My problem is that I can't solder the jump rings closed because
it will ruin the other elements and the rings want to open when I
put any stress on the piece at all. The only solution I could
come up with was a heavier gauge jump ring but this would change
the looks of the piece. Let me know if you have any other
You didn’t say what kind (material & shape) & guage wire you’re
using for jump rings. Assuming it’s round wire,the wire could be
work hardened befo re winding into coils to make the rings from.
Rings made from hardened wire resist opening much better than those
made from dead soft or half hard wire. Here’s a method to work
harden any wire.
Clamp 1 end of the wire in a vise or twist it around a secure
Clamp a hook in the chuck of a portable electric drill (a
manual one will work, but it takes lots longer).
Secure the other end of the wire to the hook in the drill.
Draw the wire taut with the drill.
While holding the wire taut, turn on the drill.
Let the drill tun, twisting the wire about it’s own axis, until
the wire breaks, usually at one of the ends.
The wire is now as hard.
Coils wound from hardened wire tend to open up (become a larger
after winding. However, all coils wound on the same mandrel from
the same wire supply will be the same size. If the size of the jump
ring is critical, a little experimentation will help determine the
size mandrel t o wind the coils on to acheive a given size. If
you’re making coils of a non-ferous wire shape (other than round)
that can’t be twisted, The coils may be heat hardened. Place the
coils in an oven or kiln at about 600F for about an hour. Turn the
oven/kiln off & leave the coils there until cool enough to handle.
While I'm asking questions, does anyone know of a good way to
make jump rings from square wire without having the wire twist as
you wrap it? I seem to be able to get around my dowel about 2 or
3 times before it starts to twist.
The following describes making & using a tool to prevent other
than round wire from twisting when winding it into coils. The size
of the tool & the material it’s made from can be changed to suit
the material at hand. However, these sizes have worked
satisfactorily in the past.
Cut aprox 4 inches from the end of a flat wooden paint stirring
paddle Any suitable piece of wood aprox 1 1/2 in wide & 1/4 in
thick will work.
Draw a line the long way in the center of the 4 inch piece.
Mark the centerline 1/4 inch from each end.
Place the 4 inch piece on top of the remainder of the paint
paddle so the cut ends & both sides are flush. If making the tool
from a piece of wood, the 2nd piece of wood should be about 8
inches long to afford a handle.
Tape (masking tape) the two pieces together. Leave the marks
Drill a 3/16 inch hole through both pieces where the top piece
Insert a suitably sized round head machine screw (eg. 8-32 X
1in) in each hole.
Secure the screw with a matching wing nut. A flat washer under
each wi ng nut may aid adjustment.
Loosen both wing nuts enough to allow the wire to pass between
the woo d.
Insert the wire from the handle to the front, to the right of
one screw & left of the other, so about 1 inch protrudes from the
front. Insert the wire so the side that is to be on the inside of
the coil is on the bottom of the tool.
Tighten the screws just enough to put a slight drag on the wire
when it’s pulled. The front screw should be tighter than the back.
Some adjustment may be required when coil wrapping begins & after
the wire has worn a groove in the wood.
Attach the end of the proturding wire to the mandrel & beging
wrapping the coil. Resting the end of the tool rest against the
newly wound coil will aid in guiding the wire onto the mandrel. The
tool can be turned like a screwdriver to guide the wire on to the
mandrel in the correct orientation.
Contact me off list if you’ve got any questions.