Pliers FAQ

What are all the different pliers for? Here’s a rundown:

Round Nose Pliers (also called needle nosed) – These have cones on the end. Their sole purpose is for making loops and round shapes. They are not good for holding wire still.

Chain Nose Pliers – Flat pliers that come to a point. These are good for getting into tight spots, flattening crimp beads, opening and closing jump rings and holding wire in place. 

Bent Chain Nose Pliers – The same as Chain Nose pliers but with a bent end. These are great for tightening coils and getting into narrow spots.

Flat Nose Pliers – These are the same as Chain Nose pliers but they don’t come to a point – their diameter is the same the whole length of the jaw. These are good for holding the wire in place, flattening crimp beads and chain mail.

Nylon Jaw Flat Nose Pliers – Same as Flat Nose pliers but with nylon coating on the jaws. These are for making spirals and straightening wire.

Cutters – Essential pliers for cutting wire. Side cutters can get up close for a more flush cut. End cutters provide a less jagged edge when cutting wire. Heavy duty cutters are for cutting heavy gage wire.

Bail Making Pliers – These are like round nose pliers, but the cones are the same diameter the whole length of the jaw. They are for making consistently sized loops and bails. Some have several diameters in one plier.


Using Liver of Sulfur

One of the most frequent questions in the store is how to use liver of sulfur. This is a chemical sold in liquid or rock form that gives metal a patina. It primarily lends an oxidized black color to sterling and other metals. It is great for giving your piece an antique finish, or for highlighting areas that have been textured or stamped. Dedicate two plastic bowls (tupperware is perfect) and an old pair of pliers or tweezers for this. Place warm to hot water in one, ice cold water in the other. Place a drop of liver of sulfur liquid or one rock pellet in the warm water. It will start turning yellow and smelling like rotten eggs immediately. Dip your metal in with your pliers, not your hands. Dip your metal in the liver of sulfur solution and then right into the cold water. Do this several times until achieving the color you want. The cold water halts the coloration process. You can then rub the piece with steel wool to get off any oxidation you don’t like.