To make big links and clasps you’ll need two things: big wire and big tools! The jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers are your go-to tool for shaping this lovely hook clasp, which is accented with a simple lined texture made with a small chisel hammer. Follow the instructions outlined below, and in 12 steps you’ll have a beautiful clasp to use in your next jewelry design.
Note: Naturally, the copper hook shown may also be made using sterling or fine silver, or brass wire. I don’t recommend using colored craft wire because the planishing process will split the colorant and cause it to chip off.
Wire flush-cutters suitable for cutting up to 12-gauge wire
Ruler and/or measuring tape
Small bench block
12-gauge round copper wire: 4 inches
Step 1: Flush-cut one piece of 12-gauge round wire about 4 inches long:
Step 2: Hammer the ends to thin them down a bit using a planishing hammer:
Step 3: With both ends of the wire hammered down slightly, the wire piece is now ready to shape into a hook:
Step 4: Place one end of the wire near the tips of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers. Gripping the wire firmly, bend it around to create a tiny loop. Tip: If this is difficult using these pliers, switch to the classic round-nose pliers and the wire should bend more easily:
Step 5: To tighten the loop further, grasp it in the classic chain-nose pliers and squeeze gently until it closes:
Step 6: Turn the wire over with the tiny loop facing you. Place the wire in the very back of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers and hold it firmly:
Step 7: In one smooth motion, bend the wire up and over until the tiny loop almost touches the wire:
Step 8: With the hook facing you, place the opposite end of the wire in the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers, about one-quarter to one-third of the way from the tips:
Step 9: In one smooth motion, bend the wire up and over until the wire end touches itself:
Step 10: Place the large rounded area of the hook on a small bench block and hammer this area using a planishing hammer. Take your time with this, ensuring that the planished area of the wire tapers smoothly into the rounded area of the wire. Tip: This hammering may cause the hook to open up significantly. If this happens, place the hook on the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers again and firmly press it back into shape:
Step 11: Use the smallest chisel end of a Wubbers chisel hammer to texture the rounded, flattened area of the wire. Avoid texturing any other areas of the hook:
Step 12: Here is the finished jumbo wire hook, prior to being artificially aged and darkened with liver of sulfur. If there are any rough edges, they can be filed using jeweler’s files or an inexpensive nail file:
Option: The finished hook as pictured at the top of this post was darkened with a hot solution of liver of sulfur, and then polished with 0000 steel wool from the hardware store. Instructions for this process are provided in all of my books and instructional DVDs.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! The hook clasp is fun and easy to make, and can be quite addictive. Have fun with it...