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Do the Jig

Learn How to Make a Wire Jig


Do the Jig
After I became serious about making jewelry, I decided I wanted to learn how to do more than stick a bead on a head pin, so I enrolled in a vocational school where they had a five month course in jewelry making. (I took it twice.) The course was designed around a number of projects which we were required to do in a specific order. Our very first project was to make a jig and then use it to make a wire bracelet. Though there are a number of commercially made jigs on the market today, it’s very easy to make your own.

To make a jig like mine, you’ll need:

a small block of wood
(mine is approx. 6"x3" and about 1.5" thick)
three nails (I used size 1d - "eight penny")
electric drill
large screw
screw driver
hack saw
large file<p> 1. Using the ruler, find the center of the block the of wood.

2. Now use the pencil and ruler to mark a vertical line down the center of the clock. Then mark horizontally so that you’ve created a plus sign on the block.

3. Measure up 1.5" from the center and hammer in one nail.

4. Measure up 1" form the center and over to the left of the center.25" and hammer in another nail.

5. Measure up 1" form the center and over to the right of the center.25" and hammer in another nail. You should have about .5" in between each nail and they form a triangle.

6. Now, use the hack saw to cut off the nail heads. File the tops down a little until the nails are smooth and won’t cut your fingers as you use the jig.

7. Finally, drill a small hole in the very middle of the block and screw in the screw. You can also use a larger nail instead of screw. This is just to anchor the wire and isn’t a requirement. But, it does come in handy.

Now, you have a jig. Thought his creates a triangle on the block, you can use this same method to create any number of designs. Of course, the disadvantage of a jig like this is that you can’t move the nails around as with the pegs on one of today’s commercially available jigs. However, this is a quick, inexpensive alternative. Plus, if you find you like using jigs for your wire work, then you may feel more comfortable investing in a jig package.

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