Viking Knit Part 3: Endcaps
You have your chain made, but how do you finish it off into a beautiful necklace or bracelet? You're going to want to hide those unfinished ends inside of endcaps. There are plenty of designs available to purchase in different metals, but what if you want to make your own?
Those with the Lazee Daizee tool have a built-in area to make your own conical shaped endcaps.
I won't cover how to make these in my post. There's an instruction booklet that comes along with your tool where Stephanie Eddy, the designer of the Lazee Daizee tool, explains how to do this. I don't use this feature on my tool because I don't prefer the conical shape. This tutorial will explain how to make cylindrical shaped wire endcaps.
What Tools Will I Need?
Making cylindrical end caps will require 4 basic tools.
I use bail making pliers to form the tubular structure. Three different kinds are pictured above. What type you will need depends on what size endcap you need for your knit. I own all three of these because they are great multi-tasking tools for my other hand made chains as well. If you are interested in wire work or chain making, I would suggest getting all three. I purchased these at my local Hobby Lobby store. They run about $14 a piece and you can always use a 40% of coupon there to get a much better deal. You can also make these endcaps using a mandrel or other tubular device. This tutorial will cover using bail making pliers, but the process will be very similar no matter what you use.
You will also need a pair of cutting pliers or sharp scissors, a pair of roundnose pliers, and a pair of flatnose pliers.
Starting your endcaps off will be the same no matter what type of bail making pliers you use. Cut a blunt end into one length of your wire (you can leave your wire attached to the spool for now), and pinch it between the jaws of the bail making pliers.
Rotate your pliers to make a loop in the wire. Slide your wire around while rotating the pliers to make a coil of wire.
You can also hold the wire with your hands as you rotate the tool to make your coil.
When you have reached your desired height, you are ready to begin making the top of your endcap. I usually use 7 rings as the length of my endcaps, but you can use as many as you need for your project.
Next, cut your wire leaving approximately 1 to1 1/2 inches in a tail. (Perhaps longer if you are making a really large diameter coil)
Cut a blunt end on your wire and pinch between the jaws of roundnose pliers.
Rotate the pliers to make a nice smooth inner ring to your spiral.
You can continue to make this spiral using your roundnose pliers, but I prefer to switch to my flatnose pliers at this point Sandwich your "ring" between the jaws of your flatnose pliers. Keep your pliers still to avoid marring your wire, and use your thumb to push the wire again the small ring. You will need to re-position your flatnose pliers as you move along. Open them fully, move your spiral, and then close again. Don't slide your spiral within the jaws of the pliers or it will mar your wire. Continue making your spiral until you are right up to the coil you made previously.
Depending on the angle with which you made your spiral, you should have something that looks like one of these two pictures. Both are perfectly fine. If yours looks like the top picture, you will use your flatnose pliers to slide your spiral into place on top of your coil. If yours looks like the bottom picture, you will get your spiral as close to your coil as you can, and then flip the spiral down with your flatnose pliers like a lid on a can.
You may find that your spiral is a little too big for your coil. Just use your flatnose pliers to help the spiral to readjust to the coil width. Be gentle, as you don't want to crush your coil.
Here is a side view and a top-down view of the finished product.
How To Attach the Endcaps to Your Chain:
Although there is probably a million different ways to attach the endcaps to your viking knit....this is my process.....
Using a 2 1/2 to 3 inch section of 18g-20g wire, stick the wire through the viking knit about two rungs down from one end.
With your bail making or roundnose pliers, make a rounded hook at one end of the wire. You do not want the end of your hook to touch the straight wire.
Pull your hook into the viking knit so that it grabs the chain like so. This will be very secure and hold your knit in place. There is no need to tie off the knit at all. It will not unravel. If your hook is a little loose, use your flatnose pliers to pinch the hook closed a bit more.
Slide your endcap onto the piece of wire and push it down so that the viking knit is flush with top of the endcap.
Make a 90 degree bend in your wire so that it sits perpendicular to your endcap.
Cut the end of your wire just long enough to make a small loop.
Using your bail making or roundnose pliers, finish the loop to look like this. You are now ready to attach your chain to a clasp. Don't forget to tumble your piece for a professional shine!
I hope you have enjoyed my tutorial series on how to make viking knit and wire endcaps. Please take time to visit all three tutorials in the series for full instructions on how to make single knit, double and triple knit weaves.