The Complete Guide to Buying Tools for Making Jewellery

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The Complete Guide to Buying Tools for Making Jewellery

Jewellery making is a rewarding hobby for many creative minds. Some consumers make jewellery for their own personal use, while others make it to sell or give as gifts. Making jewellery allows crafters to create custom pieces for a much lower cost than purchasing ready-made jewellery. However, without an understanding of the tools necessary to make jewellery, getting started can be a challenge.

Jewellery making requires a certain level of skill, as well as a variety of tools.. Whether kicking off a new hobby or a starting a business, users should know which tools are necessary. From pliers and cutters to wire, hammers, and thread, aspiring jewellery makers need an understanding of what it takes to get started. Additionally, consumers should know which tools might come in handy for special projects, and where to go when the time comes to purchase the tool kit.

Pliers and Cutters

Whether stringing gemstones on a wire or threading beads for a bracelet, every jewellery maker needs some basic tools. A well-stocked jewellery tool box contains pliers, cutters, and crimpers. These simple hand tools are available in a variety of brands and styles to suit every budget.

Pliers

Pliers make easy work of stringing beads, bending wire, and closing loops. Knowledge of the general types of pliers and their most common uses helps jewellery makers select the right tool for the job. The chart below outlines a few types of pliers commonly used to make jewellery.

Type of Pliers

Description and Application

Round Nose Pliers

Thin, round, tapered tips for creating perfect loops and bends in wire

Bent Chain Nose Pliers

Bent jaws for reaching into tight places or odd angles, lets crafters grip beads or components without blocking their line of vision

Nylon Jaw Pliers

Pliers with attached nylon contact surfaces; designed for gripping round, square, twisted, coated, plated and precious metal wires, as well as pressing or straightening wire components

Loop Closing Pliers

Have an internal groove which allows crafters to smoothly close loops, jump rings, bracelet links; designed to prevent distortion, bending or scratching of materials

Step Jaw Pliers

Round nose pliers with integrated "steps"; ideal for making loops and bends in specific sizes

Flat Nose Pliers

Basic tool for fine or delicate work, feature precision heads and well-tapered jaws

These are some of the most commonly used pliers. Experienced jewellery makers may want to add specialty pliers, such as rosary, gem-setting, and split-ring pliers, to their tool boxes.

Wire Cutters

Wire cutters are necessary in nearly every type of jewellery making. A standard set of wire cutters is sufficient for most applications. The best wire cutters are sharp and make flush, flat cuts. A flush-cut wire requires less filing on the ends.

Cup Bur

A cup bur removes burs from the end of cut wire and rounds the ends. This is useful when the ends of the wire are exposed, such as in ear wires. The bits on cup burs wear out with use and need to be replaced regularly.

Hammers for Jewellery Making

The majority of jewellery designs do not require hammers.. Therefore, beginner jewellery makers rarely purchase them. However, experienced jewellery makers find them useful for some items, such as one-piece earrings. Hammers and anvils are used together to harden, flatten, or round wire components.

Chasing Hammer

A chasing hammer has a smooth, flat face. Together with an anvil, it is used to round and harden portions of wire components. This technique is commonly used on the part of a wire earring that goes through the ear. Chasing hammers with large heads are preferable, as the edge of the hammer can leave marks on the surface of the wire.

Nylon Hammer

Chasing hammers can flatten the surface of wire. Nylon hammers are used to harden a wire when flattening is not desirable. Dual-purpose hammers have a chasing hammer on side and a nylon hammer on the other. While these tools adequately perform both functions, they are typically not recommended by experienced jewellery makers.

Anvil

A necessary companion to any jewellery hammer, an anvil provides a solid, flat surface when hammering wire designs. Jewellery makers use anvils to give a more professional finish to wire work. Blemishes are common on the surfaces of less expensive anvils, and do not affect their functionality.

Other Jewellery Making Tools

There are few other tool box requirements for jewellery makers. Rulers and pegs make tasks such as measuring and shaping easier. And every jewellery maker needs a supply of practice wire to try out new techniques and designs.

Metal Ruler

A ruler is typically the first tool used in every project. Crafters need to measure wire, thread, and other components before beginning any project. Metal rulers are preferred for their stability and durability. A ruler with both standard and metric measures is also handy.

Pegs

Pegs can be used to hold materials such as wire or thread in place while working, or to make rounded shapes and loops. Pegs can be purchased in sets as accessories to more complex tools, such as spiral-making jigs.

Practice Wire

Experienced jewellery makers recommend practising any new component a minimum of three times before attempting to make it with good wire. Inexpensive copper wire is an excellent choice for practising new techniques and designs. Keep a supply of practice wire in several gauges on hand to avoid costly mistakes.

Jewellery Making Supplies

Jewellery makers generally keep an inventory of basic supplies in their toolboxes. These include wires and chains for stringing jewellery, and clasps and jump rings for connecting pieces together. Some knowledge on the practical applications of these supplies ensures jewellery makers select the right item for the project.

Wire, Thread, and Beading Chains

Used to hold various other pieces intact, wires, chains, and thread are basic jewellery supplies that should be in every jewellery maker's tool box. Depending on the size, complexity, and style of the piece being made, a jewellery maker is free to choose any of these materials. Delicate items are better suited to jewellery thread, while heavier pieces require wire or chains.

Jewellery Wire

Wires are available in several different weights and finishes. Crafters can choose gold, silver, bronze, or coloured wire depending on the desired look. Wires come in a variety of thicknesses, or gauges, with the right size largely depending on the size of the beads used in the project. In general, a fine wire can be paired with seed beads, while a medium gauge wire is best used for larger or heavier beads. The heavy gauge wire is often used in projects that require the wire to be prominently displayed in the finished product, and to provide stability for other jewellery pieces.

Thread

Thread is used if a jeweller does not want visible wires or other stringing material in a final product. Clear thread, often made of a plastic or another polymer, is used to create pieces that do not display their supports. Jewellery thread is best used for smaller projects. Unless multiple threads can be attached to a piece, they are not generally able to support heavy jewellery.

Beading Chains

Chains can be used to create a heavier look, or to fill gaps between sections of beads and other parts of a piece of jewellery. They come in a range of sizes and styles, though the differences between these varieties are generally only aesthetic. Similar to wires, chains also come in a range of finishes.

Clasps and Jump Rings

Clasps are used to keep items like necklaces and bracelets closed while being worn. Clasps are available in a variety of styles. The most popular styles include lobster clasps, barrel clasps, and toggle clasps. Most consumers find toggle clasps the easiest to put on and take off.

Jump rings are small metal circles used to connect pieces that were not made to fit seamlessly. For instance, a jump ring is often required in order to attach specific types of beads to a wire. Jump rings are also used to connect two or more lengths of wire or chain into one longer piece.

Buy Jewellery Making Tools on eBay

Good jewellery making tools can be hard to find. The retail outlets that sell these supplies are scarce in comparison to those that the distribute goods for drawing, painting, pottery, and other crafts. Many jewellery crafters turn to internet sites such as eBay to find a better selection of jewellery making tools.

Finding jewellery making tools on eBay is simple. There are a few different ways buyers can search for items, but the fastest method is the built-in search feature. With a search box available on each page, shoppers can begin a search from anywhere on the site. Just type in the name of the item needed into the search box (for example, "round nose pliers&") to return all the listings matching that criteria. At this point, simply browse through the listings, or used the Advanced Search feature to narrow results further. Filters such as budget range, buying format, and location make it easier to find the exact item needed.

Conclusion

Many consumers enjoy wearing one-of-a-kind, handmade jewellery pieces. These items are generally more affordable than fine jewellery, but still offer the appeal of something unique. Some individuals make jewellery for themselves or for the special people in their lives. Others make jewellery to sell as a hobby or full-time business. Regardless of the purpose, all jewellery crafters require the right tools to get started or remain in the trade.

From simple wires and threads to various types pliers and hammers, there are numerous items necessary to fill a jewellery maker's tool box. For the aspiring jewellery maker, familiarity with the basic tools and supplies is the best place to start. This allows crafters to quickly identify what is needed to get up and running immediately and what items can be purchased later. Combined with the knowledge of how to use them, familiarity with the tools of the trade and where to find them are the keys to success.

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