Pliers and cutters

You will need a good pair of wire cutters and two or three kinds of pliers. There are three types of pliers used in making wire jewelry round-nose, flat-nose, and chain-nose—although, to get started, round-and flat-nose ore the most essential. It is well worth investing in good-quality versions.

Round-nose pliers have tapered shafts, around which you bend the wire—so they ore ideal for

Chain-nose piiers ore similar to flat-nose pliers, but have tapered ends. They are useful for holding very smoll pieces of wire and for fabricating more intricate and delicate pieces, os well as for bending angulor shopes in wire.

Wire CurTERS ore available in several forms, but I find that "side cutters" are the most useful, as they have small, tapered blades that can cut into small spoces. Always hold the cutters perpendicular to the wire when cutting to achieve a clean cut.

A jig is used to form elaborate loops and wire patterns. Jigs ore readily available from craft stores. Alternatively, you can make your own from a block of wood and some carpenter's nails.

A jig consists of a bose board with a series of evenly spaced holes and moveable pegs with tops of different diameters, which you arrange in a pattern of your choosing. You then wrap wire around the pegs to create o decorative wire design. The benefit of using a jig is that it enables you to replicate the design os many times as you wish, in the certainty that each unit will be identical.

mandrel (top), nuriud with gradations sfurwbtg standard n ng sizes, and an improxized mandril (bottom)—a sJwn length of wooden dowel

Hammer and flat steel stake

These lools are used to flatten and toughen wire motifs {see page 21), so that they can take the strain of being worn without distorting and falling opart. You con use almost ony kind of hammer, provided it has a smooth, Hal steel end, although specialist jewelry hommers are generally small and lighter than general-purpose household hammers, so you may find them easier to use.

Steel stakes can be bought from specialist jewelry stores. As with hommer heads, the surface of the stoke must be polished smooth, otherwise the wire will pick up any irregularities that ore present. Always keep the hammer head at right angles to the wire being hit, otherwise you will obtain a textured surface.

Above: A jewelry hammer and steel stake, used to flatten and work-fwrJiii »•iff motif v.

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