To make jewelry and craft items out of wire, it is frequently necessary to bend the wire into shapes you can't achieve with a pair of pliers. For complex shapes, tight spirals or for bending thick or stiff wire, a bending jig comes in handy. There are many types of fancy wire bending jigs available commercially. For impromptu or one-time projects, or if you would rather spend your money on crafting supplies, you can make a wire-shaping jig from items you might already have in your garage.
Things You'll Need
- Scrap 2-by-4-inch lumber
- Sturdy work surface
- Straightedge or ruler
- 1/4-inch drill bit
- 1/4-inch wood dowels
Select a piece of scrap 2-by-4-inch lumber. Cut a 6-inch piece to use as the base for your jig. Place the scrap wood on a sturdy work surface.
Draw two lines to form an X in the middle of the base, using a pencil and ruler. Make each line 2 inches long. Drill five 1/4-inch holes in the base, one in the center of the X and one at each end of the two lines.
Insert 1/4-inch wooden dowels into the holes in whatever pattern best allows you to bend the wire shape you desire. Experiment with different dowel placement to achieve the best results.
Tips & Warnings
- To make tighter bends, drill closer holes for the dowels.
- With tougher wire, it may be necessary to attach the base to your work surface with screws for more leverage and stability.
- Use metal dowels for a more durable jig.
- Make a quick and easy wire shaping jig by driving nails into a board. You can use finishing nails for thin wire and 16d or larger for thicker-gauge wire.
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