Wire bending jig tools have several different roles within small-scale craftsmanship and the manufacturing industry. Jewellers often use wire bending jigs for making jewel settings for simple necklaces. Hobby or theatrical armour makers also use simple wire bending jigs to convert stiff steel wire into ring mail. Wire bending jigs are also important in many aspects of automobile mechanics, specifically relating to any spring backed mechanism as well as custom fabrication.
Wooden Bending Jigs
Bending jigs constructed entirely of wood can be sufficient for working highly ductile wire like copper, provided the wire is a low enough gauge to be hand bent. A common type of simple wooden wire bending jig is the wooden dowel used in the construction of rings in chain mail. The wire feeds though a small hole or notch at one end of the dowel. The wire is wrapped around the dowel tightly, then is slipped off the end of the dowel and cut into rings with a wire cutter at either end of the ring when integrated into a larger mesh suit. Wooden bending jigs also work well as a frame for winding copper wire for hobby electromagnet and motor projects, and are often purpose built to suit sizing needs because of how easily wood is shaped.
Peg and Board Wire Bending Jigs
Peg and board jigs are well suited to intricate detail work such as the kind used in wire jewelery construction. The process of wire jeweller lattice work can be confusing to those who have never tried it; artisans weave intricate webs of wire, sometimes placing a gem within the framework, and delicately tighten the wire bracing supporting the gem before finally cutting the finished ring or pendant from the peg and board jig. The skills used in wire peg and board bending jig jewellery making are closely related to other forms of weaving, such as basket weaving and textile weaving. Peg and board jig weaving allows for a higher level of intricacy than some methods of freehand wire weaving.
Using Pliers with a Wire Bending Jig
Sturdy, comfortable pliers are an essential part of any heavy gauge wire bending jig kit. Depending on the type of metal the wire is composed of, bending the wire by hand can become too difficult as the gauge increases. Harder metals like steel are more difficult to hand bend at lower gauges than soft ductile metals like copper and aluminium. Using heavy pliers to bend the wire into the jig is one way to work around this limitation. Pliers with longer handles provide more leverage for bending the wire, but they are also heavier, which will lead to arm fatigue sooner. Ideally, using the smallest set of pliers necessary to complete the task with the minimum amount of muscle strain is best, meaning that the right pair of pliers for the job varies slightly between body types when working with heavy gauge wire.
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