Daily Wire Tip Feb. 3: Cutting Hundreds of Jump Rings

By on February 2, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
February 3, 2011


I plan to make a Byzantine chain maille necklace for my adult son. Does the Pepe jump ring maker make flush-cut jump rings to enable me to get a consistent inside diameter? It would be too tedious to make approximately 340 jump rings by wrapping the wire around an aluminum knitting needle; also because my hands lack the strength. Thanks.

-Rosemarie in Westminster, Maryland


Hi Rosemarie, a Byzantine necklace is gorgeous- your son is a lucky man.

As far as personally being able to promote a jump ring making product, I cannot give you a solid recommendation, because I do not use one.

My daughter makes lots of chain maille projects, and in my studio, we coil wire around a mandrel (most often a metal tube from broken wind chimes; you could use your aluminum knitting needle) in a power drill, place the wire coil into a vise lined with industrial felt, then use a jeweler’s saw lubricated with beeswax to cut large quantities of jump rings.

I am sure that lots of our readers will jump in to tell you their experiences and share their knowledge of using professional jump ring makers. (Thanks folks!)

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

    The Pepe does cut the rings very well, use a lubricant to aid in cutting the rings. Be sure to order a supply of extra blades. I have used the Pepe for a couple of years and it gives excellent service.

  2. avatar

    Jerry Beeman

    February 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I personally use the Pepe jump ring maker A LOT! After a little practice, it became a breeze and I was able to spend more time making the chains to link my wire wrapped cabs. I feel like, when I also make the chain, the piece is entirely my creation.

    • avatar


      February 4, 2011 at 2:07 am

      You are so right Jerry – there is nothing like wearing and displaying your work, ‘on’ your work : )

  3. avatar

    Pat Loboda

    February 3, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I have a Pepe jump ring maker. Yes, you will get uniform jump rings using this tool. I like all the different size mandrels that come with this tool. If you don’t have a flexshaft, you will have to cut them the old-fashioned way with a jeweler’s saw. The saw blade attachment that comes with the Pepe is for use with a flexshaft, and you use it to cut through the whole coil of jump rings. When you master using the saw, your jump rings are very uniform. (But they’ll be very uniform if you’re good with the jeweler’s saw, too.) When I have only needed 1 or 2 jump rings, I make a very small coil, and use my cutters, but with this method, they’re not always as uniform as when using a jeweler’s saw, or the saw attachment with the Pepe. -Pat

  4. avatar

    Pat Loboda

    February 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Yes, with the Pepe jump ring maker, you will get very uniform jump rings. The saw blade attachment that is used with your flexshaft is great. =Pat

  5. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Wow, your son is indeed lucky if you are going to make him that necklace. As for the jump ring maker, unless you plan on doing a lot of chain maille work why not just buy the ready cut jump rings?
    I wanted to do a necklace for myself in the byzantine pattern and I ended up buying a complete kit for a graduated 24″ necklace, bracelet and earrings. I found out very quickly that chain maille was not my thing…LOL I finished the bracelet and once done I swore I would not do anymore of it. Thanks to Dale, I found someone who did the sets for me and I paid them for their time.
    I know we have a lot of people here who do chain maille so I do hope you get some good feedback to this question.

  6. avatar

    Susan Maxwell Schmidt

    February 3, 2011 at 10:08 am

    The answer to your question is yes, the Pepe makes BEAUTIFUL jump rings! Do a Google search, some sites have videos of it in use. If you make a whole lotta jump rings, that’s definitely the way to go!

  7. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I make and sell a lot of chains. The Bysantine chain is somewhat forgiving on ring sizes as long as you use the same size mandrel (or object) for making your rings throughout your project. You can cut them with a saw or using a Foredom, a Koil Kutter, or similar type of tool. I would not recommend using nippers or flush cutters. You want a very even cut so the cut edges will match exactly when you close your rings. Flush cutters will leave a little nip on one side and the rings will not line up evenly. It should be difficult to find the cut on a well-cut ring after it is closed. It takes a little time to get the hang of cutting; but it is well worth the effort.

    I personally use Dave Arens’ Koil Cutter with a Dremel 400, as I cut rings daily and want a dedicated device for that particular activity. I also own the Pepe Jump Ringer. I use the mandrels and the coiler but no longer use anything else that came with it. Pepe is a good product; but you will need a Foredom (or similar item of tool) for cutting the rings unless you intend to use a saw. The Koil Kutter is a similar tool; but can be used with a Dremel or Proxon which you may already own. You must purchase a coiler and mandrels separately; but they are not expensive. Type in Koil Kutter in your search box and you will find lots of information and reviews on it. He is very good to work with and prompt in delivery.

    If you are going to continue making chains, I recommend you learn about aspect ratios too. It will help you to understand how to determine your ring sizes for your projects. Word of warning, chain-making is addictive. Enjoy!!!!

    • avatar


      November 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Peggy,
      Not sure you are even going to get this message as it has been quite awhile since your message was posted on this Blog but am going to try and connect with you anyway. I just recently purchased the Koil Kutter and I too am using a Dremel 400 with it. When I started using this tool it was my understanding that the Dremel was to be put at high speed but when I did the vibration was so strong the screws holding the arbor cover in place come right off despite how tight they were. I contacted Kevin where the Koil Kutter is available now and he advised me to put the Dremel on the lowest speed. Well this did not work at all. What speed do you set your Dremel at? What lube do you use? Have you cut rings smaller than 2.75mm? When I cut the small rings I am getting a cut on the inside as well opposite to the top cut. Have you had this issue? Would love to hear your experience and any tips with this tool.

  8. avatar

    Dorothy K. Duflo

    February 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I have a Pepe that I received for Christmas and it’s super. It has 20 various sized mandrels from 2.5 mm to 12 mm. All fit into slots on a plywood sheet and there’s a drill chuck attached with a crank – all stored and so neat. In no time at all, you’ve cranked your way to nice even and clean wraps. Pepe also has a metal box with a lid to place those uncut tubes of jump rings in. The top has a slot to use with a Grobet flex-shaft with saw attachment (another great Christmas gift). The Grobet even has a foot pedal for hands free operation. If you plan on making more chain maille projects I highly recommend getting both. If not, try locating just the drill chuck and put the coils into a vise to hold and use a jewelers saw.

    • avatar


      February 4, 2011 at 2:01 am

      Another excellent product review – thanks for sharing, Dorothy!

  9. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I have not had any experience with this particular jump ring maker but I have considered purchasing it as I like to use oval jump rings. One thing to note: the pepe model requires a foredom or other #30 flexshaft to cut the rings (which is sold seperately).

  10. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’ve had the pepe tools jump ringer for a few years now. It makes for a decent beginner jump ring maker. My biggest complaint is that the saw blades go dull pretty quickly. I’ve also had two blades shatter on me.

    At some point in the near future, I hope to upgrade to a ringinator. I will have to get some longer mandrels on my own, but the ringinator will hoepfully be a much more efficient way to cut rings.

    Of course, I work primarily in chainmaille, so I go through a lot of rings. If you are just adding chainmaille elements to your usual like of styles, then the pepe tools jump ringer should fit your needs just fine.

  11. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Rosemarie, Do a search on Jump Ring Makers and you will find an article by one of the jewellry magazines that discusses that very question as well there are a number of options available. Good luck and if you purchase something, I for one, would be interested in your comments.

  12. avatar

    Sue Beck

    February 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I make thousands of jump rings both for classes, and to make chainmaille jewelry for customers. I have used both the Pepe Jumpringer and Ray Grossmans Jumpringer, and prefer Ray Grossman’s for several reasons. 1- I can make a 15″ coil (Pepe is only 4″), 2- The customer service is one of the best I’ve encountered. Ray, himself will troubleshoot and brainstorm any questions or concerns. 3- I very much prefer moving my coil over the cutting blade, rather than moving the blade over the coil (same way I prefer a table or radial arm saw over a circular saw).

    It really gets down to how many jumprings you plan to make. If it is only this 1 necklace, I’d advise buying the jumprings or use a jewelers saw, as Dale suggested. If you’ll be making a great many jumprings, invest in a jumpringer. One thing I’ve learned from using both, is if you decide to use the Pepe tool, slide an appropriate (slightly smaller than your coil) sized wooden dowel into your coil before cutting. It supports the coil so it won’t collapse. I’ve wasted wire before learning that little trick. Happy byzantine! Sue

    • avatar


      February 4, 2011 at 1:59 am

      Great reviews Sue – many thanks : )

  13. avatar

    Gloria Squires

    February 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Rosemarie,
    I went to the hardware store and bought an assortment of nails, cleaned them up. When I want a particular size jump ring, I place the size nail in my drill, have my husband hold the other end and fill the nail to the head. That stops the wire from going off the end as well. Anyway, that works for me. Happy jewelry making!

  14. avatar

    Victoria O'Neill

    February 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I would be very interested in hearing opinions on jump ring makers. Do the motorized saws they use take more of a “bite” than a jewelers saw?

  15. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I weave thousands of rings per week, and find it a far better use of my time to simply buy the rings from other sources. Byzantine is a pretty common weave, and finding the right size will be super easy. I don’t know what metal you’re thinking about, but here are some resources for buying jump rings:
    The Ring Lord – The best resource for large quantities, and and also for stainless steel
    Blue Buddha Boutique – Best for smaller ring sizes, aluminum and niobium.
    Spiderchain – Best for precious metal rings.

    • avatar


      February 4, 2011 at 1:58 am

      Thanks for all of the great help and resources!

  16. avatar

    Tami Brewer

    February 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I make a lot of chain maille jewelry. I use a mandrel in a cordless drill to make the coil. I do one extra step to make it easier to cut the rings, and that is to run a piece of wire between the rings to separate them a little bit. I then use the same orange handled wire cutters that Dale “Cougar” uses to cut the rings apart and I usually get a good flush cut.
    I have made a lot of Byzantine chains. One suggestion is to put a third ring in the center section.

  17. avatar

    Fern Springs

    February 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    If you don’t want to make the rings yourself you can get some good quality rings at Urban Maille

  18. avatar

    Carol Roskey

    February 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I have cut lots of rings with the Pepe ring cutter and it works great. I have also cut them with a hand saw and that works great too. I think the ring cutter is faster especially when you have a lot of rings to cut. I’d practice with cheap wire first so you can get the hand of it. Also be sure and lubricate.

  19. avatar

    Cindy Hill

    February 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    You can make rings perfect for byz with 18awg wire wrapped around a 3.5mm mandrel, or the next closest Imperial measure. If you want to use 20g, your mandrel should be 7/64. I don’t have the mandrel size for 16g, but if you are familiar with aspect ratio, keep it in the range of 3.3 to 3.6. That size ring means your byz will be about 1/4 inch thick. Pepe’s ring cutter should work fine, just make sure your wire/mandrel sizes are right. Loose byz does not look good nor does it hold its shape while you are weaving it. Good luck!

  20. avatar

    Ann Keefer

    February 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Rosemarie, I am a newbie to wire wrapping and jump ring making however, I tried making them by hand, cutting them with flush cutters, a jewelers saw and then I found a complete jump ring maker with flex shaft for $194.00 the complete set. For Christmas I made my son a 16 gauge byzantine necklace, my daughter and daughter-in-law a byzantine earring and bracelet set and my youngest daughter a Jens Pind necklace, earring and bracelet set. My son’s necklace was cut by hand with flush cutters and wrapped using mandrels in a electric drill. I would not trade my jump ring maker for anything. Cuts the prep time down drastically and gives me the opportunity to add different handcrafted jewelry items to my collections to sell. It is worth every penny I spent and worth it if you plan on adding chain maille to your craft. Saves a lot of money on jump ring purchases. Good luck, hope this helps!

  21. avatar


    February 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    In our lapidary shop we use both foredom and pepe jumpringers. I gave it a try last year and only succeeded in breaking the saw blade. Those blades are expensive to replace when they break. So my solution is what you suggested Dale, I use a mandrel the diameter I need and with a dremel tool I coil the wire on the mandrel. Then I use a jewelers saw with the wax or lube I rub the coils and right on the mandrel I cut the rings being careful not to cut the mandrel. You can cut as many as you need, hundreds if need be. So Rosemarie give it a try, you might just decide like I did it is a lot less headache and easier to do in the long run. Dale, I’m sorry I didn’t sign up for your class this year, maybe next year?

    • avatar


      February 4, 2011 at 1:50 am

      Beverly, thanks for sharing your jump ring experiences with us. (Yes, maybe next year!)

  22. avatar

    Cheryl Dunham

    February 4, 2011 at 10:03 am

    When using a jump ringer system, make sure you put a wooden dowel into the coil that best fits the coil. Lube the coil where you will be cutting it with the flex shaft and you won’t have dull blades and the blades won’t break.
    I used a lot of blades until I did the above trick, and I haven’t changed the blade in over a year. I make lots of chain maille.
    Hope this helps.

  23. avatar


    February 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I read many suggestions for how to seat your coils in the cutter before cutting them (using a flexshaft or similar method). I would like to also reveal my ‘secret’ method. I place a length of drafting (masking) tape over the coil in the cutter and then run Bur Life over the top of the tape. Then I replace the cover on the cutter before cutting the coil. It works fantastically for me. Just be sure to seat your coils at the proper location in your cutter as you normally would.

    If my coils are small in diameter I run the tape lengthwise. If the coils are larger in diameter, I run the tape across the cutter and down the sides. After the coil has been cut, I remove the top cover from the cutter and slowly pull up on the tape. The entire coil will come up with it if you are careful. Then you can run a long knitting needle (or a skinny dowel or similar item) through the coil picking up all of the rings and slide them into the container you intend to use for storing the rings.

    I hope this helps someone.

    • avatar


      February 5, 2011 at 12:40 am

      Peggy, thanks for sharing your ‘secret’ with us : )

  24. avatar


    October 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Tami Brewer: You said, “I then use the same orange handled wire cutters that Dale “Cougar” uses to cut the rings apart and I usually get a good flush cut.”

    Can you please tell me what cutter you are talking about?

    And when you say you get a good flush cut, by ‘flush’ do you mean the ends are flat and match up perfectly?

    Thank you for any help you can provide

    • avatar


      October 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Miranda, I use the Xuron wire cutters – no they do not have a perfectly “flush” cut on both sides of the wire, as they are angle cutters. However it is very easy to make one cut and then simply reverse the cutters and recut the side with the burr for a perfectly flush cut on both ends of the wire or jump ring you are working with.

  25. avatar


    March 9, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I am looking to buy a jumpringer system. I have reached the point where I no longer want to spend my time cutting the rings by hand. How thick a wire will the pepe jumpringer cut? I want to find a jumpringer that will cut both thin and thick sterling wire, say 28 gauge to a 12 or possibly a 10 gauge wire. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jim

    • avatar


      March 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Hi Jim, focusing mainly on wire jewelry supplies – although jump rings are made of wire, there are many sites devoted to the art of chain maille and only one dedicated to traditional wire jewelry, therefore Wire-Sculpture does not stock any type of jump ring maker or system. I did a Google search using the term “jump ring maker” that resulted in many different manufacturers and distributors of such a system. My suggestion is that you perform the same type of search and then contact the specific manufacturers for the details you need, before making such an important purchase. Good Luck!