A basic S-Hook Clasp is sometimes all you need to finish a piece of jewelry. You can make it yourself with wire and some basic jewelry tools. An s-hook is sometimes referred to as an s clasp or a wire closure.
Here is an easy way to make an s-hook with tool you probably already have for jewelry making. No need to buy a special jig or tool just to make clasps.
S hook clasps are used in jewelry making as a closure for bracelets and necklaces. You can purchase premade clasps, or have fun making your own unique style ones to give your handmade jewelry your personal touch.
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- Wire, I used oxidized sterling silver dead soft 16 gauge wire. Dead soft wire is easy to manipulate, which is important for hands with a touch of arthritis. Heavier 14 gauge wire makes beautiful clasps, but my hands are happier working with 16 gauge. I oxidized my wire, but you can keep your silver shiny if you like. Gold-filled wire is also available, but at a heftier price – beautiful in the right project.
- Round nose pliers
- Wrap and Tap pliers – these pliers have three mandrel sizes in one tool, so they are very handy! If you don’t have them, a pen or Sharpie Marker can serve as a mandrel – experiment with craft wire to get the right size before working with precious metal wire. They are also known as bail making pliers.
- Wire cutters – I like ultra-flush cutters for a clean finish.
- Metal bench block. A pad or mat under the block protects your table surface and absorbs some of the noise and vibration of pounding.
- Chasing hammer
- Rawhide, nylon or rubber mallet
- Cut a length of wire about three times longer than the finished size of your clasp. As long as I had my tools out, I made half a dozen clasps to have on hand for future projects.
- The next steps will use the round nose pliers (lower left) and the Wrap and Tap pliers (lower right).
- With the round nose pliers, make a small coil at each end of the wire. The coils should face in opposite directions.
- Using the large mandrel on the Wrap and Tap pliers, place one end of your wire in the pliers. The small coil should nudge up next to the jaws of the pliers and face away from the three-step jaw.
- Bend the wire as far as you can around the large Wrap and Tap mandrel until you get a smooth curve.
- Shift the pliers to the other end of your wire, again holding the small coil next to the jaws and facing away from the stepped jaw. Then bend the wire around the mandrel, forming your “S”.
- With the large face of your chasing hammer, gently pound the wire. This will flatten it slightly to give it a nice textured surface and will also work harden the wire. But watch your fingers!
- Pound just enough to get the look you want – because you don’t want your clasp to be too thin and break.
- Here is the S-Hook after pounding with the chasing hammer. It has opened up a little, so I used the Wrap and Tap mandrels to get the curves back in the shape I wanted.
- Once the clasp looked the way I wanted it to, the wire still had some flexibility. I want the clasp to maintain its shape during use, so it needed a bit more work hardening without changing the shape or thickness of the metal. The rawhide mallet is perfect for this because it will continue to strengthen the wire without reshaping it.
- Here is the finished 1-inch S-hook clasp made from a 3-inch piece of sterling silver wire.
- Now I have clasps ready for six more jewelry pieces!
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16 Gauge, 925 Sterling Silver Wire, Round, Dead Soft - 5FT by CRAFT WIRE
Garland 11002 Rawhide Mallet, Size-2
The Beadsmith Big Wrapper Pliers – Multi-Step Wrapping Tool –13, 16 & 20mm barrels - 7 Inches Long, 1.25” Stainless Steel Jaws, Cushioned Grips – Use to Shape Rings and Make Consistent Sized Loops …
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