The third in my series about tools and techniques. Pliers. These are the five I use most often but I am always picking up new pairs here and there at DIY shops and car boot sales. You can find vintage and second hand ones for pennies, especially if you value those which have a bit more character but if you do go for a vintage pair -make sure you check the closing mechanism and try how they feel in your hand – the joint can stiffen with age and might need a bit of maintenance before they are comfortable to use.

From left to right.

1. Half round pliers. For bending rings and curves, these ones have one curved surface to bend against and one flat smooth face so as to not mark the metal.

2. Flat nose. With a slightly tapered end, I have four or five pairs of these because they are so useful but I always mislay them somewhere. It’s good to have at least two pairs though, one for each hand. It makes jobs like opening jump rings or making bead links so much easier.

3. Side cutters. These ones are DIY rather than jewellery pliers so they are a bit more heavy duty. The don’t leave a flat end to the wire when you snip it but they go through just about anything – even stainless steel pin wire.

4. End cutters. These are made for jewelers so they are a bit smaller, they leave the cut surface flatter and are good for getting into difficult spots such as cutting down a rivet ready for hammering.

5. Round nose pliers. Designed for making loops and bends in wire, again I have a few pairs of these and couldn’t be with out them.

6. Large round nose pliers. As above but with a thicker diameter. These are a vintage pair I picked up at a car boot sale.

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