My new technique

Above- A few examples of my handmade clasps... kind of rustic, imperfect.

While I was in NY and bumming around the metals section of Metalliferous, I decided to pick up a bench block. I had bought a nice hammer from Evies Tool Emporium a while back with intentions of purchasing a bench block, but while considering purchasing one online, decided I didn't want to pay for shipping because they are heavy S.O.B.'s.
When I unwrapped my block, it had plastic on it and when I took the plastic off it was all gooey- like with this oily substance on it. What is that all about!?! I wiped it all off because, ewww. I can't use it like that. Maybe this is just so it doesn't tarnish while sitting on shelf? Well it's wiped off but still has all these weird marks on it. I want it to be clean and shiny! Ok, I'm over it.

So I splurged and purchased one there. Also picked up a nice ring mandrel. I'd love to make some rings so if any of you have a good tutorial or know of a good wire ring tutorial, lemme know!
I've been playing around making some handforged (is this the word I want to use? I have no clue) clasps and wow, what a fun time! I love banging the hammer. It's a nice way to let out some frustration from my days at work. I want to try to make some earring wires too. Know nothing about making earring wires so if anyone has tips, leave a comment on this post!

I saw somewhere on the web recently, some crafty individual made this really awesome earring jig with a block of wood, and nails. And so they just made a loop on one end of wire, placed the loop over one nail and then bent the earring wire over a series of other nails and it created the perfect shaped wire everytime. I think that's ingenious. And now I totally want one.
Anyway, the basic bottom line is: I'm sick of buying clasps and earring wires, and jumprings!

Here is some new work going in the shop this morning...


  1. Anonymous9/11/2008

    Wow Lorelei! There's no end to your talent. What kind of wire did you use for your clasps?

  2. I found some helpful tutorials on McFarland Designs blog. Here is a wirewrapped ring tutorial:

    And an earwire tutorial:

    Also Beaducation has awesome video tutorials. They have a few free classes - making earwires and spirals. The spiral one is helpful for making clasps as well.

    As for an earwire jig - here is one for $5 on Etsy by glittercritter, which seems worth the money!

    She even has a free tutorial on how to make it if you'd rather try that:

    I have a whole list of wireworking tutorials on my computer at home, but I'm at work now, so hopefully these suggestions will get you started! You'll find that making your own findings is easy once you get the hang of it and much more economical than buying them. And I agree...I love pounding wire after a long day at work!

  3. Hi Norma,
    I used 18 gauge brass wire from Patina Queen.

    Wow, thanks Lisa! Perfect! This is exactly what I needed... going to surf!

  4. Lorelei, glad to hear you've got the hammering fever, you will have such fun and freedom now, there's nothing like being able to make whatever shape you need for your design! and you're right about the banging out frustrations with that jewelry hammer, LOL

    Next thing you know, we'll have you dipping into liver of sulphur!

  5. Hi Lynn!
    Oh yes, this is definitely next on my list. If I hadn't spent all my cash on beads in NY I would have gotten some liver of sulphur too. I had it in my hand in the store...but decided against it at the last minute.

  6. These are great! I love the rustic feel with those awesome glass beads!

  7. The first clasp is my FAV! I adore how simple and humble it looks. I see you are got a referral to Glitter Critter. Her tutorial is great! That's how I made my jig with some modifications.

    I love, love, love it! The one I used for your Robin ear wires is in the lower left corner.

    Oh, and if you really want to do some pounding (which I agree is a real awakening) I wholeheartedly recommend a metalsmithing class that teaches raising copper into vessels. Still wish I had a studio space that would accommodate this activity :) You get to use hammers and torches all in the same space!!

  8. Very nice! I think has online videos for wirewrapping and making ear wires.

  9. Oh! Once you start bangin' you never go back! Tee hee! It feels so good to make your own wire work! Good for you!

  10. Your hand-wrought clasps look great, Lorelei!
    I'm not so great at finding stuff online but, one of my favorite hobbies when not making jewelry or clay pendants is, collecting jewelry-making books!:) My two favorite wire technique books are:
    All Wired Up by Mark Lareau
    Bead on a Wire by Sharily Miller
    Both of these books have great wire clasps and earwires.

    If your into using a jig for findings and things, check out They have an extensive library of all kinds of jewelry-making techniques.

    Also, wigjig is where I found my Bur Cup filing tool for filing the end of the hand-made earwires. It gets the end nice and smooth and rounded! Another way is to just use a regular file and file down any sharp ends and then use a 0000 ultra fine piece of steel wool.

    Hope some this helps! Let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to help you further!


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