Inside an Editor's Toolbox: 5 Must-Have Tools

When I first began my job as an editor for Beadwork and Jewelry Stringing magazines, I had no prior jewelry-making experience. I had no beads, no findings, no wire–nothing. My new coworkers helped me remedy that situation very quickly. The first thing they worked on was helping me create a toolbox. Nearly ten years later, the five tools they helped me pick out are still my go-to tools for creating strung and wireworked jewelry. Today, these are the tools I recommend to anyone who is beginning a jewelry-making hobby:

1. Crimping pliers: My first jewelry teachers insisted that finishing jewelry with crimp tubes that you cinch with crimping pliers created a more secure connection than simply squishing crimp beads with flat- or chain-nose pliers. So, I learned how to use crimping pliers right away. Remember, you use the back notch of the pliers to press the tube around the ends of the wire, then you use the front notch of the pliers to fold the two halves of the tube together For more information, watch this Jewelry Stringing 101 crimping video.

2. Wire cutters: These are necessary for cutting beading and gauged wire. Just remember not use them for cutting steel memory wire. The steel wire is too hard for the cutters and will mar them. I recommend getting some quality pliers–it really makes a difference. My pliers are from Soft Flex. Co.
3. Round-nose pliers: If you want to start making loops with wire, you need to have a pair of round-nose pliers. Mine is an ergonomic pair from Lindstrom. The nose of my pliers is fairly small, which works for me since I generally make small loops. I later bought a pair of round-nose pliers with a bigger nose for those projects that require larger loops.
4. Flat-nose pliers: Another essential tool for doing wireworking, these pliers have a large, smooth nose for gripping wire without marring it. This tool is good for holding and bending wire. My ergonomic pair is from Lindstrom.
5. Chain-nose pliers: These pliers are different from flat-nose pliers in that the nose tapers a lot more, allowing you to grip wire with more precision. It's great to have two smooth-jawed pair of pliers–such as a pair of chain- and flat-nose pliers–to open and close jump rings. Again, my ergonomic pair is from Lindstrom.



Do you have other tools you recommend to new beaders? If so, share them in the comments section, please!

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