Jewelry Making Q&A: Ask an Expert

Q:  I would like to make a large number of triangle-shaped links to solder into a handmade chain.  After I have wrapped a coil, the wire has some torque to it so that it doesn’t stay in a neat coil.  This makes it difficult to hold when I try to saw through it with my jeweler’s saw.  Do you have any suggestions?  –Jennifer B., via email

A:  Sure!  The natural springiness of the wire is the culprit here.  First of all, I recommend using dead-soft wire for your chain.  It is easier to shape, and the coil will be less likely to twist than half-hard wire.  Next, to hold the coil while cutting, I like to wrap the coil in transparent tape, then either saw through it or use Lindstrom’s flush cutting shears.  Let me show you how:

Wrap wire around the mandrel jaw.  I like to work near the top of the pliers so that the coil grows downward.

As you can see, the coil has a slight twist to it.

Holding the coil firmly to reset the shape, wrap masking tape or Scotch tape around the coil.

As you can see, the tape holds the wire in place for you.

Next, either cut the coil with shears or saw with a jeweler’s saw.  I like using Lindstrom’s Metal Shears (Model #HS-6001) for cutting 16-gauge wire and thinner.  They give a nice flush cut that needs little to no finishing before soldering.

The final result.

Do you have a jewelry-making question you would like our experts to answer?  Email us at and your question could be featured.

  Patti Bullard is the owner and inventor of Wubbers Pliers, and can be found developing innovative jewelry tools in her Texas studio.

Posted in Jewelry Tips

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