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.
Current Jewelry Making Technique:
The steps involved in making a wire component on one of our WigJig tools are relatively consistent regardless of the piece you are making. They are simply 1. cut a piece of wire the appropriate length, 2. make a loop in one end of this wire, 3. straighten the wire. 4. wrap the wire around the pattern of pegs on your jig, 5. remove the wire from your jig and cut the excess wire then close the final loop, and 6. finish the piece and set the design by hardening/flattening the piece. The technique that we will discuss this week is step 6, finishing the piece.
After you remove a wire component made on one of our WigJig tools and cut the excess wire, you will find that the piece is not quite ready for prime time. The piece will be slightly three dimensional. The next step is to flatten the piece. This step is necessary because it is very difficult to push the wire all the way down while you are wrapping it around the pegs on your jig. In fact, with your fingers alone, it is almost impossible to make a piece that will come off your jig and be perfectly flat. What is required is a tool to help you flatten the wire component. The tool that we recommend is nylon jaw pliers.
After removing a wire component from one of our WigJig tools and cutting the excess wire, we always flatten the wire component by squeezing it in the jaws of our nylon jaw pliers. The leverage provided by the jaws of the pliers allows you to flatten the wire, where your fingers alone could not. Unfortunately, for us this is as automatic as breathing out after you breathe in. For this reason, sometimes in our instructions we fail to mention this requirement. Please know that for almost every wire component, this step is necessary even if we don't mention it in our instructions. The process is very simple, place the wire component in the jaws of your nylon jaw pliers and squeeze firmly with the wire held in several different orientations in the jaws of your pliers. You will notice that the piece will become flatter and stiffer.
With some pieces a little more finishing will be required. After removing the wire from your nylon jaw pliers you may need to "hand finish" your piece. This means that you view the piece and manipulate it by hand so that it is positioned properly. Sometimes you may need to use your pliers to help you with hand finishing. The pliers can help you to grip a loop of wire and manipulate it, where your fingers alone would not be strong enough. The proper way to perform hand finishing with your pliers is to insert your round nose into the loop as far as they will go, then grip lightly with the pliers, pushing or pulling the loop into position. Step Jaw Pliers may also be used and will generally result in fewer marks on your wire. You are done with the hand finishing when the piece appears the way you want it to.