Adina's Artistry

An Artist’s journey through the world of Arts and Crafts. Come and enjoy my projects and stories about making jewelry, knitting, and whatever crazy art/craft project I have going!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buying tools for Wire-Working

Everyone has been asking for me to make up a list like this. Sorry it took so long, but here it is. There things are a great starting place for anyone interested in wire-working will need to make jewelry.

Most of the items are available through any Jewelry Supplier such as Rio Grande, Thunderbird,, or Indian Jewelry Suppliers,

Fire Mountain Gems,, carries a large number of good quality pliers, but not all the specialty pliers you may need down the line. The most important thing to remember is to get the best you can afford. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton of money, but in this craft, quality matters and the least expensive tool, is usually the worst.

Tools for wire-working:

Pliers: Round nose, extra long round nose (yes you really need both), two pairs of chain nose pliers, bent nose pliers (I totally love these) and forming pliers. The best kind of these, are ones that have a curved side, and a flat. Don’t get the convex/concave pliers. They’re no good for what we’ll be doing.

Cutter: It’s important to have a good pair of Flush cutters. Be aware of what sizes of wire can safely be used for each pair you may purchase. If something says the maximum wire gauge is 14. Don’t try to cut something thicker! It might succeed a few times, but you’ll wear out your cutters very fast and run into more safety issues.

Hammers: A good chasing hammer is a must! A ball peen hammer, available at most home improvement stores will be good, too. The problem is that it needs to be polished and dressed to be able to use without scratching your metal. For this you need access to polishers and other equipment most people don’t have, which is why I say to go with the chasing hammer, since it needs no alteration.

Mallets: A good, lead-loaded rawhide mallet is best. If you can’t get one of these, a nylon mallet is a good substitute for a lot less money.
Bench Block: This is a square piece of steel for hammering. You can only work on a piece of jewelry as large as the bench block you have, so buy the largest size you can afford.

Mandrels: These are steel forms for making jewelry. If you plan on making rings, you need a ring mandrel. Same thing goes for bracelets. They cost anywhere from $15-$150 dollars depending on size and weight. Just make sure you get steel, not metal or plastic, and that the mandrels taper from size to size. There are some that "step" from one to another, but these aren’t very good and will cause you more trouble than they’re worth.

Files: A set of needle files and a couple of hand files can be purchased from the home improvement store. But you’ll actually pay less through a jewelry mail-order place, and get a better piece.

Remember if anyone wants help going through catalogs, picking out what to order, just give me a call or an email. I hope this helps get you started on what you need to set up your own wire-jewelry workshop!


  • At 4:00 PM, Blogger Dave Robertson said…

    Hi, Adina,

    Very informative article! FYI, Rings & Things sells a number of affordable, decent-quality tools for wireworking. A selection is at


    at Rings and Things

  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger Sally said…

    Thank you, Adina, for the materials list. I have loved your classes. I am very excited about getting started on my own small business. You are an inspiration!




Post a Comment

<< Home