Though jump rings may look closed when
you buy them, close examination will show that they are actually open
just a little. This is the "kerf" (the gap) caused by the passing of the
blade used to saw the ring. This whole process is about closing the ring
so that the cut is virtually invisible and the ring is still round and
blemish free when you're finished.
Use 2 pairs of
Pliers, one in each hand. Holding the ring at the 3 and 9 o'clock
positions (hold it hard enough to not drop it but not so hard that you
dent it with the pliers) and then pull your right hand forward, pulling
the right side of the ring open. Don't pull the ring halves straight out
and away from each other. This changes the shape of the ring and you'll
have a tough time getting it round again. Just pull your right hand
forward toward your chest while holding your left hand still and rigid.
While you're pulling the right side of
the ring forward also push it a tiny bit toward the left side of the
ring (not hard, you don't want to misalign the ring halves) so that they
overlap visually just a teeny tiny bit. If you don't do this step, you
may still have a slight gap after
you close the ring .
Open the ring just enough to clear
whatever is going through it; another jump ring, a necklace, etc.). If
you open it larger you'll have a high probability of changing the shape
of the ring.
Move the right side of
the ring back into position.
Here are some additional hints:
- While moving back to line the 2 cut
edges up you'll also want to move the right hand ever so slightly to
the right (in fact, if you opened the ring correctly, you'll have to
in order to get the edges to pass one another). Since you overlapped them
a hair in the previous step, you'll need to pull it out just enough
to clear the left side of the cut.
- As the cut edges pass you might hear
a tiny clicking noise. This tells you that you have the spring
tension you need for the ring to be closed securely.
- A perfectly closed ring not only
looks closed visually but you also shouldn't be able to feel the cut
at all as you rub your fingers over it. This is especially important
in chainmaille work. Improperly closed rings will make maille feel sharp
More thoughts about
What size rings to use
for a project?
It's all about
what they call the "aspect ratio" between the gauge of wire used and the
size of the ring. The larger the ring, the heavier gauge wire you'll
need to keep the same amount of strength. It's fine to use a light gauge
wire when making small rings (I use 21 gauge for my smallest diameter
rings), but if you're using a large ring a light gauge of wire would
just droop under the weight of a pendant.
In chainmaille the aspect ratio of the
rings is crucial. There are charts on the Internet explaining how to
figure out what size you need. It's a little bit difficult to understand
so I tend to use the recommended sizes given in a pattern or by an instructor.
If you are using a jump ring as a bail on
a necklace you want it to be sturdy so that it stays closed, but
you might want it small so that it's unobtrusive. In this case you'd use a small diameter
ring made from a heavy gauge of wire, say a 4mm or 5mm ring made from 18
Conversely, if you are making a bracelet from big loopy forms
that will be soldered closed, you'd want to
use a relatively light gauge wire (heavy enough to hold its shape but
light enough to have an airy feel). This might be a 10, 12 or 14 gauge
wire that has been work hardened for strength.
They may look closed when you buy them but jump rings have a
Overlap the cut edges the
tiniest little bit in order to give them some spring tension when the
ring is closed again.
Enlarge this photo to see a gap
that should be closed better
A perfectly closed ring will
have a virtually invisible and smooth cut