Monday, January 10, 2011

Basic Wire Skills for Jewelry Making Part 1 Tools

I will be posting a series of tutorials on basic wire skills for jewelry making. Part one will cover the tools required to make wire jewelry. Enjoy!

Let’s start with a brief list of tools that I consider “must-haves.”

Round Nose Pliers
These pliers have rounded tips that taper to a point. You use them to make loops

Long Nose or Flat Nose Pliers
My preference for these are flat nose pliers. They are flat and rectangular but don't come to a tapered point like long nose. You will need two of these so you can get one pair of  flat and one pair of long to see which one you prefer. These will be used to open and close jump rings. You need to twist jump rings open and closed which requires a pair of pliers on each side of the jumpring. These are also used for grasping the wire and I also use them for straightening wire.

Nylon Jaw Pliers
These are not an absolute must but they are nice to have. They are used to straighten wire.

Flush Cutters
There are many types of cutters for cutting metal and wire. The flush cutters have always been my favorite. I like that they are small and can get into tight places.

Small Hammer
I use a very lightweight hammer that I purchased from the scrapbook section of my craft store. It was sold to set eyelets. It has a flat surface on one side and a rounded surface on the other.

Nylon Hammer
Nylon hammers are for straightening metal without marring the surface. When you hammer metal, it becomes hardenened. The more you work with the metal and the more hammering you do the harder the metal becomes. This is called work hardening. You can actually hammer the metal to a point that it because too brittle to work with and will break.

Bench Block
A bench block is a smooth block of steel that you do all your hammering on. A great size to get started is
2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

Jeweler’s Saw & Blades
A jeweler's saw and blades are not absolutely essential for making wire jewelry but having them will allow you to make custom sized jump rings, allow you to make rivets and cut sheet metal and tubing.

Needle Files
Needle files are used for deburring the ends of wire.


Various Sized Mandrels
A mandrel is a rod that wire or metal is wrapped around. You can use it to form jump rings, or shape metal. It can be any shape or size. They don't necessarily need to be metal. Chopsticks, crochet hooks, pens and knitting needles make great mandrels for beginners. You will use these to create a coil that will be cut apart to create jump rings.

That's it for the tools. Look for my next posting which will the cover wire.


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