Which Wire Cutters Are Best For Me?


From Jennifer: A couple of summers ago, I realized that I needed to upgrade my wire jewelry making tools. I had just embarked on a series of projects using beadweaving and wire jewelry making, and as I worked, I realized that my wire cutters, in particular, were in dire need of replacement. I didn't have a lot of money to spend, but I knew that I was making an investment in my jewelry making tools by purchasing a good pair of heavy-duty wire cutters. 

Three years later, my heavy duty wire cutters are still in great shape. Spending the money on this important wire jewelry making tool was a smart investment for me, especially now that I'm finding the joy in making my own ear wires and wire jewelry clasps.

If you or someone you know isn't quite sure about what kind of wire cutters you need for a complete wire jewelry making toolbox, check out today's guest blog, written by artist Jan Atherton. Jan has a couple of great tips for buying and using your wire jewelry making tools — especially those pricey wire cutters! Take it away, Jan!


From Jan:

When you first start beading and making wire jewelry, the choice of wire tools available can be quite overwhelming. You want to make sure that you have the proper wire jewelry making tools, but you don't want to buy tools that are expensive and unnecessary. A good basic tool kit includes a pair of round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flush cutters and a pair of heavy duty wire cutters called flush cutters.

Shopping Tip: I always like to buy cutters where I can try them out to see how comfortable they are and how well they cut. It helps me to avoid expensive mistakes when purchasing a new pair of wire cutters!

For wire under 18 gauge, a pair of regular flush cutters will work just fine. These cutters have one flat side with a pointed tip, which allow you to get right  into tight spaces like the base of wrapped loops, and give a neat, smooth cut that requires little further finishing. For wire heavier than 18 gauge, use a set of heavy-duty wire cutters, similar to what you would use for cutting memory wire.

Memory wire is a stiff, tempered steel wire that can be very difficult to cut. For cutting memory wire, I like to use a pair of hardware store electrician's pliers with a wire cutter/stripper at one side of the jaw. There are also wire cutters just for memory wire available from many jewelry supply companies. If you make a lot of memory wire jewelry, it's worth investing in a pair of these pliers.

Artist's Tip: When using memory wire, use a cup file to smooth the ends of your memory wire before making any loops! It will give your memory wire jewelry a more professional finish and make it more comfortable to wear.

wire-jewelry-making Using the right type of wire cutter for your wire jewelry making project is important for extending the life of your jewelry tools. Check out this photo of my first pair of wire cutters, which I used to cut memory wire. Can you see the dents in the jaws made by cutting the memory wire? Using these regular flush cutters for cutting memory wire also broke the spring on these cutters!

So if you've recently invested in a new set of wire jewelry making tools (like a good pair of wire cutters), it's time to take those tools for a spin with some of the great projects in Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine! You'll always find a wonderful array of wire jewelry making projects along with the latest information on new wire jewelry making tools, findings, beads and more! Don't miss a single issue — subscribe to Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine and find out where your creative jewelry making path will take you next.

Now it's your turn to share with us! What was the best investment you ever made when it comes to your wire jewelry making tools? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us about your jewelry making tool purchase and why it was a smart buy!

Bead Happy,


About today's guest blogger: Jan Atherton is a Scottish artist who has been transplanted to the Chicago, Illinois area. Her work evokes both the landscape colors and seasonal changes of both Scotland and Chicago. She is greatly inspired by the sparkling waters on Loch Linnhe and Lake Michigan, the sun peeking through the clouds after a storm and flaming sunsets. She started beading to add some sparkly to her embroidery projects, but she quickly fell hard for those tiny treasures. She holds a BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of Art in Visual Communications. She is also a Certified Level 1 Precious Metal Clay Artisan and has taught PMC and beadweaving extensively throughout the Chicago area. You can see more of her work at her website and contact her for information about private classes.



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