Daily Wire Tip May 16: How to Keep From Scratching Wire

By on May 16, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
May 16, 2010


I can’t seem to keep from scratching or nicking the wire when I wrap.  I have very shaky hands, but I refuse to give up.  Would a nylon tip pliers help when pulling the wires on a cabochon?


I admire your determination. My advise would be to cover the tips of the pliers you use most often for this one procedure with a single layer of tape, as it is my opinion that nylon jaw pliers are too wide and thick to grasp that top wire tightly enough to do a good job.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

Have a question? Submit your question here


  1. avatar

    Jacalyn Pillion

    May 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I use a product called “Tool Magic” to avoid nicking and scratching my wire. It is a liquid rubber coating that comes in a jar. You dip your tool tips into the liquid and then remove them. When it dries you have a nice thin layer of rubber coating on your tools. The rubber coating peels off nicely when you want to remove it. And, you can reapply when needed. Hope this is helpful to you. Don’t give up!

  2. avatar

    Ginni Tutterow

    May 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I am an experienced wire worker, and I’ve learned not to nick the wire with my tools…but there are exceptions. Sometimes, I have found the problem to be with a pliers that has VERY sharp edges. If the plier edges feel sharp to my hand, I’ll hit them with a metal file a couple times and “knock the edge off”. That’s fixed the last couple issues that have cropped up.

  3. avatar


    May 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Hello, I find Tool Magic gives me less fine movement with my tools and it is hard for me to take off. It seemed necessary after each tool usage. Dale’s recommendation of the tape works well for me. it still needs to be reapplied. I use masking tape. You can also try to gently use a file to remove the marks. Tumbling also helps.

  4. avatar

    Janet K. Cozzens

    May 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I too use Tool Magic. It provides just a tiny bit of a rubber coating and I find it to be a wonderful product. You still have plenty of grip with your pliars without the marring that you get sometimes when you ‘tip’ your wire a little too hard or ‘place’ your wire with a little too much force. I found it to be a life saver wen I first began to wire wrap. It saved many things that I know I would have had to just scrap otherwise. It is very simple to use and worth the time it takes to coat your tools with.

  5. avatar

    Alex Netherton

    May 17, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Don’t really understand quite what you are doing, but…
    Packing tape is something I use from time to time. However, I find that slowing down a little helps me. My hands shake when I get nervous while working on some projects, and I have to slow down and rest from time to time. Only use enough grip to make the wire do what you want. Use your bare fingers as much as possible. Make sure the jaws of the pliers are smooth. Get some fine Swiss files for places where you grip the wire too tightly and the pliers *snap!* off (I HATE that sound!).
    Keep at it, and build your confidence.

  6. avatar


    May 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I used to have the same problem and I agree, tape will help. However, somewhere in Dale’s writings I read where she says not to ‘cheat your wire,’ i.e., make sure you have enough wires in your bundle to span the sides of the cab. Since reading that, I’ve been very careful to use enough wires for the thickest area of the cab since most of mine are freeform or non-calibrated. Voila, no more nicks when pulling.

    I’ve also found that working off the stone when possible makes pulling wires a lot easier and requires less force. Thus, there is far less chance of damaging the wire. Working off the stone may be a help for you since your hands are shaky.

  7. avatar


    May 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Wow…some great replies on this problem. Thanks everyone for throwing out these tidbits of knowledge. I get in a hurry at times and dang if I don’t nip my wires so I have learned to slow down or put it down and come back, etc.

  8. avatar


    July 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I am a newbee with working with wire. I have made other jewelery before. but not to this magnitude. However I just finished my first Cab…other than some marring, it turn out great. I’m trying to learn a new trade, too help my husband supplement our income. The Steel Plant he worked at has shut for good.. ( RG Steele at the Sparrows Point Plant in Baltimore,Md.) He’s worked as a Railroad Engineer/conductor for the past 17 years. He’s been looking for work for a year.
    So that brings me here to ask questions and pick the brains of all the experience jewelery makers working with wire
    Did I say I’m hooked on wire jewelery making? Well I am!!!. This Artisan stuff is great
    I love design, as i am very experience in that field ,and this is very exciting to me.
    I love to see the actual design of something that is in my head or drawn on paper, come to life in a three D form..
    Well, here is my first question.
    What tools are best for working with wire?
    Like i said earlier, I did have the marring problem, and I read the suggestions to help that, however dose using better tools prevent marring? I realize it’s a technique that I must practice for example lighter pressure on the wire, let the wire do the work someone told me?
    Thanking you ahead of time for any help, suggestion, or techniques info.
    Debs :)

  9. avatar


    July 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Sorry, I know WHAT tools to use. What I meant to say is:
    As far as quality…what brand is best?

  10. avatar

    Rickey Natsis

    December 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Lol awesome post :). Thanks for this, I visit your website every day. Please keep up the great work.