How Safe Are Your Beading Tools…Really?

Who would have thought that you need a first aid kit for beading?

True story: the other day, I was browsing in my local big-box craft store for some supplies I needed to finish a project before a deadline. Thinking ahead to some future blogs for Beading Daily, I started looking at some of the jewelry-making tools and beading tools. I selected some metal working tools and metal jewelry supplies, including a chasing hammer. There were two of them on the shelf, and one had a loose handle. I picked up the other one, which seemed to have its handle firmly attached to the head of the hammer.

When I got to the checkout, the cashier began ringing me up. When she got to the chasing hammer, she put it aside and told me that she couldn't sell it to me because it had been recalled for safety reasons.

Really? What were those reasons? I asked.

The handle comes loose from the head of the hammer, she said.

Well, after I bust out laughing, I started to think about the beading tools that we use every day. I was so excited to write about the safety of our beading tools that I rushed back to the car where I had stashed my notebook, threw open the notebook, and…gave myself a huge paper cut.

Bloody notebook pages aside, I wanted to take a look at how safe my beading tools actually are.

These innocent beading needles might once have been considered instruments of torture during the Cold War.

Beading needles.  Sure, I've seen people suggest using dental floss threaders or pieces of beading wire folded in half as a way to move their beading thread through their beads. But 99% of us use beading needles as the primary vehicle for stitching those teeny, tiny beads together. And those beading needles are SHARP!

My husband discovered just how sharp those beading needles are one morning when he woke up with a slight throbbing pain in his hand. Looking to see what was causing it, he noticed one of my size 11 beading needles inserted in the webbing between his fingers. Ouch. He said it reminded him of scenes from those Cold War movies where the Russians and Americans are trying to torture each other, and judging from the look on his face as he removed the beading needle from his hand, he probably wasn't far off.

Embroidery scissors in your carry-on bag: the quickest way to get a full-body pat down at the airport!

Scissors. If ever there were a contender for Most Dangerous Beading Tool of the Year, it would have to be my embroidery scissors. My favorite pair of Fiskars have tiny, wickedly sharp pointed tips that are great for snipping my nylon beading thread and getting into tight corners with my bead embroidery pieces.

I once accidentally snipped a piece of my finger tip along with my Ultrasuede, and I couldn't believe how bad my finger hurt. We couldn't decide whether or not I needed stitches, but in the end, my mother-in-law (who happens to be a retired surgical nurse) said that it would heal on its own.

Now, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says that you can't bring any scissors on an airplane with blades longer then four inches. I'd have to argue that bringing my favorite pair of Fiskars in my carry-on bag is probably the most likely way for me to get myself a pat-down when going through security!

Harmless jewelry making pliers, or jaws of death? You decide!

Jewelry making pliers. These don't sound like they'd be too dangerous, but as the mother of a four-year-old, I've seen what my jewelry making pliers are capable of in the wrong hands. Those round, pointed jaws on a pair of round nose pliers or chain nose pliers are enough to send my dog scrambling for cover when my son gets his hands on them. Somehow, I don't think the manufacturer intended on them to be used for yanking out dog fur.

And I don't even want to get into the time when my husband grabbed my good pair of German chain nose pliers and used them to remove the dead ticks from the hide of a deer he shot during hunting season. I don't have any problems with him providing us with a winter's worth of venison, I just want him to leave my jewelry making pliers out of it!

So, hey, now that you're prepared, why not throw a little caution to the wind and actually make something with those beading tools? Check out the amazing book Handcrafted Wire Findings by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. You'll find over thirty projects for making your own jewelry findings with wire and all those dangerous beading tools we love so much! Making your own wire jewelry findings is a great way to save money and add a little personal touch to your beading and jewelry making projeects. Get your copy of Handcrafted Wire Findings now during the big Interweave Store sale and get some practice with your first aid skills! I mean, make some cool wire jewelry findings!

Do you have a somewhat humorous story about being injured by your beading tools? Leave a comment here and on the blog and share it with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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