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Separating Discs

I am interested in using separating discs to cut jump rings and I’m
hoping someone out there can help me. Rio sells two sizes, .015" and
.023".The thinner one costs three times as much as the thicker one.
Does anyone know if the .023" disc would work with jump rings? Also,
do I need to make a jig to hold the jump rings to cut them? I"d like
to be sure to keep my fingers while cutting them! Any help would be


Dear Jay, I was taught to cut jump rings with a separating disc at a
class I took. I think you need the thinner disc for the best results.
I find it an awkward way to cut them this way, and scary too. I held
them on a wooden dowel and cut off a few at a time, holding everything
staedy against a bench pin. I use a saw at home. Any one have a better
way (besides that wonderful looking jump ring cutting jig in Rio
Grande’s catalog)?

Gail Middleton
Unique Studio
Brooklyn, NY

Sliding the jump rings onto a wooden dowel would make it easy to hold
them. David Arens, who frequently posts to the Forum, makes a jump
ring coil cutter. I have one, and everyone in my studio borrows it. It
uses a circular saw blade inside a protective shield and a V block
clamp to hold the jump ring coil. Zip, and the whole coil is cut!

Rick Hamilton

Gold and Platinumsmithing,
CAD/CAM and modelmaking,
Jewelry Photography…

Jay You can use the thicker seperating disc it just leaves a larger
gap to close up in the jump ring. If this is not a problem for you
then use the less expensive seperating disc. You can also use a saw
blade to cut the rings they come much smaller than any seperating
disc. As to the jig to make them I have several steel rods of various
diameter that I use. You drill a hole in them and insert the wire
using your flex shaft or any other rotary device you wind up the wire
on the rod. It will give you consistent sized jump rings. Then just
cut along the length of the rod to free them. Thomas

One solution to the expense of thin separating disks is to make your
own. I use the .015 disks and place them on a mandrel. Then I hold a
broken diamond.(one I keep for just this purpose) securely in a pair
of pliers. Now I spin the disk and use the sharp edge of the diamond
to shape the disk. This way I thin down the disk to whatever thickness
I need. For jump rings I would suggest a jump ring cutter designed
just for that (I bought mine from a fellow orchid subscriber that
manufactures them,can’t remember the name:{ but I am sure it will pop
up). Even though I only use mine occasionally it is just the tool for
cutting them. Separating disks tend to leave a dust contamination on
the jump ring that can inhibit solder flow if they are not cleaned
before soldering. Also the jump ring tool comes with a mandrel to hold
the jump ring coil. Frank Goss

well Jay I do use cut Off wheels to cut jump the job most
people use the jump ringer ,but for me it is time consuming,unless you
are making a lot of jump rings which we do,but there are certain
pieces that need a specific size ,specific thickness,so about a coil
(1")long ,I would cut with the cut off wheel .but the thickness I
use…009 SIZE is a lot thinner than what your thinner size is,it is a
lot more money,but there is no equal to it,it leaves a very thin curf
behind so you can match the 2 sides of the ring much better. Absolute
must pair of goggles,a pair of round nose pliers to hold the coil
in…with out damaging the wire…and practice the direction and the
speed of the cut , it will catch the coil in the direction of the wheel
turning ,you need to brace your handpeice arm quite rigid ,but be a
able to move it out of the way ,on a momentary demand,you start with
the rings closest to you ,not furthest,and as you cut through a few at
a time you stop the cutting for a moment and let go of the cut
rings,and back to holding the coil again with the pliers and cut a few
more …a little demanding,but an extreme speed oriented technique
,expect to break a few wheels ,and maybe hit by few,in the course of
the working day ,just another bug. good luck,fingers and eyes most
important. Hratch Babikian ATELIER BABIKIAN P.O. Box 54147 Philadelphia,
PA 19015 USA 215 465 9351


I routinely cut jump rings with seperating discs. But I usually use
neither of the two sizes you mention. While your .015 disk will work,
it’s not exactly a thin cut. You can also get even thinner ones.
SWEST, for one, carries them. I’ve got a box of discs in both .009",
and .006". They are fragile, and need to be used with care. Keep the
speed up, and use a little bur life or other lube on the disk. The
.006 disc cuts fast and clean, with a cut that compares nicely to
about a 6/0 sawblade. With platinum, in particular, I find these
quite a time and effort saver, especially as regards just the hassle
of trying to hold a small coil of rings for cutting manually with a
saw. With the disks, I can cut them directly off the mandrel I wound
them on. I usually wind the coils just on the shanks of twist drills,
which are easily replaced when the shanks start to get too grooved up
from cutting jump rings…

hope this helps.

Peter Rowe

G’day Thomas; Yes you can use both sizes, but the thinner ones will
be better because they leave a smaller gap, but you can still make
the bigger cuts join easily enough. With care, the discs don’t break
all the time.

    do I need to make a jig to hold the jump rings to cut them?  

Ideally you could use the same mandrel over and over again, using the
little slot when you cut the first rings. I personally prefer to
make the ring spiral on a thin wooden mandrel; you can buy wooden
dowel in many sizes down to 3mm and then there are those bamboo shish
kebab sticks and skewers for smaller sizes. Using the cut-off discs
is a lot easier than the old fashioned method of sawing - and breaking
the saw all the time when it jams! Another way is to simply use fine
cutting pliers and use a tiny sanding disc to trim up the two ends of
the ring. Doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds when you get
stuck into it! cheers – John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua
Nelson NZ

Tape the coil to a narrow board with masking tape by wrapping the
tape around the coil & board. It helps if there’s a vee cut in the
board to help hold the coil.

  1. Place one end of the coil flush with the end of the board before
    wrapping with tape.

  2. Wrap about the 1st inch with tape.

  3. Position the taped end of the board close to the edge of the work

  4. Cut through the top side of the tape & coil. Be careful not to cut
    the bottom of the links.

  5. When it’s inconvenient to cut the tops without striking the bottom
    of the coil, untape & reposition the coil to the edge of the board.

  6. Retape & continue cutting.

If you’ve just a few links to make, using a ‘Flush Cutting’ wire
cutter can be used.

Most flush cutters only cut flush on 1 side of a cut. The other side
is sharp. To use this type of flush cutter, make 2 cuts. The 1st cut
one end flush, then turn the cutter over so the 2nd cuts the remaining
end flush.

There are flush cutters available that’ll cut both sides flush with
one cut. If there are lots of links to cut, but not enough to justify
a mechanical cutter, this might be the way to go.


I also prefer the .009 (though they do make a .006). The process I
use is very simple, and so are the tools.

I have been using this process for about 10 years now when cutting
lots of rings for use with woven bracelet and chainmaile applications.

  1. Find a metal dowel a couple inches long that is slightly smaller
    than the ID of the ring you want to make. I find that a Nails come in
    about as many different diameters as I could want, they are easy to
    find, and cost practically nothing.

  2. Use a thicker cut-off wheel to cut a notch across the end of the
    dowel that is just the size of the wire you want to use. If using a
    Nail, cut off the head first.

  3. Place the uncut end of the dowel into a standard variable speed
    drill set on low. Electric drills come to speed and maintain a slower
    speed over your handpiece. You can use your handpiece, but watch out,
    if the handpiece spins to quickly you are going to have a mess and may
    even hurt yourself.

  4. Place an end of your wire into the slot in the exposed end of the

  5. Begin the spinning of the dowel, and allow the metal to fall into
    a single coil pattern down the length of the dowel. You are basically
    making a spring here.

  6. Remove the dowel from the drill.

  7. Snip the excess length of wire close to the dowel. The metal will
    spring slightly away from the dowel, this is why we use an undersize

  8. Place a thin (.009) cutoff wheel in your flexshaft/dremel.

  9. Hold the dowel in either a leather glove or piece of leather (it
    is going to het hot from friction).

  10. While holding the dowel in one hand, begin cutting a straight
    line thru the coil, down the length of the dowel. Leaving the dowel
    in while cutting the coil provides rigidity and stability during the

  11. After cutting thru about 10 rings or so, dump those rings off the
    dowel into a pile.

  12. Proceed cutting 10 rings at a time till you have reached the end
    of your coil.

  13. After approximately 2000 rings you may want to make a new dowel.

Dear Dave, Thanks for your description of an easier and safer way to
cut jump rings. Cutting them is much faster with the discs, but I
always felt that it wasn’t worth cutiing my fingers to do it.

Gail Middleton
Unique Studio
Brooklyn, NY

Dear Jay; Apparently there are many different suggestions offered on
Orchid for cutting jump rings, so I thought I would add my technic
for what it’s worth. (I like it) I use the thinnest separating discs
available, .009 in. I obtain these from a dental supply co., but they
are rather expensive, particularly if you break them frequently. (I
believe Peter Rowe mentioned awhile back using even thinner ones) The
advantage of using the thinnest ones is to keep the gap created in
separating the rings as small as possible so that the rings are close
to being round when soldered.

I have obtained brass tubing of several different diameters and use
about a 7 inch length as a dowel. At one end I create a slot with a
thicker disk about 1.5-2 inches long. I wind the wire for the rings
on the other end using any of several winding devices, and I then
slide the coil created down to the slotted end, called the bottom.

Holding the bottom edge of the tube against the top of the bench with
the top tilted slightly towards me, I cut thru the coil, and rather
rapidly obtain my desired rings. This is described for a right handed
person. Since the disc is rotating clockwise, there is no danger of
the rotating disc riding up and cutting one’s fingers. It is important
to get a finger rest with the right thumb against the tube, so that
everything is steady and breakage will be minimized. HTH JZ Dule

One more tip on cutting coils with separating discs-Wrap the coil
with masking tape. The tape holds the coil steady, and prevents
individual coils from jumping off once they are cut.

I use a saw for most jump rings if they will mearly get closed and
not soldered. If I plan to fuse them closed the easiest way is to use
a pair of very sharp scissors. By very sharp. I mean the new imported
ones from various eastern countries. One in particular is the one
recommended for cooking by Joyce Chen who teaches oriental cooking and
has written several books on that subject. The cutting edge is ground
to an extremely sharp angle rather than the flat angle of most shears
for cloth. Cuts through jump rings like butter, is fast and leaves a
fairly clean edge. Just don’t try to cut too many at a time.