Past Jewelry Making Techniques:
We maintain a techniques web page that provides links to the discussion of techniques in our prior newsletters. You can visit this web page here. Follow the links on that page to the discussion of the technique in that newsletter.
Jewelry Making Technique:
This weeks jewelry making technique is a new page of instructions on how to avoid marking jewelry wire. This is a recurring topic, because it is one that impacts almost all of us. First, every time you use your round nose pliers they will mark the wire on both the inside and the outside of the loop(underlining for emphasis). When making wrapped loops and eye loops,this often isn't an issue since the component you are connecting with the wrapped loop will hide the marks on the outside of the loop. By contrast, when you are making earring, bracelet or necklace components on one of our WigJig jewelry making tools the marks left by your round nose pliers on the outside of the loop are definitely an issue. Those marks detract from the appearance of the finished jewelry piece.
Given the above introduction to frame the problem, the question is how do you avoid leaving tool marks on wire components made on one of our WigJig tools. The answer to this question is relatively simple -- use either Step Jaw Pliers, shown above-right, or round-flat pliers shown above-left to make your initial loops. Please note that both of these pliers have one rounded jaw for making loops and one flat jaw. It is vital that the pliers have the flat jaw, because it is this flat jaw that spreads the gripping force to eliminate the marks on the outside of the loop. Please note that some vendors sell pliers with a concave jaw instead of the flat jaw. We suggest that you avoid those pliers as they leave marks on the wire at the edge of the concave jaw.
The next suggestion that we can offer is to never use your round nose pliers for anything but making a loop. Do not use round nose pliers for gripping your wire. Chain nose or bent chain nose pliers with flat smooth jaws are what we use to grip and hold wire. The flat smooth jaws of these pliers spread the gripping force to minimize tool marks. In addition, when gripping wire in your bent chain nose pliers, grip the wire firmly so that it doesn't slip. Frequently tool marks happen when the wire slips while in the grip of one of your tools.
Sometimes tool marks happen when you are trying to close a loop that is slightly open. This can happen after opening and closing a loop to connect two wire components. There is a tool that you can use to avoid tool marks when closing a loop. This tool is called Bent Closing Pliers or Loop Closing Pliers. These pliers have a groove carved in the jaw and this groove is used to hold the wire so that it won't slip while you gently squeeze the gap in a loop closed.
Finally, many beginners start making jewelry with inexpensive tools. This is a natural choice as one wants to learn what is important before spending more money. Some of these inexpensive tools aren't made well and may have sharp edges on the chain nose or bent chain nose pliers. The solution to this is relatively easy and inexpensive -- use a file, to smooth the edges of our chain nose and bent chain nose pliers. The file can be a simple nail file with a fine grain, or it can be a set of jeweler's files. Both will work well. This isn't major surgery, it is merely rounding the edges so that they feel smooth and aren't raised above the rest of the jaw of the pliers.
To view more instructions on how to reduce the tool marks on your jewelry wire please select here. To view our Step Jaw Pliers in our Internet store, please select the picture above top-right. To view our round flat pliers, please select the picture above-left. To view our bent closing pliers select the picture above-right.
Nostalgia Corner -- Some of our favorite jewelry making designs:
We are adding a new feature to our newsletter. We call it Nostalgia Corner because we are revisiting past designs. This weeks featured design in our Nostalgia Corner is the design for the square earrings shown at left. We have added a new design to the Square Earrings. The new design is called Small Square Earrings and is a square with sides of about 1/2" each. To view our instructions for making our square earrings select the picture at left. To view our Small Square Earrings jewelry making pattern, select here. This is a very simple, easy to make design that seems to be popular. This is an earring that you can sell for around $10 and still make money.