How to Use a Coiling Tool

jean photo

Scenario #187 in the life of a busy, creative (somewhat forgetful) person: Go to the fabric store to pick up buttons, wander over to the tools section for a look-see, find a tool I know I’ve lost, purchase, bring home, and… place it next to the one that has magically reappeared. Ah, yessiree… I seem to be a one-woman economic stimulus package with all the tool doubles I have around here. Why don’t I return them? Well, like my Irish father used to say you never know when guests will show up. Geez… I could throw a raucous jewelry-making party with the number of oddball wire jigs, hammers, and pliers I have laying around here!

The most recent tool I doubled up on is this handy little crank shaft mechanism used for coiling wire. It’s a simple tool, but so handy. In the old days I formed wire coils by wrapping a thin-gauge wire around a thick-gauge one, but this is faster and easier. It comes with two rod thicknesses, 2mm and 3mm, allowing for different-sized coils. Here’s how you use it:

1) Wrap 20-gauge or thinner wire around the crank’s loop. Here I’m using 24-gauge; I keep it attached to the spool as I work to reduce flying wire and to give me the option of forming a longer coil if I like.



2) Slide the shaft into the bracket through the holes that correspond to the shaft’s thickness. Hold the tool so the thumb of your non-dominant hand pins the loose wire against the bracket. This will add tension to ensure a neat, tight coil.


  3) Use your dominant hand to rotate the shaft, turning it slowly to get the coil started.
  4) Keep turning the crank, with your thumb in place to ensure the wire revolutions touch each other, to form as long a coil as you wish. Remove the shaft from the bracket.

  5) Remove the spiral from the shaft. Now the fun begins! You could cut this coil up into tiny spacer coils… or longer cylinder beads… slide a wire through it to make links… use it to embellish a handmade S clasp… there are many possibilites.

  6) Here I wrapped the straight wires at the ends of the coil around the wider coiling shaft, then wrapped the coil around the shaft, too, to make a spirally thingamabob.


7) Then I wrapped the thingamabob around a big resin bead and locked everything in place with a steel wire with simple loops at each end.

Excited about this technique, but wondering how to use it? Get an eyeful in the bead and jewelry section of the Interweave Store. You’ll find dozens of innovative projects like Sara Graham’s Vineyard Coils Bracelet, Marie Carter’s All Wrapped Up ring design, or the Sandy Lanterns Bangle by Kerry Bogert. 

Do you have any coiling tips or ways you use coils that we might all like to know about? (And come on…tell me which tools you have multiples of!) Share your comments below!

Post a Comment