applying (rubbing) a little wax or even bar soap on the rod before
winding the wire. Make sure the end of the mandrel you plan to slip
the whole thing off of is smooth (not notched, or marred. . .it will
hold up the whole thing). Slip the coil of wire off the mandrel and
then wrap with masking tape, leaving a line of coil exposed. Turn
saw blade teeth pointed UP, hold tape-wrapped coil against your
bench pin, and saw the first two or three rings closest to you off,
saw again, etc. Sawing helps to save time by giving you flush
"ends" on each ring. You get so good at it that you can literally
hold the whole tape-wrapped coil in your hand while sawing with the
other (don’t slip). It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
For oval jump rings, use masking tape to tape two mandrels of the
same size together before wrapping with wire to make the jump ring
coil. When you do oval jump rings you have to “unwind” the coil to
a certain extent after slipping off the mandrel to tape the coil to
saw. It tends to make an interesting spiral as is. Don’t seperate
the rings when you do this. You just want to straighten out the
coil so you can saw on the top of the coil. You’ll see what I mean
when you try it. Be sure to anneal before straigtening oval coils.
The son of a jeweler friend of mine made a great little gizmo to
hold and wind the mandrel. It is basically a half-inch drill bit
(would love to find a 3/4 inch bit, but non-existent in my search. .
.at a reasonable price) attached to a rod which slips through a tube
(small pipe) with a handle to wind on the other end. It’s attached
(welded to the pipe) with upside-down “V” legs so that it stands
about 2 1/2 inches above the piece of 2X4 lumber (which it is
attached with screws) that I can put in my woodworkers vice. I
can’t imagine making jump rings any other way at the price I paid
for my jump ring gizmo. You put the mandrel in the drill bit
set-up, add your wire so it stays put in the drill bit, running
parallel to the mandrel, then give it a 90 degree bend down,
carefully wind the wire onto the mandrel, guiding with the hand not
winding. Don’t make the coil too long. . .a cumulative effect makes
it harder to slip off the mandrel. DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC DRILL FOR
THIS. Slip (sometimes you need to encourage) the coil off the
mandrel and tape and saw away.
After you understand the basic concept you (I and others have) can
use a Foredom (held by a jewelers vice parallel to horizon) to hold
20 ga. wire and wrap 28 + ga. You can then make lots of neat stuff
with those SMALL coils. Use with the 20 ga. or slip off and use as
is. Fine silver lends an advantage here.
A picture may be worth a thousand words here and will do for those
interested after our trip back east for our son’s graduation. Right
now a bit busy to photograph the gizmo and e-mail. E-mail me in
mid-June. Will try to help ya out.