Page 2   Jewelry Making with Beads and Wire -- What a Beginner Needs to Know

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Jewelry Making -- How to Cut wire

The jewelry wire cutters that we use for all of our jewelry making projects are called "Flush Cutters".  These cutters are specifically designed for jewelry and wire working projects to make a cut that leaves one side of the cut wire relatively flat or flush and the other side relatively sharp.  The cutters are designed to be used with the flat side of the cutters perpendicular to the wire to be cut and the beveled side of the cutters provides the sharp edge necessary to cut.  The perpendicular or flat side of the flush cutter will cut jewelry wire and leave a relatively flat end on the wire at that side.  The beveled side of the flush cutter will leave the cut wire with a sharp end.  Try cutting a piece of wire and see the two cut ends to understand this better.
Flush Cutter Jewelry Making Tool Flat Side Flush Cutter Jewelry Making Tool Beveled Side
Flat Side of Flush Cutter Beveled Side of Flush Cutter

For your jewelry making and wire projects always cut the wire so that the flat side of the cut wire remains on the finished piece.  This is important so that the finished component won't have any sharp ends to snag or cut.  This is accomplished by cutting with the flat side of the flush cutter toward the finished piece.  As shown here, here are pictures showing how to hold your flush cutter when cutting wire.  We also have pictures in our online book "Wire Design Basics" . 
Cutting Jewelry Wire Before the Cut Cutting Jewelry Wire After the Cut
Cutting Wire After the Cut

Finally, the flush cutters are designed for cutting "jewelry wire".  This is sterling silver, gold-filled, gold, brass or copper wire.  They are not designed to cut steel in any form and may be ruined if they are used to cut steel, including the Soft Flex or Tiger Tail bead stringing wire and/or memory wire. 

Safety Tip #1:  Always hold both ends of the wire as you cut it.  When the cut is made, the loose end of the wire tends to fly.  It can be a hazard to your eyes and it can be a hazard to your back as you crawl around on the floor trying to find the wire and pick it up.  Wearing safety glasses when jewelry making is often recommended, but it is safer still to make sure the loose end of the wire can not become a missile hazard. 

Safety Tip #2:  A good habit to have, is when you are cutting wire from a coil or spool to cut it so that the flat side of the cut remains on the spool or coil of wire.  This way the shorter wire segment that you work with will always have one sharp end and one flat end.  In addition, the wire on the spool with have a flat end so it will be less likely to hurt anyone who picks up that spool later. 

Safety Tip #3:  Flush cutters can be sharp and may not be suitable for young children.  Jewelry making is probably not appropriate for young children.

Precision Cutting: 

When you make a wire component, your goal should always be to start with enough wire so that when you are done, you have about 1/2 inch of wire remaining that must be cut off.  This 1/2" of margin is required because it is essentially impossible to cut the wire to the exact perfect length before you have formed your wire component.  When you go to cut this 1/2" of excess wire off of your wire component, it is rather difficult to cut it to the perfect length.  Here is a technique that will help you to be precise when cutting the excess wire off your wire component.  Simply put, hold the end of the wire your want to cut in your non-dominant hand, between your thumb and forefinger, and rest your flush cutter against your thumbnail to stabilize the cutter as you position the cutter precisely.  When you have positioned the cutter exactly where you want to cut, go ahead and squeeze the flush cutter to cut the wire.  You will find that this approach makes it much easier to cut the wire at the precise location you want. 
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This WigJig jewelry project is provided as part of WigJig University - College of Jewelry Designs.  We try to provide interesting jewelry projects using beads, jewelry wire and other jewelry supplies.  We hope that these pictures will provide you enough information for you to learn these skills.  We have tried in these pages to discuss the skills necessary for making jewelry in the detail that beginners need. We also suggest that beginners to making jewelry might need to visit the WigJig University College of Jewelry Techniques for additional information about some of the skills and techniques shown. 

 Most, but not all of the jewelry supplies shown here can be purchased in our WigJig store.  We try to have a complete selection of jewelry supplies in our store including chain, wire, glass beads, findings, watches, tools, etc.