Stop Marring Your Wire and Jump Rings
by Kylie Jones
There are various ways you can ensure that your tools are not leaving nicks and scratches on your work. Here are just a few.
Instructions
There are a couple of different reasons you may be getting tool marks and nicks on your wire and rings. Firstly, it could be that you are transferring marks that are already on your pliers. Check the inside jaws for smoothness. I use a nail board to keep mine smooth. I don’t buff them with the finest side of the nail board as tools that have a really shiny surface can slip on the wire more easily. Don’t try this for the first time on your really expensive pliers, get used to modifying your pliers with a cheaper pair.

The sides of your pliers can also mark wire and rings if they have a sharp edge. I slightly round the sharp flat edges of my pliers on the sides and the front so that the sharp angle of the edges is smooth and doesn’t close directly onto the wire. A bit like how a chasing hammer with a rounded face doesn’t have the edge hitting the wire. Again try this for the first time on cheaper pliers, a little at a time. A nail board or sanding stick will give you a consistent angle in filing.

Gripping the wire really tightly can cause tool marks, particularly with round nose pliers. Try and work out how much pressure is just enough to achieve what you are doing. Try moving the wire and not the pliers. Ergonomic pliers allow you to exert more force with less effort and this can be a problem in marring your work.

With chain maille, having to hold the weight of your work with your pliers while closing rings causes you to use more force. Resting the weight of the work on your bench instead of holding it in the air can help.

These pliers are both new. The one on the left I have filed with a nail board. You can see the sharp angles are gone and the surface feels smooth to the touch.
Kylie Jones's Stop Marring Your Wire and Jump Rings - , Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, pliers
Cushioning and covering the metal surface of pliers stops the marks on your work but does take away a little of the sensitivity of working directly on the metal. This is pretty easy to do with products like tool magic or other rubber coatings, where you simply dip the pliers into the jar and allow them to dry thoroughly.
Tape like masking or painters tape, also plastic electrical tape, is cheaper with no fumes but is more fiddly.

Pliers dipped in Tool Magic.
Kylie Jones's Stop Marring Your Wire and Jump Rings - , Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, pliers
The other option is pliers with nylon jaws. The downside is the loss of sensitivity but pliers with one jaw metal and one jaw plastic can be a good mix.
Two types of nylon jaw pliers.
Kylie Jones's Stop Marring Your Wire and Jump Rings - , Tools For Wire Jewelry, Tools, nylon jaw pliers

Materials

Wire
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Tools

Scotch 0.94 Inch Painters Tape for Taping Wires Together
G13-5
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
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Nylon Flat Pliers-Ergo
PLR-275.30
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  • Category: Tools
  • Technique(s): Tools