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Daily Wire Tip August 4: Lindstrom or Swanstrom Pliers?
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
August 4, 2011
Dale, I’ve read your posts and articles about tools and have a question. I noticed you recommend the Swanstrom brand of pliers and am wondering what the difference and benefits are as opposed to Lindstrom. My husband bought me an entire set of Lindstrom pliers for Christmas one year and I love them. Are Swanstrom pliers better quality/comfort-wise than Lindstrom?
-Traci in Palmer, Alaska
Hi Traci, tools really are a personal preference, depending on the style of wire jewelry you want to make. I know a lot of folks who have only used Lindstrom tools for creating wire jewelry using mostly round wire in a variety of gauges. These same people have tried Swanstrom when making wire pieces using square and half round wire and now own both brands! They still prefer Lindstrom for their round wire but enjoy the benefits and ease of using Swanstrom for square wire designs.
The reason is that when you most often use square and half-round wire, you need a perfect pair of flat nose pliers. In my opinion, flat nose pliers need to have very smooth jaws, and need to be perfectly flat and square, as well as have a gentle graduation from about 1mm to 3mm as the jaw forms from the tip toward the handle. The width across the tip of flat nose pliers should be no wider than 3mm. When making a hook at the end of a piece of either square or half-round wire (that is meant to begin a wrap across a square wire bundle of 2 or more wires) the hook needs to be as close to the size of the width of the bundle as possible. In this way, the hook will not slip when beginning the wrap. When wrap wire is bent over the jaw of flat nose pliers, it should be perfectly straight, and not have even the subtlest hint of a curve. This feature will also help a single or segments of wraps slip while you are working, or after the project is done. If you look at the sides of both brand named flat nose pliers, you will notice that the Swanstrom flats are perfectly square, smooth and flat while the Lindstrom flats have a duck shaped jaw with a divot in the side.
Now although both brands of tools are a bit pricey, I firmly believe that having one good pair of flat nose pliers is imperative to executing great traditional wire jewelry techniques (using a majority of square and half-round wire). As a wire jewelry instructor for more than 16 years, I have seen many students struggle in my classroom with what I would consider the wrong tool for the job. It doesn’t matter how expensive the tool is, but it must do what you choose it to do! I then loaned these students what I consider a good tool for the job and the difference was amazing!
Dale’s frequently-used flat nose pliers (Swanstrom pair is in the middle)
As you can see in the photo, I personally use a LOT of different pliers, including 5 different flat nose styles. Traci, I do appreciate your question and I guess my summary would be to use whichever brand that suits you, for the specific job at hand!
How about my fellow wire jewelry artists? Will you share your favorite tool with us, and why it’s your favorite? (This could be fun-Thanks!!)
Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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