Connie Fox Metal Jewelry










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Studio Tour - Pliers

Interested in purchasing Lindstrom pliers? We have them available in the Warehouse Store at great prices!


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.

To achieve more precision I remove the double-leaf spring located between the handles of my flat nose and chain nose pliers. My middle finger extends between the handles - I am thus able to manipulate the jaw extension by moving my middle finger towards and away from my wrist. I hope you can figure this one out because it is hard to expalin. Also, notice how close my index finger is to the jaws of the pliers. The closer your fingers are to your work the more control you  have.

The chain nose pliers are used to grip wire and to create bends that are less sharp than those made by flat nose pliers. I hold them in the same manner described above.


The round nose pliers are used to make curves, coils, and jump rings (those little circular links you see in most wire jewelry).  The pliers in the photo are small, 4.7" in length (spring not removed). I also use longer round nose pliers that are 6 inches long (spring removed). You may wonder why I remove the springs on some pliers and not on others. Merely, personal preference.


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.

  1. Use liver of sulfur to oxidize your jewelry. It masks those little imperfections.
  2. 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 jaws.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Coat your pliers with a plastic compound. I have not used these compounds so I can’t really say much more.
  6. Make sure there are no marks on your pliers – these will transfer right into your wire. Use fine sand paper to remove the marks.
  7. Use silicone carbide discs in various grits with your flex shaft to get rid of those nasty little marks.
  8. 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).

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