Intuitively, everyone who uses a jewelry making jig wants to start by making a loop in one end of the wire and then with all of your peg in your pattern, pulling the wire by the end of the wire. This was how we began and it is how almost everyone begins. Unfortunately, there are two problems with this approach. First, when all the pegs in your pattern are positioned in your jig, most of the peg will be in your way and will make is harder to make consistent jewelry wire components. Second, when you pull the wire by the end of the wire, you will frequently introduce bends in the wire in places where you don't want bends. Pulling the wire just feels easy. Unfortunately, pushing the wire tends to work better. In this video we will show you how we recommend that you use your WigJig jewelry making tool. These techniques are based upon years of experience and once you master these techniques you will find it is very easy to make consistent jewelry wire components.
The steps that we show in this video are as follows:
Start by straightening your jewelry wire. You can straighten the wire before you cut it off the spool. Leaving the wire on the spool allows you to use the spool to hold the wire while you are straightening the wire. It is very important to start with straight wire and keep your wire straight as you use it. If you accidentally introduce a bend in your wire where you don't want a bend, remove your wire from your jig and straighten the unused portion of the wire. To straighten your jewelry wire we recommend using nylon jaw pliers. If you have any questions on how to straighten jewelry wire please see our free video instructions by selecting here.
The second step in almost all wire working projects made on a jewelry making jig is to measure your straight segment of wire and cut the wire to length. Your goal in measuring the wire it to measure a length of wire so that you will ultimately have about 1/2 inch of excess wire when you are done. In order to meet this goal of only throwing away 1/2 inch of good wire, we recommend that you make your wire component about 3 times out of inexpensive practice wire. By measuring the practice wire, it will allow you to learn the exact length of wire you need so that you only have 1/2 inch of excess good wire. When cutting your wire, we recommend cutting the wire so that the flat or flush end of the cut remains on the spool of wire. This will leave you a cut segment of straight wire with one end with the sharp cut and one end with the flush or flat cut. If you have any questions on cutting your jewelry wire, please see the video referenced in item 1, above. This video shows both the techniques for straightening the wire and for cutting the wire.
The third step in your jewelry making project is to make a "P" loop in the end of the wire with the flush or flat cut. When using our WigJig jewelry making jigs, we recommend using our "Fine Step Jaw Pliers" for making this initial P loop. The reason for this is that the step jaw pliers are pliers with one flat jaw and one round jaw with three cylindrical steps. The Fine Step Jaw Pliers were specifically manufactured so that the initial step will make a loop that fits on the pegs of the WigJig Delphi, Cyclops or Centaur. The second step of the pliers makes a loop that fits on the pegs for the WigJig Olympus, Olympus Lite or Electra. The third step is closest to the hinge of the pliers and make a loop that is larger. You can make a P loop with your round nose pliers, but you will find that sometimes the loops will be too small and must be cut off, and sometimes the loop will be too large. By using the Fine Step Jaw Pliers, everytime the loop will fit the peg and will always be the exact same size. If you have any questions on how to make a "P" loop, please select here to view our free video instructions.
The fourth step in making a jewelry wire component on a jewelry making jig is to position two pegs to support the first bend in your pattern and add your initial loop in the wire onto the first peg. Even if your pattern has six or more pegs total, start with only two pegs. When you start with two pegs, it is much easier to bend your wire consistently. When you see the video, you will understand how you begin with only two pegs and add one peg at a time as you proceed.
The fifth step in making a wire component on a jewelry making jig is to place the index finger on your dominant hand in the position shown in the picture above and push the wire. Hold the jig in your non-dominant hand and move the jig, while you guide the wire with the index finger on your dominant hand. Please note that the wire in the picture above is about 1/2 way up the peg. It is much easier to guide the wire around the second peg in the pattern, while missing the first peg in the pattern, when the wire is at least 1/2 way up the peg. Please see the video to view this technique. For left handed wire workers, please start on the left side of the pattern with the second peg and make every wire component in the mirror image position to what we show above. The pictures in the video show how to perform this skill for a right handed person.
All jewelry wire is a little springy. Soft wire is less springy, half-hard is more springy and hard wire is very, very springy. Because of the inherent springy nature of jewelry wire, you will always need to push the wire slightly beyond the final position you want to achieve then remove your grip on the wire and view where the wire stays with no pressure applied to the wire. Your goal is that the wire will stay immediately adjacent to the hole for the next peg in the pattern with no force applied to the wire. If the wire doen't remain adjacent to the hole for the next peg in the pattern, then you will need to move the wire some more.
These six techniques for using a jewelry making jig may seem foreign. They weren't obvious to us when we made the first jewelry making jig. We learned them the hard way, via trial and error. Now these techniques are second nature to us. Once a beginner to making jewelry with wire and beads has an opportunity to try these techniques they will start to make sense. The entire reason for these 6 techniques is that it will help you to be consistent when you are making jewelry wire components.
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