Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FREE Tutorial: Jumbo Hook Clasp!

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.
Tools
Wire flush-cutters suitable for cutting up to 12-gauge wire
Ruler and/or measuring tape
Planishing hammer
Small bench block
Materials
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...
Happy wrapping,

Friday, August 22, 2014

FREE Tutorial: Eyeglass Suspender

This jewelry component is practical as well as pretty: a double-looped wire link that holds your reading glasses in place while you work. You could suspend other items too, whether they’re useful or purely decorative. Try using a suspender to hang a name badge, keys, a jewelry pendant, or anything that needs to be kept handy.
Tools
Wire flush-cutters suitable for cutting up to 12-gauge wire
Ruler and/or measuring tape
Small steel bench block
Chasing hammer
Indelible pen
Materials
12-gauge dead-soft round wire: one foot
16-gauge dead-soft round wire: six inches

Step 1: Measure and flush-cut a one-foot length of 12-gauge wire. I used copper wire in the sample, but you can use sterling silver, brass, or any other type of wire you choose with the exception of colored craft wire. (Forging craft wire with a hammer will cause the colorant to split and flake off.) Find the halfway point and mark it with an indelible pen:
Step 2: Grasp the wire at the halfway mark in the very back of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers:
Step 3: Bend one end of the wire up and one down, pressing the wire firmly against the tool as pictured:
Step 4: Continue bending the wire all the way around the tool as shown:
Step 5: Place the bottom jaw of the tool in the top loop:
Step 6: Bend the wire up and around the tool until both wires are pointing straight up:
Step 7: Remove the tool from the wire. Flip the wire over, and insert the bottom jaw into the top loop:
Step 8: Continue wrapping this wire around until each wire end points in the opposite direction, as pictured:
Step 9: Remove the wire from the tool. This is how it should look at this point; if your sample looks different, retrace your steps and try to redo your link until it resembles the one pictured:
Step 10: Use a chasing hammer to lightly forge each end of the straight wire. Your objective is to slightly flatten the wire, making it easier to bend during the next step:
Step 11: Use round-nose pliers to begin a spiral in each end of the wire:
Step 12: Tighten the baby spiral by pressing it firmly with chain-nose pliers:
Step 13: Place the spiral in the back of the chain-nose pliers and continue spiraling in the wire. Bend the wire in small increments to avoid distorting it:
Step 14: As you spiral the wire in toward the center of the link, allow the spiral to open up a bit:
Step 15: It may be necessary to shift the position of your tool on the wire as you get closer to the double loops in the center of the wire link:
Step 16: Repeat steps 12-15 with the second length of straight wire, and spiral in both ends until they meet at the center of the link as shown:
Step 17: Use a chasing hammer to forge (slightly flatten) the two wire loops:
Step 18: Use a small chisel texturing hammer (or any texturing tool of your choice) to add surface texture to the two flattened loops. Avoid hammering other areas of the link for now:
Step 19: Use a chasing hammer to forge (slightly flatten) the two wire spirals. Take care to only hammer the outer edges of each spiral:
Step 20: Texture the flattened areas of each spiral using a texturing hammer or other tool of your choice:
Step 21: Flush-cut a six-inch length of 16-gauge round wire and bend it in half using flat-nose pliers:
Step 22: Insert one end of this wire through the link and out one of the loops as shown:
Step 23: Bend the wire all the way around and pull it tight:
Step 24: Bend the wire end as needed to insert it down through the loop as pictured:
Step 25: Come back up through the opposite loop:
Step 26: Continue wrapping both wire ends around the center of the link as pictured, making sure that you use both wires equally. It may be necessary to stop now and then and press the wrapped wire with flat-nose pliers:
Step 27: When you have four complete wraps and both wire ends are on the top (textured) side of the wire link, stop wrapping:
Step 28: Begin spiraling in the two wire ends:
Step 29: Use chain-nose pliers to tuck the spiral against the 12-gauge wire link:
Step 30: Here is the finished Eyeglass Suspender. It’s ready to use as-is, or:
Step 31: Artificially age the wire using a solution of hot liver of sulfur. Polish it with 0000 (superfine) steel wool, rinse it clean, and dry it before attaching it to the necklace chain of your choice.
You have many options for the necklace chain itself. You can use silk cording, macramé fibers, a beaded necklace, a commercial chain, or a wire link chain such as the one pictured at the top of this post.
I hope you enjoyed my latest free tutorial. If you need to see wireworking instruction in motion, I have several instructional DVDs available in my etsy shop. Check 'em out!
Happy wrapping,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FREE Tutorial: Jumbo Rosette Bracelet

Making linked wire “rosettes” with intertwined jump rings is nothing new. But have you considered making big, jumbo-sized jump rings using 12-gauge wire? Once you cluster and link your chunky rings together with doubled figure-8 links, you’ll have a beautifully bold jewelry piece that’s sure to attract notice. Best of all, this bracelet is easy to make in an afternoon. The design can also be used to make chokers and longer necklaces, too.
Tools
Wire flush-cutters suitable for cutting up to 12-gauge wire
Ruler and/or measuring tape
Hard-plastic or rawhide mallet
Chasing hammer or planishing hammer
Small bench block
Materials
12-gauge round copper wire: about four to five feet (possibly more, depending on the length of your bracelet, or if you use this design to make a necklace instead)

Step 1: Working off a spool of 12-gauge wire, flush-cut the end:
Step 2: Measure and flush-cut several 2-1/2-inch lengths of wire, ensuring that each wire length is cut flush on both ends. I cut nine of these lengths for my bracelet, but you may need more or less depending on how long your bracelet is or if you use this design to make a necklace or choker:
Step 3: Place one wire piece in the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers about one-third of the way from the tips of the tool. Tip: You can see that I marked my tool with a Sharpie pen to help me make every loop the same size:
Step 4: Bend the wire all the way around until it touches itself. Flip the link over and repeat, which will shape a large figure-8 link:
Step 5: If the link is a bit misshapen, place it on a steel bench block and hammer it firmly using either a hard-plastic mallet (shown) or a rawhide mallet:
Step 6: As an alternative to the previous step, you can straighten out your link by squeezing it firmly in the chain-nose pliers:
Step 7: Make several figure-8 links (as many as needed for your particular project), and set them aside:
Step 8: Again working off the spool of 12-gauge wire, form loops of wire on the very back of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers as shown. Make sure that each loop is made in the same place on the tool, so that every link will be identical in size and shape:
Step 9: Flush-cut the wire end using quality flush cutters suitable for 12-gauge wire:
Step 10: Use the cutter to pull the next ring slightly apart from the coil you made earlier, and flush-cut off a ring:
Step 11: Make a big pile of these jumbo-sized jump rings. I used 25 rings in the finished bracelet pictured:
Step 12: To “condition” your jump rings, pick them up individually and wiggle the ends together until they meet perfectly. If one wire end pokes up a bit above the other, use the tips of the chain-nose pliers to bend the wire end down until the jump ring is perfectly round with ends that meet flush:
Step 13: To further condition and work-harden your rings—which is especially important with big, jumbo-sized rings like these—hammer them firmly with a hard-plastic or rawhide mallet:
Step 14: Make a big pile of rings! At least 25.
Step 15: Pick up a ring and open it up sideways using chain-nose pliers. Insert one end into another, closed ring:
Step 16: Wiggle the two ends together as in step 12 to close the second ring firmly. Place the two rings on your work surface as shown:
Step 17: Repeat steps 15-16, this time inserting the wire end into the two previously linked rings:
Step 18: Close the third ring (as in step 16):
Step 19: Pick up a fourth ring, open it sideways, and insert one end into the three linked jump rings:
Step 20: Close the fourth ring as before, and place the linked rings on your work surface as shown:
Step 21: Pick up a fifth ring and, as before, open it sideways in order to insert one end through the four previously linked rings:
Step 22: Close the fifth ring firmly and place the linked rings on your work surface. Repeat these steps until you have five sets of five jump rings, intertwined and linked in the rosette pattern:
Step 23: Pick up one of the large figure-8 links you made previously, and open up one loop sideways in the chain-nose pliers:
Step 24: Run the wire end through a rosette cluster and close the loop sideways, ensuring that the wire end meets itself firmly as shown:
Step 25: Repeat this step until you have placed four figure-8 links onto a rosette cluster. Separate the figure-8 links as shown, with doubled sets on each side of a cluster:
Step 26: Repeat steps 23-25 with a second rosette cluster. You should begin to see the pattern emerging:
Step 27: Repeat steps 23-25 again. You now have three rosette clusters joined together with doubled figure-8 links. Continue in this fashion until you have connected all five rosette clusters with doubled figure-8 links:
Step 28: To make a hook for your bracelet, flush-cut about 5-1/2 to 6 inches of 12-gauge wire. This measurement doesn’t have to be exact:
Step 29: Use large flat-nose pliers to fold this wire at the halfway point:
Step 30: Bend up the bent wire end using the tips of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers:
Step 31: Use large round bail making pliers to bend the wire up and over, forming a hook:
Step 32: Optional: Hammer to two wire ends on the hook using a chasing or planishing hammer. The idea is to slightly flatten the wire ends, making them easier to bend in the next step:
Step 33: Place the two wire ends in the large round bail making pliers and bend the wire around until it touches itself:
Step 34: To place the hook on one end of the bracelet, open the two loops (made in step 33) sideways, run the opened wire ends through a rosette cluster, and close the loops sideways:
Step 35: Here is how the bracelet looks so far. If it’s long enough at this point, it’s finished (lacking a good polish, of course!). However, if you would like to lengthen it a bit, continue:
Step 36: Flush-cut a piece of 12-gauge wire approximately 2-1/2 inches in length and form it into a figure-8 link (as described in steps 2-6):
Step 37: Grasp the link with chain-nose and flat-nose pliers and twist firmly so that each loop on the figure-8 is at a perpendicular angle to the other:
Step 38: Open up one loop sideways and place it on a rosette cluster:
Step 39: Here’s how the finished bracelet looks on! Super big and chunky, and yet surprisingly comfortable to wear with a lovely drape around the wrist. Yummy!
Option: The finished bracelet as pictured 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 on my DVDs and in my books and ebooks.
I hope you enjoyed this free tutorial! I share lots of wire and metal designs in my various books, ebooks, and DVDs filmed in closeup detail. I hope you'll check 'em out!
Happy wrapping,