Pliers for your Projects

Chain nose, round nose, flat, nylon—what’s with all of the different types of pliers? you may ask. It does become a little overwhelming when you search for pliers and your screen fills with an array of different styles and brands. No need to worry! We’re here to help you better understand the basics behind some of our most popular pliers. We’ll introduce you to each one with a description of what they look like, what they’re used for and what they should not be used for.

Nylon Jaw Pliers

These pliers feature wide, slightly curved jaws that close flat. Nylon Jaw Pliers are ideal for work hardening—firming and strengthening metal wire—or straightening out wire ends. You can also use these pliers to clamp/close ends. Its nylon jaws protect the finish on end pieces and other findings, as opposed to a metal tool which can leave scratches. When the nylon jaws become rough, just get some nylon jaw replacements! This will save you from spending money on a whole new tool. Do not use nylon jaw pliers for opening jump rings.

Chain Nose Pliers

The smooth jaw and tapered tips with slightly rounded edges is what makes these pliers great for closing bead tips and opening jump rings. You should use TWO pairs of chain nose pliers to open and close jump rings; using one chain nose and one round nose may cause a loose grip and the jump ring will fly off your table (damaging the jump ring)! Chain nose pliers are also ideal when shaping and bending wire, but do not use chain nose pliers for crimping as this may damage the pliers.

Bent Chain Nose Pliers

What’s even better for wire wrapping than chain nose pliers? Bent chain nose pliers! The tapered tips bend at a curved angle, making it easier to reach angles and watch the wire as you manipulate it. These pliers are designed to hold components in place, and with their bent frame they stay out of the way better. Do not use these pliers for any other purpose than bending wire so that they stay polished and make professional bends each time!

Round Nose Pliers

Although they may look like chain nose pliers at a glance, upon closer inspection you’ll notice that round nose pliers have a thinner jaw and each tip has a rounded end. Round nose pliers should be used when making loops or for wire wrapping to make rounded ends. Do not use round nose pliers to open jump rings, since the rounded ends make it hard to grip correctly and the jump ring could fly off your table.

Flat Nose Pliers

These pliers have a slender jaw and flat end that resembles a duckbill—hence their name. Flat nose pliers are used to shape jewelry wire into right angles or to bend jewelry wire straight. The tips allow you to grip flat objects with ease, so they’re perfect for use in chainmail. Although they’re great for opening and closing jump rings, remember: do not use flat nose pliers to create loops out of metal wire because the ends will only make straight edges.

Multi-Sized Looping Pliers

This nifty tool is a favorite among designers! The jaws offer six different sizes to use in descending order, from closest to the grips to the ends of the tips. Use multi-sized looping pliers to make jump rings, ear wires, bails, clasps and more! They’re also perfect for wire wrapping. Do not use multi-sized looping pliers to open and close jump rings.

Crimping Pliers

These pliers are another must have for designers! The jaws on these pliers features two notches designed for properly crimping a crimp tube. One notch presses down on the tube to flatten (crimp) it one direction, while the other notch flattens the tube in the other direction. There is a selection of different crimping pliers to choose from, but the most common will have a slight bend in the jaw to enhance your view while crimping. Make sure that while crimping to use a gentle squeeze or you may damage the crimp tube. Do not use crimping pliers for any other purpose than to crimp, and be sure to use the appropriate size crimp tubes with the pliers. The Mighty Crimper pliers are designed for thicker crimp tubes (size 3mm or larger) and for crimp covers, the Micro Crimper pliers help when working with very tiny crimp tubes (size 1mm or smaller). Use standard crimping pliers (the ones with the bend) with size 2mm crimp tubes, a common size used in most jewelry designs.

Magic Finding Pliers

These special pliers are designed specifically for use with the Magic Finding, a small circular crimp with multiple holes that allows you to crimp up to seven strands of wire at once. Like crimping pliers, these have two small notches—or stations—designed to perfectly crimp the finding. Their thick jaws should help you identify them among other crimping pliers. Do not use the Magic Finding pliers for any other purpose than with the Magic Finding (Magic Multi-Purpose Finding) and the Magic Finding Omega Insert.

Split Ring Pliers

Save your fingernails with these pliers! Their sharp, pointed jaws are designed to open split rings with ease and attach the ring to your design in a snap. One jaw has a straight point that holds the split ring while the other curves in to open it. This is the perfect tool to use when making a charm bracelet! Do not use split ring pliers to open jump rings because jump rings need to open in opposite directions.

We hope this helps you the next time you decide to add to your tool box. Don’t be scared of the selection—embrace your new understanding and focus in on the right pliers for your project.


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  1. Reply

    Great post Marissa…certainly helpful for anyone who’s not tried a specific type of plier. I ‘ve a pair of everything except the Magic Finding Pliers and the Split Ring Pliers… I’ve not used the Magic Findings and I use another tool for split rings.

    When doing wire work I’ve always got my nylon jaw pliers beside me, they are invaluable for straightening/firming wire during the wrapping process without damaging the wire. Definitely a favorite tool is the multi-sized looping pliers…they make forming ear wires a breeze…because the barrels are so wide I usually make four wires at a time.

    Great info…

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