In order to start working with wire and bead jewelry, it is necessary to begin to collect some specialized tools. You will discover that using the proper tools for your projects can mean the difference between an enjoyable project, and utter frustration.
Chain nose pliers are a very versatile tool, most commonly used for gripping and manipulating wire, head pins and eye pins, as well as opening and closing jump rings and earring wires. These pliers look similar to “needle nose” pliers that can be purchased at the hardware store – with two important differences. The jaws of chain nose pliers are shorter, making them easier to work with – and the surface on the inside of the jaws is completely smooth, not serrated. This is extremely important, to avoid marring and scratching your wire as you work with it.
Round nose pliers, on the other hand, are not so good for holding wire, but are essential for creating consistent, well shaped bends and loops. The jaws are solid round metal that are thickest at the base, and taper to be thinnest at the tip. Where you work the wire on the jaws determines the size of your loops and bends. They are also completely smooth, to prevent scratches. Be careful not to grip too hard with these pliers – you can still put little dents in your wire because the surfaces of the jaws are rounded and not flat.
A note on jump rings: Remember I mentioned you need two pairs of chain nose pliers? This is specifically to properly open and close jump rings and similar loops. Jump rings should never be pulled or pried apart – that ruins the shape and can also weaken the metal. Hold your jump ring with two pairs of chain nose pliers, one on either side of the opening. Gently twist the ends apart to open the ring, and similarly twist the ends back together to close it.