For the beginning jewelry maker, it may become overwhelming to see the more than dozen plier options available to you on the shelf. Taking some time to understand what each type of jewelry making pliers are used for will help save you some time and direct you to the right essential tool kit for your newly discovered hobby. For those that may have been doing jewelry making for some time, this will serve as a great refresher for what you have stored in your supply case.
Basic Jewelry Making Pliers for Beginners
For the basic jewelry maker, there are only a handful of pliers you need to get started. If you visit your local craft store, you may be fortunate enough to find these in an already placed together set with storage case.
1. Flush Cutters
Flush cutters are listed as one of the basic essentials for trimming headpins, eyepins, and beading wire. Providing a flat surface on one side, these are great for getting a clean edge when you cut. For metal wire, the other side of these pliers create a “V” shape. To maintain accuracy with these cutters, place the waste end of the wire towards the concave side.
2. Flat Nose Pliers
A pair of flat nose pliers are almost required for handling wire, holding beads and components to prevent scratching and make it easier to bead. With a flat inside surface to work with, these are a great option for stabilizing jump rings, flattening wire, and handling the construction of your design. Many variations of flat nose pliers are available in the market with different sizes and shapes. For shorter versions, the jewelry maker will be provided with more strength and stability. A longer nose pair will provide increased reach.
3. Round Nose Pliers
These types of pliers are a must have for any jewelers tool kit. These allow you to many multi diameter loops for working with headpins, eyepins, and wire wrapping. When curving loops with a set of round nose pliers, use a permanent marker to mark the point of the jaws and maintain the same repeated shape each time. When a project is finished, simply remove the marker with some rubbing alcohol.
4. Chain Nose Pliers
These essential pliers are a variation of the flat nose pliers, but provide a narrow tip that allows the jewelry to reach small places, difficult angles, and grip well. As with the flat nose pair, a short nose set of chain nose pliers offer increased strength and durability while the length of it provides more reach.
5. Crimping Pliers
Crimping pliers are an essential item to beaders that are looking to string beads. These are intended to work with crimp beads or tubes used to secure your wire to a closure. The jaws of crimping pliers have two notches. The first forms an “O” shape when closed and the other is a “U” shape. When you crimp, it is a two step process, first crimping the bead into a “U” shape before turning the “U” at a 180 degrees forming a “C” shape. This is than placed in the “O” shape notch to be further secured and wrapped around when squeezed.
Great Add-Ons to Your Basic Toolkit
If you find yourself starting to enjoy jewelry making and want to add on to your basic plier toolkit, here are some great add-ons to keep an eye out for.
1. Curved Chain Nose Pliers
Just as the name states, these are an additional variation of the chain nose pliers, offering a curved narrow tip that reaches into tight places without blocking your line of vision. These are a great option for gripping closures and components, closing jump rings, or bending wire.
2. End Cutting Nippers
These pliers provide an ideal choice for cutting the post off of earstuds, trimming the pegs, and more. High quality choiced nippers are made with lap joints and polished heads that aim to prevent marking soft metals and surfaces.
3. Loop Closing Pliers
A set of loop closing pliers will help the jewelry maker to smoothly close loops, jump rings, links, and other key components and findings. The jaws in the grove allow various curvatures of different sized loops to be closed without scratching or distorting the materials for a smooth finish.
4. Rosary Pliers
These pliers serve a two in one purpose as a combination of round nose pliers and side cutting pliers. This single pair allows the jewelry maker to create loops and curves, trim metal and beading wire. These serve as the perfection option for projects that require repetitive work.
5. Split Ring Pliers
The split ring pliers were specifically designed for opening split rings up enough to slide them onto the end of a finding and close them back without hassle or distorting. An important tool for those that use a lot of split rings with their projects.
Pliers for Different Jewelry Making Techniques
There are many facets of jewelry making you can take. Some may enjoy stringing while others may enjoy manipulating wire into shapes. Here is a listing of pliers you will need for different jewelry making techniques.
1. Gem Setting Pliers
These specialty pliers are designated to be used on gemstone settings for tightening the prongs. With great leverage, the parallel action jaws can be adjusted to the exact width needed. Once the width is set, these will ensure that excess force does not occur when setting the stone.
2. Memory Wire Shears
Made specifically to cut hard wires such as steel memory wire and precious metals, memory wire shears allow a straight flat cut to occur. These are a great option for headpins as well. Designed with spring return handles, these pliers as very easy to use.
3. Wire Wrapping Pliers
Wire wrapping pliers are designed in three different sizes ranging from 4mm, 6mm, to 8mm to create the perfect loop. These are intended to be used for wire wrapping, making simple wrapped loops, and creating jump rings.
4. Nylon Jaw Pliers
These are a must have for wire wrappers and other jewelry makers that want to prevent the marring of round and square surfaces of precious and base metal wires. These are used similarly to flat nose pliers and are a great tool for straightening bends and kinks in wire.
5. Stringing Wire Nippers
These nippers are designs to easily cut through steel reinforced thread, making wire flush with a crimp bead. Made with plastic covered handles for an easy grip, the hardened jaws are ground flush on one side.
6. Thread Clippers
These specifically design tool is made for quick snipping action, with no finger holes. Easy to use for any level jewelry maker, the spring action handles and sharp blades made this a necessary tool for those that do beadweaving and create with thread.