Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I'm learning about jump rings

Note:  Since writing this to post, I've since solved my "dilemma"  for this particular necklace.  But I'll face this over and again, so I'd still like to post this and see what you have to say.  My posting showing the completed necklace will follow tomorrow  so you can see how I solved my problem.  I can imagine many solutions though, so I'm eager to hear your thoughts on the possibilities!  --Sharyl 

Thing #1:  Jump Rings...

I've finished all the sections of my purple necklace and just need copper jump rings (or something) to piece the sections together.  I had made some for another necklace I recently completed, but they weren't turning out so well this time.   (Can wire cutter blades dull or the tension go astray?  I can barely cut through the wire, and it's the same wire I used  before.)  

So I stopped work on the necklace briefly and practiced just making jump rings.  Since I've been working with copper a lot lately, I turned to some silver-plated copper and aqua-plated copper to play around. 

I turned these into a quick pair of earrings I wouldn't attempt to sell to anyone else due to the quality, but will keep for myself rather than toss.  (And yes, how did you know I have them on right now?)

What did I learn from this experiment?   What I concluded was:

1) I shouldn't make jump rings on my own with wire cutters.   The cuts don't come out even.

2) Many of the ones for sale don't have even cuts either.  Maybe I SHOULD make my own.

3)  To REALLY do it right, seems to require not just wirecutters, but either:
         a) a saw-- (I don't think so!  I watched a video of a woman wearing goggles but sawing tiny jump rings with a big saw right next to her fingers and I'm thinking, where's the safety lesson in this?!   I'll pass.  I grew up with very safety-conscious parents--no playing with fire or sharp objects!)

        b) special equipment--This requires a steel mandrel, power drill or other machine to turn the mandrel, a "jumpringer" or other saw-like device for cutting, and a tumbler to harden the wire.  (I first learned about tumblers from Lori Anderson, and now I see them mentioned everywhere!)  There are helpful videos and tutorials on using "jumpringers."  It costs more than I can afford at the moment, but I'd love to have one.  It looks like this is the best way to get a decent jump ring!   

Making Jumprings, Chainmaille by MBOI

(Technically, the "jumpringer" is still a saw, but the blades are small and hidden.  I like that in a saw!)

4) Or you can buy some really nice handmade jump rings on Etsy from people who already have the equipment and know what they are least until you become one of those people.  

I've seen prices from pennies to over a $1.00 per piece for copper jump rings.  I'm not looking for any fancy design work here, but the quality of the copper and the work varies quite at bit.  However, cool as they are, as much as I would like to have them, as much as they are worth it, I know I won't be selling a necklace with $50 worth of jump rings in them in the near future...really sorry to say.  

So, it seems like such a simple thing, but darn it, I'm struggling with a "JUMP RING DILEMMA!"   

Thing #2:  Substitutes for Jump rings...

I was so baffled by the "JUMP RING DILEMMA," I attempted to find creative alternative.   I could swear I had seen something similar in a book once--so I tried this, admittedly "quick and dirty" version to see if it would work.  

I can tell you now, this does not work!  If you could just leave it laying on the table, it MIGHT be okay.  Maybe.  Otherwise, multiple problems...

The section pieces won't stay in their proper places on the connector wires, so I would need to better secure each area.  And, with the slightest movement,...

UGH!...we have a complete tangle.   I don't know about anyone else, but when I get a major multiple tangle going, I have to hand it to my husband!   So that's no good.

I also tried to use olive green and eggplant ribbons to link pieces too, given that fiber is so popular these days, but it just didn't look or behave right on even one connection.  Given the quantity of links I have, it would have been a nightmare.

Feedback Please!  

So, I'm still working on the purple necklace.  Done but for linking sections together!   If you have suggestions, please let me know!   It looks like a skeleton right now!

Anyone care to share their experiences with jump rings?  
  • If you make them, what tools or equipment do you use?  
  • If you purchase jump rings, do you have a favorite source?  (I'm thinking... secretly hoping... that maybe some of these just look not-so-great because the size is so enlarged on the screen?   Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill and just need to buy some already?!   Or is it a new set of wire cutters I need?)   
  • What have you used other than a jump ring or just basic twisted wire to connect links?   Have you seen photos of this done in some creative way that still allows movement?   (If you have a link to your site or another site you think would be helpful to include, please do!)
Thanks for your feedback, and good wishes for whatever you are working on this week!


P.S.  Were you thinking the same thing I was when I followed "Thing #1" with "Thing #2?"   If so, here's a fun posting I found regarding "Thing 1" and "Thing 2"  on the blog,  "Zakka Life."   Hope you enjoy!

So, again, the purple necklace has been completed.  Photos next time!  (What's YOUR guess--Did I use use jump rings or a substitute?!)

Please note:  In researching jump rings, I saw the term spelled both "jump ring" and "jumpring."  I've tried to be consistent and use "jump ring."  However, when I was quoting someone who used "jumpring" or came across the equipment called a "Jumpringer," I used the spelling as I found it on the website.   


G.Dowell said...

Hi Sharyl,

Yes, jump rings can be a dilemma. I've made my own just because sometimes I can not find exactly what I want online. Wire cutters will go dull. I have one for thick wire and a separate pair for my beading wire.

When I make jump rings, I use different sizes of wooden dowel rods to shape my wire. I then use a jeweler's saw to saw them apart. A jeweler's saw leaves a nice flush cut.

Sharyl said...

Thanks, Gayle, this answers so many of my questions! Interesting to hear you keep 2 pair of wire cutters--sounds like something I need to do!
Can these be sharpened or is it hopeless? (Could be the cost of sharpening is not worth it. I've never tried to pursue that.)

Beadbug said...

I make my own and would be happy to send you some of what ever you need. I have a jump ringer and it works great. Going through as many jumpmrings as I do it's not cost effective not to make my own.

Sharyl said...

Thank you, that's a most generous offer! I've finished this necklace, but I would like to talk to you more about your jumpringer! I was wondering if it would pay for itself eventually, and it sounds like it does! I'll chat with you more through email or your Etsy shop if that's okay. Thanks again!