If you’ve ever spent way too much time trying to capture too many tiny jump rings, links or other small parts out of a hot acid bath with too-large copper tongs, this post is for you. And, if you fabricate a lot of chain, links, loops or pendant bails, the time you’ll save using this tool is well worth the time invested in creating it.
All it takes is a few common throwaway items, your basic bench tools, and a couple of minutes at your worktop.
- What you need:
- A wine cork
- 12-gauge copper wire (about 18-inches)
- Flat nose pliers
- Looping pliers
- #30 drill bit and Flex shaft
- Steel block
- Hammer or mallet
Photo 1 Use a #30 bit to drill all the way through the center of a dry wine cork.
Photo 2 Refer to the photo and create a U-shaped bend at one end of the 12-gauge wire. Bend the remaining wire down at 90-degrees to the U. The second bend should be about an inch or more from the base of the U.
Photo 3 Run the wire through the hole in the cork. Grasp the unbent side of the wire in the looping pliers about ¾ of an inch from the cork. You are going to create a fibula-style looped spring.
Photo 4 Coil at least 3 complete loops tightly around the loopers.
Photo 5 Trim the wire as needed, leaving enough to create a “pin stem” that will rest in the U-bend “catch”.
Photo 6 Work harden the pin stem by lightly tapping it with a hammer or mallet while simultaneously rolling it back and forth on a steel block.
Photo 7 Test the fit of the pin stem and catch.
Photo 8 Saw some jump rings!
Tip: I thread the wire coil on the blade and saw from inside the coil and out.
Photo 9 Thread the sawn rings on to the pin stem and close the catch. Obviously, If you intend to solder the rings, you’ll have to file, sand, cleanup and close them first.
Photo 10 Float the loaded “pontoon” in the acid bath. Your rings are easy to retrieve from the pickle and easy to rinse, flux and solder with minimal touching. Just open the catch and slide them on to the charcoal block using a flux brush to move them into soldering position.