Wire wrapping is an essential skill in jewelry making, and the quality of your DIY jewelry is only matched by your skill and the appropriate tools that you have at your disposal. While you can wing some steps with general tools, it would be best to apply the right tool for the job depending on what you are trying to accomplish in the first place.
Types of Tools for Wire Wrapping
1. Round Nose Pliers
Round nose pliers are known for their sharp, cone-shaped levers are they are used mainly for creating fine loops and for curving the wire for various purposes. Round nose pliers are used mainly for wire wrapping in different kinds of projects, from the easiest ones to the most advanced pieces that only intermediate jewelry makers can tackle. Think of wrapped loops, briolettes, dangle earrings, and similar projects.
When selecting a pair of pliers for your workshop at home, pick a pair that can sit on your hands for long periods without tiring your hands out. Using the right kind of pliers will also ensure that your wrists are spared from a lot of stress, and you can easily recover from the work of the day even if you have been doing a lot of looping and wrapping.
2. Chain Nose Pliers
This type of pliers has tapered tips. You will notice that the terminal end of the pliers is smooth and flat, and the inside surface is not ridged as well. Chain nose pliers are designed not to bite metal hard, because this will leave marks.
There are no ridges as the ridges may cause damage to the delicate metals that we work with when we are working with jewelry. Pinch a wire with the wrong type of pliers and you can cut a wire and ruin a perfectly good bracelet or necklace.
Chains nose pliers are used mainly for the following: bending different kinds of wires, looping and tucking the ends of wires so they have a neat finish, repairing or correcting bends and kinks in the wire, etc. Do take note that this type of pliers is not ideal for making loops. Use round nose pliers for looping wires.
3. Flush Cutters
While in theory, all kinds of pliers can cut wires, they usually leave ragged and uneven ends when they do. If you want perfectly flush cuts that are smooth all the way, you will need a pair of flush cutters. Flush cutters are designed specifically to eliminate the bur on wires when they’re cut. Flush cutters can also be used to cut as close as possible, so you can conclude any wire wrapping like a pro. If you are tired of fixing or reworking the ends of your wires, you need flush cutters. When selecting one for your workshop, just make sure that it fits nicely in your hands and the blades are sharp. Take note also that there is no real substitute for jewelry wire cutters or flush cutters.
You can try to use a wire cutter meant for electrical applications but the accuracy and ease of use aren’t the same. You will also notice that jewelry wire cutters are designed to get in as close as possible to the tiniest wires, and their tips are also designed to grab quickly and cut fast, too. Also, the blades of flush cutters will provide you with an ideal flat surface instead of the pointed and punched ends common with ordinary wire cutters.
4. Flat Nose Pliers
There are two variants of flat nose pliers – the larger ones with the more formidable jaws and the thinner ones used for gripping thinner wires as well. We recommend getting both types of pliers and also get a pair that has a plastic head-on. Plastic head pliers are used to grabbing wires and other pieces of jewelry without leaving marks on the metal. If you are working with metals like gold and silver, it would be easy to mar the metal if you don’t have the right pliers. Plastic head pliers can be used generally across all your projects, so it is a great investment.
5. Bent Nose Pliers
Bent nose pliers are excellent for flattening the ends of cut wires. You can cut the wire with flush cutters, but for the flattening of the ends of the wire, you will need bent nose pliers. Many jewelers like bent nose pliers because it is easier to make fine movements with them, especially when you are looping and wrapping wire. If you have ever tried wrapping wire and making small, fine loops, you will know how exhausting it can be, generally, so having the right pair of pliers is essential.
6. Jewelry Mallet
A jewelry mallet is used to straighten wire without marring or destroying the wire. Jewelry requires fine crafting and damaging the metal is out of the question if you want your DIY jewelry to create good value for consumers. Jewelry mallets come in all shapes and sizes, and people usually go for rawhide mallets, plastic mallets, and rubber mallets. These mallets look a lot like the small meat hammers we use in the kitchen.
7. Polishing Tools
When you are dealing with wire, you will be dealing with rough edges, on the whole. You will need to invest in filing tools like sandpaper, metal files, and steel wool. Buy steel wool that is graded 00. As for the files, we recommend that you buy multiple files with different grades so you can just grab one that fits what you need to accomplish. Each project will be different and different kinds of burs and arrangements of the metal will create various challenges for you. You must be able to remove burs and sharp edges from all the metals that you work with.
Magnifiers are worn over the eyes and they help magnify whatever is on the table. While these are not super necessary, they help a lot especially when you are wrapping metal and performing the most important steps in construction.
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