- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Bezels
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- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Cold Connections
- New DVD Series – Stone Setting with Wire
- NEW DVD Series: Introduction to Stone Setting by Kim St. Jean
- Featured Tool: Bracelet Bending Plier
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Daily Wire Tip: Wire Jewelry Tool Care
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
I’m just getting started in wire jewelry and have a selection of beautiful new (and expensive) tools. Can you give me some tips for keeping my tools in prime condition?
What a great ‘first-time’ question! Yes, it doesn’t matter how much your jewelry making pliers cost, they are the means to your end and need to be properly cared for. There are several ways to do just this:
1. Make sure the wire you are using a specific tool on is not too large or heavy for it, as I have seen many different pair of flat nose, round nose and chain nose pliers destroyed by having been forced to perform a technique they were not designed to do. For example, if a pair of needle nose round or chain pliers are used on a heavy wire, their tips will never line up again, as their joint has been bent and their symmetry compromised.
2. The same goes for wire cutters and the temper or hardness of a wire; if a material such as steel or memory wire is cut with your good cutters (whose blades are not meant for such brutality) you will find small divots in their jaws, where the overly hard wire has destroyed the blade. Choose a heavy-duty pair of cutters to cut heavy wire.
3. Rust is the main culprit to watch out for as we use metal tools, and in most parts of the world humidity is a factor. Be sure to keep your tools dry and when storing them in a toolbox, add a silicon gel pac (saved from the many items we purchase today from shoes to computers).
4. Try to keep your tools clean, meaning not left on the floor or a carpet, as small fibers can become caught in their joints, and will eventually make them more difficult to use as fibers and dust will ‘clog up the gears’ so to speak.
5. Some folks like to coat their metal tools with WD-40 or another lubricant, however this will also spread to your hands, wire, etc. (so I choose not to).
6. Do not use your jewelry making pliers for anything except making jewelry! (This means not letting family members use them for other chores.) All in all, using common sense will help to keep your tools in great working order. Choose the right tool for the right job/wire size, hardness, and you will enjoy using them for a very long time!
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
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