The first pair of pliers I purchased cost $8.00 and lasted less than a month
before the tips bent. They ended up being the most expensive pair of pliers
I have ever owned. Learning the hard way is tried and true, and after this
initial effort to economize, I purchased Sandvik-Lindstrom pliers. Among the
finest tools in the world, Lindstrom pliers allow precision work with a
minimum of hand fatigue. Round nose, flat nose, and chain nose are the only
pliers necessary to create a whole array of complex wire designs. The flat
nose pliers that you see to the left make angles and are great grippers.
The number one question I am asked in e-mail correspondence
is how to prevent marks on the wire made from pliers. There is
no easy answer to this question, but, I will offer few thoughts.
The quality of your pliers make a difference. My first set of
pliers made my wire look like it went through a meat grinder.
Hardened tool steel (the more expensive choice) produces cleaner
work than stainless steel pliers (the less expensive choice).
Lindstrom tools utilize the hardest steel available and then
they even make it harder through the process of salt quenching.
Another factor has to do with how much experience you have
in wire work. You remember learning to drive, right? Remember
over-steering, those teeth chattering stops at the signal, and
lunging forward like you were in the Indy 500? Well, this learning
process applies to wire too. With time, you discover just how
much pressure is needed to achieve the end result. Too much pressure
means more marks on your wire.
This factor is important. If you are too much of a perfectionist,
you will see marks that no one notices without magnifiers. Are
you driving yourself crazy? You probably need to apply less pressure
on yourself, not the pliers.
Here are some methods of minimizing marks, hiding them, or
getting rid of them.
- Use liver of sulfur to oxidize your jewelry. It masks those
- Use forming pliers when making curves (loops) in the wire.
With these pliers one jaw is round and the other is flat. This
minimizes the pinch on the wire from holding it with 2 round
- Use parallel pliers when making spirals. This unique design
allows you to open the jaws parallel to each other, thus avoiding
the little pinch factor from the inside area of the jaws.
- Use nylon jaw pliers. These do not provide a strong grip
on the wire. I do love to use these pliers to straighten wire,
especially in the smaller gauges.
- Coat your pliers with a plastic compound. I have not used
these compounds so I cant really say much more.
- Make sure there are no marks on your pliers these
will transfer right into your wire. Use fine sand paper to remove
- Use silicone carbide discs in various grits with your flex
shaft to get rid of those nasty little marks.
- Those small divots in your wire can be filed away with
need files. Start with a coarse file (#0) and work down to a
fine file (#4).