Get to Know Your Hand Tools – Looping and Mandrel

By on May 30, 2017
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by Judy Ellis,

Wire Jewelry Tip for May 30th, 2017

Get to Know Your Hand Tools – Looping and Mandrel

by Helen I. Driggs


I think of looping pliers as mandrels on a handle. There are many styles of looping pliers on the market now, and many shapes are available to choose from too. Some looping pliers have stepped jaws — meaning you have the option of creating several diameters or widths of loop all from the same set of pliers. Choose from round, oval, square, triangle, cone and half-round jaw shapes for the largest selection of loop creation, and then use the coiled wires you create for jump rings, links or bails, and hand saw those rings for the cleanest finish, please.

What to look for when buying loopers:

As with any pliers, look for sturdy construction, ergonomic handles, and hardened steel jaws. If I intend to hammer-harden the coiled wire on the plier jaws, I also prefer a box-joint construction. I am also pretty particular about plier grips, and choose latex-free whenever possible.


My favorite use of looping pliers is creating custom jump rings. For double fun, I texture wire first, then anneal and pickle it, and then create my jump rings. Nothing says custom jewelry more than hand-textured, hand-fabricated jump rings.

I try to purchase a range of sizes restricted to one shape rather than different shapes of the same size. The reason is the ability to create a graduated series of loops for making graduated chains.

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to put a drop of light sewing machine oil on the joints of you pliers to keep the action smooth and the joint rust free. Take care of your tools, and they will take care of you.

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Above are come of our Looping Pliers that can be found on our website!


Happy Wrapping!

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