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Dictionary: H

Hammer - Chasing

chasing hammer jewelry tool
A chasing hammer is made with a very smooth, flat face used for hardening and flattening wire.  The smooth flat face minimizes marks on the wire while hammering. We think that the best hammers have a slightly rounded face as the rounded face leaves fewer marks on jewelry wire.

View chasing hammers here.


Hank of beads

A hank is defined as 12 strands of beads with each strand being about 20 inches long.  Seed beads are frequently sold in quantities defined by the hank such as one hank, or 1/2 hank of beads.


Hardening jewelry wire using the nylon jaw pliers jewelry tool.

Hardening is the process of making a component made out of jewelry wire more stiff and permanent.  Soft jewelry wire is easy to bend and components made out of soft jewlery wire could be bent out of shape accidentally without hardening.  With hardening, components made out of jewelry wire are more permanent and less likely to be bent out of shape.  This can be accomplished in a variety of ways including hammering and work hardening.  View our free instructions on how to harden jewelry wire by selecting here.

View our wire hardeners here.


Hardness of jewelry wireJewelry wire hardness is a property of the wire that identifies how easy or hard it is to bend the wire.  Soft wire is very easy to bend, while hard wire is stiff, springy and harder to bend.

High quality jewelry wire (such as gold-filled and silver) can be made in a variety of hardnesses.  Hard wire is the least easy to bend, and is not used for many jewelry making projects because of this.  More commonly used hardnesses for jewelry-making include soft and half-hard wire.  Soft jewelry wire is recommended for making rounded jewelry wire components.  Half-hard wire is recommended for making angular jewelry wire components. 

Hardness - Half-Hard

half-hard jewelry wireHigh quality jewelry wire can be made in a variety of hardness from dead soft to fully hardened.  In the middle of this range is a wire hardness called half hard.  This wire is stiffer and more springy than dead soft, but not as stiff and springy as fully hardened wire.  In general, only gold, gold-filled, sterling silver, fine silver, copper or brass jewelry wire can be purchased with a hardness of half-hard. Frequently manufacture of half-hard jewelry wire requires and additional step in the manufacturing process and for this reason, half-hard jewelry wire is often more expensive than soft jewelry wire.  Half hard jewelry wire is not recommended for making spirals and usually works better for making angular jewelry wire components and not as well for making rounded jewelry wire components like ear wires or hoops.

Please select here to view our selection of jewelry wire.

Head Pin

head pin jewelry making findingA head pin jewelry making finding is a metal pin with a flat head on one end and straight wire on the other end.  A good way to describe a head pin is to say it is like a straight pin used in sewing, but without the sharp point.  Head pins are used to make bead dangles and to attach beads to wire loops.  Head pins are often defined by their length and by the gauge of jewelry wire used to make the straight wire portion of the head pin jewelry making finding.

View our selection of head pin jewelry making findings here.


Hemostat jewelry tool
A hemostat is a medical tool that has an application for jewelry-making.  It is a clamp that is easy to close and lock into place with one hand.  Hemostats are frequently used to hold the end of thread or bead stringing wire while you are adding beads to a necklace or bracelet. 

View our selection of hemostat jewelry tools here.


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