Friday, October 4, 2019

How to Separate Chain Links

Sometimes, jewellery instructions call for you to cut a length of chain. It's a simple thing to do: all you need is a pair of wire/side/flush cutters to cut through the link.

If you're working with a soldered chain like this one, cutting them is the only way you can separate the chain links.

But if it's not a soldered chain, then you don't have to CUT the chain. You can often separate the chain by opening and closing the links, much in the same way you would a jump ring.

This is especially useful when your design includes a fancy chain like this crystal channel chain.
Crystal channel chain with oval jump rings connecting the crystals

Or if you have a fancy chain with a repeating pattern like this one, and you need to keep every link so the pattern is preserved.
Fancy chain with repeating pattern

Although the links in the pattern set of this fancy chain are soldered, the sets are connected together with oval jump rings that can be opened, so whole sets can be removed to lengthen or shorten the chain whilst preserving the pattern.

Other reasons you might choose to open and close chain links rather than cut them are because you're short of chain and need every link or if you need to add some links to a chain to make it longer but you want the chain to look continuous.

How to Open and Close Chain Links

So to open and close chain links, you'll need two pairs of chain nose pliers.

With a pair of pliers in your dominant hand, grip one side of the chain at about 3 o'clock.

Grip the opposite side of the link with a second pair of pliers in your other hand.

Pull your dominant hand towards you and your other hand away from you until the link opens. Moving the two sides of the link in this direction will maintain the shape of the link so it doesn't become distorted.

Remove the length of chain you require.

Now, close the link by doing the opposite - pull your non-dominant hand towards you and your dominant hand away from you.

Move the two pliers back and forth past centre until the cut edges align in the middle and there is no gap.

So next time you need to join chain links together, give this a try rather than connecting lengths of chain together with a jump ring.
Pin this Tip!
How to separate chain links tip sheet

'Til next time.....

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