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Jig Basics

Instructions/tips on making jewelry with jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry making tools:

Jewelry wire and beads being shaped on a WigJig jewelry tool.

Here is a review of what we recommend as good techniques for making jewelry with a WigJig jewelry tool.

1.  JEWELRY WIRE PREPARATION:  As the first step in your jewelry making project, straighten the Jewelry wire.  You can straighten the jewelry wire before you cut it from the spool, using the spool to help hold one end of the wire or you can cut your wire and make a loop in the end of the wire with the flush cut and hold that loop to straighten your wire.  Start with straight jewelry wire and if you should make a mistake and get a bend in your wire then remove it from the WigJig jewelry tools and straighten it, then put it back on the jewelry making jig. 

2.  PEGS:  Use only those pegs that you need and add pegs as you go.  For most multi-peg patterns, start with two pegs and add a peg after you have completed bending the jewelry wire around the prior peg.  Don't let unused or unnecessary pegs get in your way.

3.  TURNING THE JEWELRY MAKING JIG:  Making consistently shaped jewelry wire components is easier when you push the wire with your fingers as close to the pegs as possible.  The technique that works best for us is to move the WigJig jewelry tool with your non-dominant hand while holding and guiding the jjewelry wire with your index finger on your dominant hand.  Concentrate on keeping the wire straight until you are ready to bend it. 

4.  PUSH - RELEASE:  Making jewelry wire components on a WigJig jewelry tool is a series of push the wire then release all pressure on the wire and check to see if the wire relaxes back to where you want it to be, then push the wire some more if necessary.  With no pressure on the wire it should rest adjacent to the hole for the next peg that you will add to the pattern.  You will need to push the wire slightly beyond where you want it to end up, then allow it to relax back to its final position.  With 1/2 hard jewelry wire (as opposed to soft jewelry wire) you will need to push the wire further before allowing it to relax back to its finished position. 

5.  WIRE FLIPS:  Many jewelry wire components made on a WigJig jewelry tool will lay flatter if you flip them over after making a loop around a peg.  When done correctly most jewelry wire components can be made with only two layers of wire.  Frequently, our instructions for making components will describe where and how to flip the wire over.

6.  STRONG AXIS:  You will need to note the strong axis of your jewelry wire component.  With bracelets and necklaces it is very important that you use the strong axis of the piece in line with the bracelet or necklace.  This will ensure that your jewelry wire component will not pull apart when being worn. 

7.  WIRE HARDENING:  After removing your jewelry wire component from your WigJig jewelry tool, consider hardening the piece to set the design by either squeezing the piece in the jaws of your nylon jaw pliers or where appropriate by hammering the piece with a chasing hammer and anvil or "soft" hammer like a nylon headed hammer or a leather mallet.  The Wire Whacker (Item 3219) can be used for larger pieces.  (Do not hammer jewelry wire where one piece of wire crosses another.)

8.  HAND FINISHING:  Use "hand finishing" with your fingers by eye to make your pieces as similar and consistent as possible.  Make minor adjustments to finish your pieces.


Using a WigJig jewelry making tool showing placement of wire and your hands.





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