Tools I love

A few of the tools I love, or hate, or want.... A growing list, as my skills and direction morph and grow.... Check back another day!

If I were actually buying today, I'd compare prices - 
All-Spec has great prices and FDJ is worth a look. Keep shipping charges and minimum order in mind when comparing.
That said, If I were just starting to collect tools on a Very Tight budget, I'd Want **Wubbers chain nose, and one or both of the **cutters below (both of which I own and have loved quite well. Excellent tools worth far more than this price) -

CHP - Cutter 4-3/4" Flush Cut up to 16 AWG 2.5mm Steel
Our Price: $3.84 Regular Price: $4.37 <<---- $3.84!!!!!!!
(excellent wonderful cutters!!!! Effective on much larger gauges)

XURON - Micro-Shear® Flush Cutter with Tapered Head, 5"
Our Price: $5.27 Regular Price: $8.80
MFG's Part #: 170-II|Wire_and_Electrical_Tools|TOL-4D/801-1700.html

Keep in mind, **Lindstrom offers a $6 refurbishing service. Send them your worn out tool and they will fix or replace it for $6. So, invest once and have a quality tool for the rest of your life. (Check for current fee, as the years go by and inflation rises, still worth every penny!)

Now, what do I use currently?

**Lindstrom - small, yellow handle

#8140 semi-flush (Yup, they have a bevel, not truly flush, but they cut flush enough for most everything *I* do)

#8144 - flush

I use both/either of the above 90% of the time, up to 14g copper and sterling, tho I have used them on 12g but the 12g is easier (and safer) with larger cutters.

#RX8162 - won these in a twitter contest - Sweet! Very Nice for 12 and 10g copper. Stupid me, used them on watch gears without thinking, put a couple of notches in them. *beating up self* Must send them in for refurbishing!

Then there's the **dog nail cutters for large gauge copper. (In the photo above, in the middle, pointing down) If you have a favorite vet, try asking for their old "dull" cutters. They are almost a shear cut, smooth on both sides, and wonderfully strong for large gauge wire. I've found them at Walmart and even at the Dollar Store.

Most of my use, from teeny to 10g, copper and sterling -
*Chain nose
*Round nose
Classic size suits my hands Verra Well. Classic size handles 10g copper without a sigh, jaws are just as strong and tips are just as straight today as when I purchased them. Can't speak for Baby Wubbers and 10g copper, I haven't tried it.

Love love the **Swanstrom chain nose! (The blue chain nose in the photo above) The tip is sooo tiny, great for pressing 22g into crevices, but still strong enough that I don't worry about using them on 12g copper.

The springs arrived with too large a spread, I couldn't Even get hold of the handles, so I bent the springs closer together and now they are Perfect.
This might be the style I have, sorry, I'm not sure, they don't stamp the model number on the handle.

Then there are the **step round nose pliers (Two sizes in the photo above)
Great for making all sorts of circles and hoops and rings and loops. The jaws are Very Strong, I use them on 10-14 gauge copper All the Time.

The Wrap N Tap large barrel at FDJTools -
The 6-step barrel at FDJTools -

*Lindstrom (picked up all these at the flea market, giant discount, love them all)
small version, white handle
#7490 flat nose
#7890 long thin chain nose
#7590 teeny tiny round nose

And I have a few other versions, with and without brands, for filling in some of the other needs while working.
I've spent a small fortune on inexpensive tools. Nice learning experience, sometimes it was all I could afford, made tons of jewelry with them, so they paid for themselves. But if and when y'all can swing it, pop for the good stuff.

One lovely little red handled "chain nose" pliers with a flat tip about 2mm across. They make the perfect capture for border wrap. I picked them up at the Oshkosh EAA Fly-in several years ago for $2. They are still going strong. (ooopsie, they finally broke at the jaw :::insert great sadness::::: but they were sooooo wonderful while they lasted)
Why oh why did I not buy alllll the man had???!!!! *thunking head against wall*

I've owned a couple of the *Beadsmith black handle pliers from the local big box hobby store. Eh. Much too soon, Broke the handle off the first pair, right at the jaw, and I wasn't even squeezing all that hard. Nice enough for very fine work on very thin wire, but forget them for 14g.

****For all brands that are not Wubbers, check the edges of the jaw. Is it sharp? Give it a gentle swipe with a Very Fine file, to knock off the sharp. Reduces marks on your work exponentially. Careful not to file too much, they won't grip the wire properly.

Very Very important! When Anyone recommends Anything, take it with a grain of salt and compare their type work with the type work you do or hope to do. Many parts overlap, but my large gauge plier use is much different than someone else's fine weaving plier use. *grin*
***Hammers -

Oh, much to say about hammers, but for now, a recent find!

~~~~~  Snap-On texture hammer (click to see it's photo and details on the Snap-On site) ~~~~~
Snap-On makes a lovely body working hammer. Two faces! One side smooth, with a slight dome. The other face has tiny square pyramids, Very Close together, perfect for 12g wire!
The first project, many of which have received turquoise nuggets from Magpie Gemstones -
My most used hammer is a version of the chasing hammer, available Everywhere jewelry tools are sold. I want a slight dome for the face and a ball on the other side. The dome means less chance of the sharp edge hitting your project. Sharp edges leave Ugly Marks. The slight dome will leave interesting "facets" which add subtle texture and reflect the light in lovely ways.

***Mandrels -

Get the best you can afford, if you're going to stick with wire jewelry, it will pay for itself. 

I have several tapered, none are stepped, sometimes I'd like a stepped one, but the lust passes and I get by without. 
One is aluminum, full of dings from hammering, avoid them. 
One is a softer steel, also dinged, not as much. 
One is very hard steel, heavy, no dings, gets Tons of hammering. 
Next consideration - with or without the "dip" running the length of the mandrel. If you do lots with beads, they fit down into that dip, making the ring easier to form. But the dip makes a square spot on rings with no bead, so eeny meany miney.... 

Plastic or wood are fine if you never plan to hammer. 

Step type are great if you do lots of wide bands, otherwise with a taper you have to compensate for one side being smaller, keep switching around during the forming. 
Taper is nice if you need to "stretch" the ring to a larger size.

See above, many of the same considerations. I have an oval, because I make cuffs, which need to be wrist shaped. For my occasional bangle, find something sitting around the house - soup can anyone?

PVC "couplings" from the hardware store are fabulous mandrels, starting about 1/2 inch across for about 20 cents and going up past neck size for around $5. Get one or two of each, you'll use them all sooner or later. Strong enough for light hammering, small enough to store easily.
Found in either the plumbing or the electrical department, white or gray. Fabulous investment, very little cash.

***Odd Tools - 

~~~~~~ Lansky Fish Hook Sharpener  ~~~~~~~
Covered on the front page, but really should be listed here, too-
I use it in place of cup burrs or files. Ok, I do use files, but first choice is the Lansky.

** Lansky fish hook sharpener, like an Arkansas Stone for knives, but with 3 v-shaped channels.

I use it to smooth the ends of all gauges, from 30 to 10, they all fit. A few drags back and forth and wire ends are smoothed out. A few more drags while twisting, it's rounded nicely. Enough drags carefully aimed and you'll have a nice sharp pin. Beats cup burrs all to pieces for the kind of work I've done thus far...
This little baby was under $3 at Academy Sports but they've stopped carrying it. Many fishing stores still do, and well worth the search to find it. 
Here's a link directly to the page on Lansky's website, now in '12 it's running $4.99
If the link does not take you directly to the fish hook sharpener page, look around, it's worth the hunt.

I really Do Love My Wubbers! I have the Classic size (I have Long fingers) and find them beyond compare for heavy guage wire, 'specially my all time favs 10 and 12 gauge!


I started out with a variety of inexpensive tools, made beautiful things, upgraded as I learned my needs and as bargains came my way, splurged on a few and am always investigating more. I *am* a declared Tool 'Ho.


So, faced with the fun of polishing up a torc to ship out, the Sunshine Cloth was not doing the task (major oxidation, new owner wants Shiny!). I dug out the tube of Flitz polish, hiding away in a drawer. Boyo Howdy! That copper is Spit Spot Clean and Shiny in  the blink of an eye. Color me impressed and why oh why has it been hiding in the drawer? I picked up this tube at a Fly-in, several years ago, so I don't know where to find it locally. But I'm sure a 'net search would turn up sources, definitely worth looking for. I also highly recommend Brasso for shining up brass. mmmm pretty shiny!

Here's a shot of a day at work 


  1. Great post! I learned a lot and am "enlightened" now. Thank you for all this great info.

  2. Great site, Sherry.....very informative. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!!

  3. Your insight is very informative, Thanks for doing this.

  4. The more time I spend on your site, the more confidence I have to not only create beautiful pieces from raw copper, but on providing the quality "bling" customers expect. SUPPPPPER Site! Thanks!!!!!!!

  5. Thanks so much,, time to upgrade on so many things.. Thanks for the info and the hard work you do on the group..