Jewelry makers like any other craftsman needs tools to do their job. If you are new to jewelry making, it is not necessary to start with a large amount of tools. You do need a few to start off with, and then add more as you go. This will also allow you time to research and try a few different types of jewelry before putting a large sum of money in to tools that you really do not need.
A few tools to add to your beginning collection as you start off are, wire cutters, flat or bent- nosed pliers, round nosed pliers, jewelers' files, crimping pliers, beading awl, nylon-nosed pliers, polishing cloth, pencil, ruler , and jewelry glue. You probably could hold off on getting the beading awl. You also might want to add a few dowels of different dimensions to your toolbox also.
Wire cutters are essential to your collection. The best type to purchase, are the flushed-cut wire cutters. This type will allow you to make an even cut. This makes a much nicer finished project.
The flat or bent-nosed pliers are selected solely on your personal preference. Both types of tools do the same function. It does not really matter which piece you choose to use, but the important part is to remember to choose a piece that has a smooth surface to work with. Do not get a type that has ridges or a textured surface. Another name you may hear the flat-nosed pliers referred to as the chain-nosed pliers. They are one in the same.
Round-nosed pliers play an important part in jewelry design. They are used to make hoops, loops, and wraps for attaching beads and making designs in the wire. Solely jewelry makers use this tool. They are sold at most craft stores and jewelry suppliers.
Jeweler's files are use to smooth your wire ends. This will make your finished product look nicer. They typically are sold in sets of 10 to 12.
Crimping pliers are used to hold your wire to the clasps of your jewelry piece. It is very important to use this tool properly. If you use it incorrectly, you more than likely will not tighten the crimp and this will allow slippage of the wire. The ends will come loose and the beads will slide off. Another concern when using this tool is over working the crimp. If you squeeze and pinch it too much, the crimp will become brittle and fall apart. This also will allow the wire to slip.
The proper way to use this tool is to flatten the crimp in ridge that is close to the handle part of the tool. Once you have done this, make a t turn and squeeze the crimp in the ridge closer to the front of the mouth. This should fold the crimp in half making a nice finish. Some jewelers choose to use flat-nosed pliers and just flatten the crimp. Using the crimping tool will make a more professional crimp and will be a nicer finish.
Another jewelry technique uses knots to the beads in to place. The tool used in this process is a beading awl. It has a long pointed piece of metal and a wooden handle. This tool allows you to make secure knots against each bead. Nylon-nosed pliers are used to flatten wire without making marks on the metal. Flat-nosed pliers can be used instead, but cover the metal with a cloth to avoid damage to the wire. This tool is one that can be added later as you build your business.
If you are going to be working with wire to make jewelry, a polishing cloth is a must. It may not be noticeable, however the wire is dirty and often tarnished. The wire needs to be cleaned prior to beginning your design work.
To aid in your design process, it is important to either have a dowel or a pencil to use for coiling and circular designs. These can be purchased in different dimension if you are making your own jump rings. This will allow you to make different sizes.
A measuring tool is necessary too. It is your preference if you use a ruler, yard stick, or a tape measure. My preference is a tape measure. It is easier to keep in smaller spaces.
Jeweler's glue is another product that can be added later. It really depends on the type of jewelry you are making. Many styles do not require glue. Some jewelry makers will add a touch of glue to their beading wire when they string bracelets or necklaces. This helps to make a stronger hold and eliminates breakage. The glue is also used on nylon knots if you are using this type of material.
Starting out is so much fun. There are many varieties of jewelry to make. Be open-minded and try the different types to find your niche. It may take while, but do not be afraid to jump in and learn. It has taken me over two years to determine the material I like to work with the best. The main thing is to relax and have fun!
Happy New Year!