Wire Work Tools - More Useful Pliers
In the first article in this series we discussed two important tools for wire jewelry making: wire cutters and chain nose pliers. Now let's take a look at some other tools I strongly recommend for your collection.
Round Nose Pliers
Round nose pliers have solid, conical jaws that are smaller at the tips than at the base. These are essential for making wire loops. The sizes of loops you can make with a given pair depends on the diameter of the jaws. Very basic models are often available at craft stores and even some drug stores. These have jaws sized according to the most common loop sizes you'll make as a beginner.
If you decide to work with very small gauge wire in the future, you may want to make the tiniest loops possible. You can purchase specialty round nose pliers with especially fine tips from most major jewelry suppliers.
Nylon Jaw Pliers
Although I typically indicate that nylon jaw pliers are "optional" for my projects, I believe they are worthwhile to always have on hand. These pliers tend to be larger and thicker than most of the other types, and their jaws are padded with soft but solid pads of nylon. These pads usually are removable and can be replaced when they wear out.
The original purpose of nylon jaw pliers was to help avoid scratching or marring soft metals. But in jewelry making, we use them primarily to smooth out bends and kinks in wire. This is done by holding the wire in the jaws and pulling the jaws along the length of the wire.
Nylon jaw pad usually last for a long time when used for this purpose. Avoid exposing them to heat (do not use them to hold recently torched metal, for example) and keep them away from any other hobbyists in your house, who may use them a little more ruggedly.
Flat nose pliers have long, flat jaws that do not taper at the ends like chain nose pliers do. It's important to choose a pair that have smooth - not serrated - jaws. To find these, you may need to shop at a jewelry supply store, rather than the local hardware. These pliers are useful for opening and closing larger jump rings, holding loops while wrapping, and making flat coils.
Chris Franchetti Michaels is a writer and jewelry artisan specializing in beaded designs, wire work, and metal fabrication. She is the author of the books Teach Yourself Visually: Jewelry Making and Beading, Beading Quick Tips, and Wire Jewelry Quick Tips. Visit her website BeadJewelry.net for more jewelry-making help and inspiration.
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Making Colorful Wire & Beaded Jewelry - Book Review
Wire Work Tools - Cutters & Chain Nose Pliers
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