Daily Wire Tip Jan. 12: Holding Bundles of Wire Straight

By on January 12, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
January 12, 2010


I have been struggling for years with holding bundles of wires together for wrapping. Tape is irritating and messy, waste wire does not hold well, and can let the bundle slip.
A few weeks ago, I was getting ready for a show, and being impatient, began using a pair of hemostats (the ones sold for fishermen to extract hooks) for their clamping action. I ground off the jaws smooth, put on tape, and they work well for wrapping up to four wires. Is there any tool I can buy that will clamp small groups of wire?


Although I have rarely had issues using either 3M painter’s tape or white quarter-inch quilter’s tape, I know some folks like to use clamps to hold their wire bundles together. Wire-sculpture does have a small rubber clamp https://wire-sculpture.com/jewelry-table-vise/Small_Rubber_Head_3_Inch_Quick_Clamp_Pack_of_1-3491-0.html Another option would be to go to a hardware store and just look around. Sometimes you will be amazed at the new ideas you’ll come up with!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    January 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I have found that with people struggling with bundles of wire that the major problem is they are not taking time to straighten the wires before beginning to wrap them. If your wire is not laying straight you will have problems with grouping them together before securing them with quilters tape or painters tape, etc.
    Take the time to straighten your wires. Dale has a video tip on the technique, http://wire-sculpture.com/jewelry-making-blog/260/straightening-your-jewelry-wire/ I know you will see a big difference if you try it yourself.

  2. avatar


    January 12, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I use 1″ capacity steel spring clamps. You can find them in any hardware store. They hold very tight. Here’s an picture of one: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=39569

  3. avatar

    Alex Netherton

    January 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks Dale. Mary, I always straighten wires; that was one of the first things my teacher taught me 30 or so years ago; I am just too darn impatient to use tape, and really don’t like the gum from “invisible” tape. I will look for quilters and painter’s tape, but those little clamps on this site look great.
    I often get in a hurry building things, and look for short cuts. My next shortcut is going to be some sort of clamp to use on the bundles of wire at the top (bail) end of a pendant.

  4. avatar


    January 12, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Parallel pliers are great for working with “bundles” of wires. Sometimes you can find them in the hardware store, a couple of the jewelry supply sites have them and if you google parallel pliers you will probably get some answers there. One thing to note is whether there are “teeth” on the surface.
    Also, I was taught to use the striping tape which auto painters use. And, in trying it and the quilters tape, I find the striping tape to be a less “sticky” and therefore less messy to use.

  5. avatar


    January 13, 2010 at 12:31 am

    I have used the kind of hemostats smoothed and wrapped with tape from the Dr’s. office. They will hold bundles up to about an inch in width. However, they are very heavy and will cause your wire to curve. When I first began to bundle my wires I would wrap the ends with tape and then wrap again with scrap wire. This method worked well too but took un-necessary time. The most important aid I found was to be sure the wires were as straight as I could get them and not to long. For the longer bundles, after wrapping the tips with scrap wire, I sometimes tape a few inches down to secure the bundle in mid stream. If you wrap the tips with wire, the ends are sometimes scared, but that part is usually cut off. I have also used rubber tipped clamps from the hardware store. Again the weight would bend the wire. I find the rubber tipped clamps purchased from wire sculpture work well for holding bundles, but they still have the weight issue especially with dead soft wire.
    Hope this will give you a few ideas.

  6. avatar


    January 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    The best thing I’ve found is a vise attached to my work table. I padded the clamps with rubber cut from a kitchen jar opener. Then I can concentrate on making perfect wraps. Hopefully.

  7. avatar

    Sally Wooten

    January 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve used those little rubber clamps for years, my husband uses them in construction and he gave them to me. They work great! At the hardware store they are called a “jetline clamp.”