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Crimps are designed to work with jewellery wire. If you are working with jewellery wire, it is more than likely you will work with crimps. These durable little findings will provide your designs with security and add professional finishing touches. Best of all, they are easy to use! When creating jewellery, you want the best findings for the project, so it’s important to learn all about the crimps you will be using.
Crimps come in two different forms: as a bead or as a tube.
Crimp beads are shaped like a hollow round bead and come in a variety of sizes and metals. To secure them to jewellery wire, flatten the crimp bead with a pair of flat or chain nose pliers. The flattened bead grips the jewellery wire. The image below shows what a crimp bead looks like when it is finished and crimped to the wire. If done properly, the crimp bead will be very secure, but if the crimp bead is squeezed too hard it can break or at least be weakened and could fail over time as the jewellery item is worn. Over-squeezing can also bite into the jewellery wire itself, causing it to fray or break, which will also weaken the jewellery item. It just takes a little practice to get the feel of crimping and once you have it down it’s easy to do!
Crimp tubes come in a variety of sizes and metals, too and some even have patterns on them. To crimp them, you need a crimping tool. There are different sized crimping tools for the various sizes of crimp tubes: Micro for tiny crimp tubes and mighty for some larger sizes. Very large crimp tubes can be flattened with a pair of flat or chain nose pliers. There is also a magic crimping tool that will shape the crimp tube into a bead shape. The image below shows the three different sizes of crimp tools described. The Magic crimp bead is very versatile and can accommodate many strands or omega wire hook, even have a single strand one end to a multistrand on the other end.
Using Crimp Tubes:
To secure them to the jewellery wire, crimp the wire with a crimping tool. The tool has two stations. The first station puts a crimp in the crimp tube and the second station folds the crimped tube in half. The crimped and folded tube grips the jewellery wire. The image below shows what a crimp tube looks like when crimped to jewellery wire. The same rules apply here as well; if done properly, the crimp tube will be very secure. Over-squeezing can cause breakage of the crimp tube itself or the jewellery wire.
Using the right size crimp bead or tube is also very important. If the crimp is too large for the jewellery wire, it won’t be able to grip the wire properly and it could slip, causing the jewellery piece to fail. If the crimp is too small, particularly with crimp tubes, the jewellery wire won’t have room to separate for the crimp action and you won’t get a good fold. So how do you choose the best size crimp for the job?
Most often, the jewellery wire in a design will pass through the crimp twice. Multiply the jewellery wire diameter by two (twice through the tube). Then choose a crimp with an inside diameter that is slightly larger than that number.