Page 23      Jewelry Making with Beads and Wire -- What a Beginner Needs to Know


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Tools You Will Want  -- The Jewelry Making Tool Box

Here are a list of the jewelry making tools that you will ultimately want.  These tools are not required for a beginner.  When you are a beginner you need to be frugal and careful in the selection of your tools.  As you become more experienced you will find that these tools are very helpful for making professional quality jewelry.
  1. Round Nose Pliers.  With round nose pliers, the thinner the tip, the better.  The best round nose pliers available on the market have been the Lindstrom Ergonomic Handle Round Nose Pliers.  We at WigJig have just developed round nose pliers with the same functionality at a fraction of the price.  These round nose pliers are item 4001 in our Internet store
  2. Bent Chain Nose Pliers.  With chain nose pliers, like round nose pliers, the thinner the tip, the better.  In this case "Bent"  chain nose pliers are preferred because the pliers are bent and your wrist is straight when you use them.  The best Bent Chain Nose Pliers that we have found were made specifically at our request.  We call them Bent Chain Nose Pliers -- WigJig and they are Item 4002 in our Internet store.  We use two of these.
  3. Flush Cutter.  Our experience with a flush cutters is that the best ones cut the most flush (flat) and therefore require less filing of the ends.  Our personal preference is the Flush Cutter-Ultra.  This Italian made cutter cuts flush and is made of hardened steel so it stays sharp longer than most others.  The flush cutter ultra is item 0356 in our Internet store
  4. Nylon Jaw Pliers.  Our experience is that all nylon jaw pliers are great and they all wear out over time.  For this reason, replacement jaws are a nice feature.  Our Nylon Jaw Pliers-Thin Nose are very good nylon jaw pliers.  They are item 4004 in our Internet store
  5. Step Jaw Pliers.  As you make more and more jewelry, you will want to make your pieces more consistently.  One tool that helps significantly with being consistent is the Step Jaw Pliers.  We use these pliers to make initial loop and sometimes the final loops in jewelry wire components.  With three steps they can make three different sizes of loops.  With one jaw being flat these pliers have the other advantage that they do not mark the outside of the loops you make.  Our Fine Step Jaw Pliers were specifically made to make a loop the size of a WigJig Delphi or Cyclops peg (1/16") with the first step.  The second step in these pliers makes a loop the size of a Olympus or Electra peg (3/32").  The third step makes a loop bigger still (9/64").  We recommend this tool for making your initial loops.  The Fine Step Jaw Pliers are item 4003 in our Internet store.  Please note -- this tool is not appropriate for making wrapped loops.  You will still need round nose pliers. 
  6. Loop Closing Pliers/Bent Closing Pliers.  As a beginner you will find that the loops you make have small openings that you will want to close.  Again, as with chain nose pliers, the best loop closing pliers are bent.  We recommend Bent Closing Pliers - Premium.  These pliers are item 4005 in our Internet store
  7. WigJig.  Most of our jewelry projects can benefit from using one of our WigJig tools with some accessories.  Please visit this web page to view information on our tools and accessories including each tools strengths.  For making jewelry, we recommend our WigJig Centaur, item 2983 in our Internet store.  We also recommend our Spiral Maker for the Centaur, item 0046 in our Internet store.
  8. Super Pegs.  For making rounded shapes our Super Pegs are a must have item.  They can support making loops as small as 3/16" up to as large as 2".  We frequently find that our patterns require us to use two of the smaller sizes of Super Pegs to make shapes that have two loops the same size.  Our best value for purchasing our Super Pegs is to purchase our Premium Set for the jig you have.  For our WigJig Centaur recommended above the appropriate Premium Set is item 3205 in our Internet store
  9. Chasing Hammer.  Many jewelry designs will not require a hammer, but some will.  Most designs for making one piece earrings (earring body and ear wire in one wire component), will require the use of a chasing hammer and anvil to harden the rounded portion of the wire component that goes through the ear.  Any chasing hammer with a smooth face will work well.  With chasing hammers, the edge of the hammer can possibly make marks of the surface of the wire you are hammering.  For this reason, the larger the head on the hammer, the better.  We recommend our 1 1/4" chasing hammer, item 0353 in our Internet store
  10. Nylon Hammer.  Some projects require hardening without changing the shape of the wire.  Chasing hammers will slightly flatten the surface of the wire when they are used.  For those projects where you don't want this flattening, we recommend a nylon hammer.  Our nylon hammer economy, item 3220 works great.  Please note that we do not recommend dual purpose hammers, one head a chasing hammer and the other head a nylon hammer.  These tools generally do only an adequate job of each function. 
  11. Anvil.  Any anvil with a smooth surface will do.  Our Anvil - Bargain will work fine. Our Bargain Anvil is item 2911 in our Internet store
  12. Metal Ruler.  A ruler is probably the first tool you will use in any jewelry project.  Measuring wire before you cut it is always good practice.  You need a ruler that has measurements in both mm and inches.  The ruler that we recommend is item 0345 in our Internet store
  13. Cup Bur.  The cup bur is a tool that rounds and removes any burs from the end of wire that has been cut.  Most wire components are completed with the end of the wire hidden in the piece frequently in a loop.  These components do not require any additional work.  Some wire components however, like ear wires, leave the end of the wire visible and exposed.  For any pieces where the end of the wire is exposed, we use a Cup Bur tool to round the end of the wire.  You can see how to use the cup bur here.  We sell two styles of Cup Bur tools.  The Cup Bur Economy (Item 0303) has a wooden handle and one Cup Bur bit.  The Cup Bur Premium (Item 0387) comes with 6 Cup Bur bits, but must these bits must be held in a Pin Vise (Item 0388) to use.  Cup Bur bits wear out over time, so plan on replacing the bit after extended use.  With the Cup Bur Economy you replace the bit by buying a new tool and discarding the old one. 
  14. Practice Wire.  We can debate whether it is a tool or a supply, the bottom line is that practice wire in a variety of gauges is required.  We recommend making any new wire component at least three times in practice wire before you cut your good wire.  For practice wire we recommend item 2777 in our Internet store.  This is a combination of 18, 20, 22 and 24 gauge wire in a single package at a very affordable price. 

You can find any of these tools by searching on the item number in our Internet store.

This is the set of jewelry tools that were actually used to make the jewelry shown in our web site.  All of these tools were selected because in our opinion they are the best tools available for doing the job. 

You can view all the jewelry making tools that we recommend in one place in our Internet store here.

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View our Free Jewelry Making Instructions     Jewelry Making Skills     Jewelry Making Supplies     Jewelry Making Tools

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