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Steel Mandrels


I have steel mandrels of various sizes for making jump ring
coils. Unfortunately they are not notched, nor do they have
hole to put the wire through. Any suggestions on how to secure
the wire and saw the coils. Thanks. RW


I have steel mandrels of various sizes for making jump ring
coils. Unfortunately they are not notched, nor do they have
hole to put the wire through.

Rio Grande sells a set of jump ring mandrels that are notched
and have a hole to feed the wire through. A set of 5 sizes is
$44. SM


Try this idea… Put your mandrel in the chuck of a hand drill
and secure the drill in a vise with the winding handle facing up.
Make a 90-degree bend about a centimetre from the end of the wire
and push this end down between the jaws of the chuck. Works
great! Knitting needles make good mandrels and the come
calibrated in millimeters!


As far as “using steel mandrels of various sizes for making jump
ring coils,” it is not a problem that there isn’t a hole. Of
course you could drill one, but actually it can be a hassel
getting the coil off afterward. Instead place the wire diagonally
across the end of the spindle (mandrels are generally tapered).
Clamp the wire to the spindle with a hand vise and place the
other end of the wire in a bench vise. You are ready to wind the

Saw the rings off with a fine blade as the coil is stabilized
against the bench pin. Good luck and let us know how it turned

Alan Revere
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
San Francisco


In my previous note I neglected to answer your second question -
cutting the coil into jump rings.

If you need only a few rings at a time, you can hand saw them by
stringing the coil on a wood dowel and cutting them with a
jewelers saw. Use a stick lubricant on the coil in order to ease

If your needs are for larger quantities and you have a flex
shaft machine with a #30 hand piece, you can use a tool called
"Jump Ringer". It consists of a hand operated winder with a 1/2"
capacity Jacobs chuck and a power operated cutting system. Most
jewelry tool dealers carry it but if you can’t locate one, let me
know and I’ll give you the names of several.


Thanks you Niels. I have been cutting jump rings for quite some
time with wooden dowels as mandrels. Recently I acquired some
steel mandrels in the perfect sizes. But, since steel is so hard
I was inquiring how to go about drilling holes in the mandrels to
secure the wire when I made my coils. Also, when working with the
wooden dowels, I found that if I notched the end it was much
easier to cut the coils into rings. Thanks for your input. Your
English was fine. I understood what you said and you expressed
yourself very well.

Are you making jump rings for necklaces and bracelets. I’m
interested in your use of them.

Kind regards,

Ray W.


I have steel mandrels of various sizes for making jump ring
coils. Unfortunately they are not notched, nor do they have
hole to put the wire through. Any suggestions on how to secure
the wire and saw the coils.

I use a number of extra long drill bits (Boeing seems to drill
holes in something very deep, and we get the old/broken ones at
the Surplus store). They come in lots of sizes, have a short
cutting area and a long shaft of nearly polished steel, and are
great. I use a vise-grip plyer to clamp the wire into the end of
the flute groove. The plyer also acts as a handle for rotating
the rod while coiling the wire. Perhaps the vise-grip will work
for you too.



Dear RW:

An excellent idea! I have never seen jump ring mandrels made as
you describe and think it would be an excellent idea. Is our
Guesswein rep. reading this?



To secure the wire, drill a small hole at the end of the
mandrel, using a fordom. Use a thin cut-off wheel to sever the
jump rings (be sure to tape the bottom of the jump rings with
masking take before cutting so they won’t fall everwhere) in the
same place along the row.


I use masking tape to secure the coil and then I saw through it.
I’ve also thought about attaching them to a wooden dowel and
using my flex-shaft to cut them but I haven’t tried this yet.

                                      Good luck, 



Thanks for the nice words, Ray. I forgot to mention that I
usually simply drill the hole with a flex shaft drill. If I use
very thin wire I also cut a slit diagonally in the outer end of
the mandrel, this facilitates the removal of the coil afterwards.
I use small pieces of coils of gold wire (0,5 mm and 5 to 10
turns) to solder on to heavier wire for rings and ear sticks. I
also occasionally make a few anchor bracelets etc. However, here
in Denmark the making of “Kings Chains”, “Queens Chains” etc. for
necklaces and bracelets is getting a huge hobby. These chains are
put together of jump rings in various sizes and manners with no
soldering, and you need a lot of jump rings for it. People tend
to be too lazy to cut their own jump rings, so having the right
tools I cut and sell the rings to these people. I’m not a
jeweller by trade myself, but have taken the jewellery making up
about four - five years ago, and now I consider myself a part
time self educated jeweller, using most of my spare time at the
bench and also some of my normal working time (I’m a microscope
salesman) is spent reading and writng about jewellery making -
like right now. I mainly make viking age jewellery, replica made
almost the same way the vikings did. If you are interested in how
these unsoldered chains are made you can contact me off list, I
can then send you some photocopies by mail (I do not have the
possibility to scan them, and they are not my property, so I am
not allowed to publish them on the net). The description will be
in Danish, but the drawings are very instructive.

That’s all from springtime Denmark, where the sun is shining and
the daffodils are showing their pretty yellow faces. Kind regards


And the local hardware store will sell you a set of twist drills
for a WHOLE lot less than that. Good for short coils, like an
inch at a time. Nice ranges of sizes, depending on which type of
drill set you get. I like the numbered drills, from 1-60, which
gives me about all the mandrels I need for normal jump rings.
For some chain links, I might need bigger. For less than that
$44 you can go to Harbor freight, and get a set of drills that
includes all the fracional drill sizes, all the number drill
sizes, and all the letter drill sizes too. 117 drills, If I
recall. These are not only good for drilling holes. You wind a
coil of wire on them by holding the start end of your wire just
sitting in the beginnings of the flutes (winding up onto the
smooth portion of the shank of the drill bit) of the drill,
clamped down with a hand vise or for small ones, just a pair of
pliers. I’m usually doing only a few rings, like a couple dozen
of a size, at a time, coils of an inch or less, so I usually
just use fingers to wrap the wire around the mandrel. You can
"unscrew" the drill bit from the coil of wire to remove it if you
want to saw it appart conventionally, or you can do as I do, cut
the coil right on the drill bit with a super thin seperating
disk. These disks are the ones available down to a .006"
thickness. The .010" thickness works too, and is a little
harder to break. These things cut a coil apart in seconds. Much
faster than sawing by hand. I’d have to say Ray Grossmans’s
"jump ringer" is just as fast and a bit more accurate as to
centering the cut, but unfortunately his jig won’t work so well
with a drill bit as the mandrel… By the way, repeated use
of the bit with these disks does eventually tend to ding up the
shank of the bit with longitudinal grooves. But I’ve never yet
had a bit abused like this actually break when drilling with it,
and you can groove it up quite a bit before it starts to actually
affect the rings you wind on it. When it finally gets trashed
too far, drill bits are cheap and easy to replace…

for longer mandrels, real cheap, you can also get, from machine
tool suppliers like Enco or MSC o probably harbor freight, a set
of “transfer punches”. These are about 6 inches long, and sold
in sets (usually fractional inch sizes from about 1/8 inch to a
half inch, or something similar) similar to drill bits, but have
no flutes, just a center punch tip on one end. They are
intended to be used for transfering the location of a hole in one
piece of metal to another, by putting the two pieces together,
setting the punch that matches the already drilled hole into it,
and tapping it with a hammer, whence it punches that location
into the undrilled piece of metal underneath, making it easy to
then drill mating holes. Great for the machinists. But for us,
an easy and cheap way to get a set, with stand, of graduated size
steel mandrels. They are often sold as really cheap taiwanese or
chinese imports, sometimes for less than ten dollars the set…

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe


Ray, another way to do your jump rings is with a brass rod for
rounds, and two soldered together for ovals. Drill a hole in the
middle and make a “T” bar. Insert the wire in the hole and twist
the “T” to get the rings.

Hope this helps.



Just a note to reiterate something already mentioned. The “Jump
Ringer” tool is the way to go for making large quantities of
rings. (It works for small quantities as well.) The tool is a
little tricky to master (what isn’t?) but when used properly it
saves a ton of time, especially on cutting the coil into rings. I
use one when teaching chain-making to a group, where we need
lots of links. It came with two lengths of spindles in an
assortment of diameters in both round and oval cross sections. It
has both 3" and 15" spindles. The math is easy. If you are using
wire that is 0.5 mm (24 ga.) to make the links, a 15" mandrel
will yield over 700 jump rings. The cutting gizmo which attaches
to your flex shaft, allows you to cut them all in about 15
seconds!!! No kidding.

Alan Revere
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
San Francisco


I have tried one of these Jump Ring machines and found it left
burs. How do you prevent this? Thanks, Karen


I made my mandrels out of stainless steel and drill a hole
through one end And used a fly cutter on a milling machine to cut
the notch.

It works fine But coiling the wire by hand is the problem
(keeping it tight)