Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk
by Kristal Wick
Maybe it's just me, but when I was just starting out in the wonderful world of jewelry making - specifically wire, I had NO idea what all those tools were for! Some days I still see one; I cock my head to the side and ponder, "What the heck is that one for?" So, I thought I'd dive in and give you my two cents on what tools you need to get started. I always suggest purchasing the best tools you can afford at the time. Tool sets are an easy way to enter this playground. Over time you will discover nuances you didn't even know existed, such as short tool handles vs. long tool handles--what do you prefer? There are many more tools on the market and we'll cover those later, but I wanted to start with the basics and clear up any confusion, so here they are:
Flush Cutters
Wire cutters cut wire - pretty simple, right? So why are there so many different types out there? Here's the #411: cut wire, headpins, eyepins, leather cord and jewelry stringing thread/wire with these babies.

TIP: Make sure the flat side of the cutter is closest to the wire edge you wish to cut off. You'll forget this a few times and then it will be a habit, trust me!

TIP2: DON'T use these on Memory Wire or you'll cry (see below).
Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Flush Cutters, Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, flush cutters
Round-nose pliers
I think I use my round nose pliers the most when wire working and I have ummmmm...7 different pairs! Each one is slightly different and I use them for specific jobs. Once you get some mileage under your belt on wire working, you'll understand what I mean and also become a "collector" but for now you only need to start with one pair.

This tool is how you make simple loops and shape anything round or curved. See how to do it here:

https://www.wirejewelry.com/jewelry_making_videos/Perfect-Simple-Loop_14.html

You have total freedom as to what size in making your loops since the tool is tapered from small (the tip of the pliers) to large (closer to the handle).
Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Round-nose pliers, Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, round nose pliers
Chain-nose pliers
The second runners up in frequency of use are these bad boys. They look like Round Nose Pliers except the inside of the jaws are flat which make them work well for gripping wire and opening and closing jump rings. See how to do it here:

https://www.wirejewelry.com/jewelry_making_videos/Making-Jump-Rings_17.html

Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Chain-nose pliers, Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, chain nose pliers
Nylon Jaw Pliers
These are great for straightening wire as well as working wire without scratching the surface. You'll find them critical when working with softer wires such as sterling silver.
Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Nylon Jaw Pliers, Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, nylon jaw pliers
Step square-nose pliers (3-step flat-nose pliers)
These are great for making 90-degree angles and corners. They come in handy when you are bending wide wire bundles (numerous wires laying next to each other). You can make square jump rings and bend sheet metal into square shapes with these pliers.
Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Step square-nose pliers (3-step flat-nose pliers), Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, 3 step square nose
Crimping Tool
This tool is used to crimp beads and tubes on the end of your beading wire to keep the beads in place. They're like little stoppers on your beading wire and can be left as is or you can cover them with crimp covers. See how to crimp here:

https://www.wirejewelry.com/jewelry_making_tips_techniques/Making-Perfect-Crimps_289.html

You may be tempted to forgo the crimper and just use flat nose pliers to "smash" a crimp closed. BEWARE! This is a most unprofessional practice and you'll end up with sharp edges that will cut and possibly sever the wire over time.
Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Crimping Tool, Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, crimper
Memory Wire Cutters
As I mentioned earlier, you'll need these if you wish to do any memory wire jewelry making. I actually put my other wire cutters away when working with memory wire so I don't accidentally grab the wrong cutter. If you do (and I assure you, it will only happen once), your cutter will have a permanent gauge that will interfere with your work moving forward resulting in a new purchase!
Kristal Wick's Calling all Newbies ... Tool Talk - Memory Wire Cutters, Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, memory wire cutters
Safety Glasses
These are a MUST! When you work with wire you'll be hammering, snipping, cutting with abandon, tiny (and not so tiny) pieces of wire will fly everywhere and you don't want to damage your eyes or anyone sitting near you. DON'T wear these and I guarantee you'll lose friends quickly.
So there are the basic tools for getting started in wire working. Main focus is to have fun and take heart; your journey unfolds with your skills getting more refined with practice (and your tool collection growing).

Creatively,

Kristal

Materials

Wire
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Sheet
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Beads
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Cabochons
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Tools

WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
G15-20
  • G15-20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $170.72
  • Gold Club Price: $128.04
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Xuron Flush Cutter - Pack of 1
G2-504
  • G2-504
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.96
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4.5 Inch Round Nose Pliers
G2-12
  • G2-12
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $3.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.98
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Acculoop Precision Round Nose
PLR-741.00
  • PLR-741.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.97
  • Gold Club Price: $14.23
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3 Step Square Pliers
G2-505
  • G2-505
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $37.95
  • Gold Club Price: $28.46
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Chain Nose Wire Plier
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Memory Wire Cutters - Pack of 1
G2-36
  • G2-36
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $10.38
  • Gold Club Price: $7.78
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Mighty Crimper
PLR-584.00
  • PLR-584.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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Original Bead Crimper
PLR-585.00
  • PLR-585.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $12.97
  • Gold Club Price: $9.73
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5 Inch Bent Nose Pliers
G2-125
  • G2-125
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $3.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.98
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  • Category: Tools
  • Technique(s): Tools