Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wire Working Tools

From time to time, I teach classes on wire working and jewelry making. Most recently, I taught at the Polymer Clay Guild. We had a great conversation on tools, and I promised to provide resource information. I thought readers of this blog may like them too. For a great two-page reference sheet on pliers, check out this.

The basic tools I recommend are:

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Bent Nose Pliers
  • Chain Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter

Optional but good to have
  • Wire Wrapping Pliers
  • Nylon-jaw Pliers
  • Crimping Pliers
  • Wire Gauge (not shown).

If you want to flatten or texture your wire, you will also want:
  • Steel bench block (My first one was 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" x 3/4"but I went back to buy a 5”x5”)
  • Hammer You can use almost any hammer, and it doesn’t have to be a big heavy one. To work-harden without texturing, you’ll want a hammer with a nylon tip or a rawhide mallet.

Where to buy

I find the “best bang for the buck” at Contenti, a resource for jewelry making supplies. They have quite a few pliers that are a very good quality for a very good price.

For tools and lots of nifty beads and supplies, I like Rings & Things. http://www.rings-things.com/

Finally, the two most mentioned suppliers mentioned by professional jewelers are Rio Grande and Thunderbird Supply.

(Disclosure: I do not work for any of these suppliers. I just like their stuff)

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