Coiling Wire the Easy Way

by Pat Greer.

If you work with wire you may find (as I did) that coiling wire for jump rings and coils quickly becomes a pain in the wrist! I found myself coiling wire on anything I could find. I still do!

Coiled wire gives Pat Greer’s bracelet its unique style.

Screwdrivers can be great for jump rings – nickel silver holds up well for coils – nails, Sharpies – the possibilities are endless! But making the coils themselves can be painful and time consuming.

I started out by wrapping wire around a screwdriver and then twisting it by hand to make jump rings.

Or using a piece of 14-gauge nickel silver attached to a pair of vise grips to make coils.

When this got very tiring (which didn’t take long!) I started looking for some sort of wire coiling tool.

Coiling wire was one of the steps
in making Pat Greer’s earrings.

I found them in price ranges from $10 (for something that looked like it would be as useful as my vise grips) to $100 for a wire coiler with a crank handle.

While the $100 tool looked like the easiest, fastest, and most efficient method for coiling wire, I just couldn’t justify spending the money.

My solution? My husband once bought a cordless variable speed drill with about a gazillion torque settings on it (OK – Maybe not a gazillion, but it’s got a lot!).

After realizing this little gem was in my home, I invested in a few mandrels of different sizes (you could even use wooden dowels – they’re cheap and come in various diameters).

I put the mandrel and the wire I want to coil into the drill and tighten it up.

I then bend the wire so it’s perpendicular to the mandrel and start the drill.

After doing some practice runs you can get pretty darn fast at coiling wire with this setup.

And it saves your wrists from all the twisting required.

So if you have a variable speed drill available, give it a try! You might find yourself coiling wire just for the fun of it!

Author Pat Greer designs sterling silver pieces for PL Greer. She offers sterling silver jewelry using African beads, handmade lampwork beads and more.

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  1. Lucy Burger says:

    I am new to jewelry making. I am trying to understand your coiling method with the drill. I understand how to get it in the drill. ( former woodworker) Am I to understand you don’t coil it around anything? If so , how do you regulate the size you want?

  2. Nallery says:

    Lucy, usually when you coil on a drill you hold the mandrel (we’ll use a dowel as an example) within the drill tip while you also have the wire locked inside. Then hold the wire that’s outside of the bit and start the drill. When you’re first starting off start the drill slowly. Hold it lightly to mid hard with your hand as it coils around the mandrel. Once you get it to the size you want you can then take it off the mandrel and use it as you want.

    Hope this helps!

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