Losing My Grip: Ring Clamp to the Rescue!

by Kat Cranston.
(Orlando, Florida USA)

I love to make jewelry using wire weaving and wrapping techniques, but I have never been able to relax my grip and still maintain control over multiple pieces of wire without warping them. I tried using low-stick painter’s tape to hold wires parallel, but I still had to grip the bundle in my non-dominant hand and fingers.

Some of the wrapped wire is held within the jaws (see the tail?).

Some of the wrapped wire is held within the jaws (see the tail?).

Just when my frustration level was nearing Defcon one, I discovered the Ring Clamp.

A ring clamp is designed to hold the outside of rings firmly without marring while filing and polishing. Mine is hardwood (I have seen metal ones) and has leather-lined round jaws on one end and flat jaws on the other. This type of ring clamp is used by inserting the item to be clamped between the leather-line jaws on one end and inserting an accompanying wedge into the other.

Waste wire used with flat jaw end, wedge fully inserted.

Waste wire used with flat jaw end, wedge fully inserted.

As the wedge is pushed further in, the jaws on that end are pushed apart, causing the jaws holding the item to leverage closer together, gently but firmly “gripping” your item without marking or marring.

5-wire copper bezel in progress with weaving completed using a ring clamp.

5-wire copper bezel in progress with weaving completed using a ring clamp.

Now I grip the ring clamp as tightly as I like! The pressure of my fingers no longer touches the wire bundle. As I weave and wrap, I simply open the clamp and move it closer to the active weaving point, and the completed weaving is held between the jaws without bending or misshaping.

An inexpensive (less than $10 in most places) fix for those iron grips!

Kat Cranston
The Dream Faire at Etsy
FaerieKat’s FaerieKorner

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Comments

  1. Thank you so very much for this post!! I have recently been learning weaving and adore the look (and structural security) it can give, but due to a chronic illness, my hands very quickly become so painful that I can not continue. I will be ordering a ring clamp staright away!

  2. What a great idea! That has always been a challenge with wire.

  3. Off to search for a ring clamp. Should eliminate a lot of my frustration with wires.

  4. I have the same problem when gripping wires. I shall pull my ring clamp out and use it from now on. Thanks for such a brilliant idea.

  5. Terry says:

    Thank you for this tip. I was really getting frustrated just using pliers.

  6. What a great idea!!! Thank you. I have one of those clamps and have never used it. Now I know I can weave wire easily using it. I can’t thank you enough !

  7. Thank you. I have MS and my dominant side is “challenged.” I will try the ring clamp tip. In the meantime, thanks for addressing the issue of challenges.

  8. Since getting my ring clamp I have used it for so many tasks, filing the ends of short pieces of wire, wire weaving, among others, and recently even used it for a ring. I want to thank Kat for this suggestion, it has made my jewelry making not only easier, but less painful.

  9. Thanks for the great tip. And I always wondered how those ring clamps worked!

  10. Thanks Kat for such an encouraging and inspirational post! I have a few questions about the ring clamp I hope can be answered. Where do you buy them? I’ve never one before. How long are they, and how big aroung are they? Would it be possible to have a clamp of some kind, hold it while working? I am disabled too. I only have the use of my left hand. I want so much to expand my jewelry making skills.

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