A commonly asked question from those who are new to wire working is what kind of tools are recommended for beginners? Beyond the essential wire wrapping tools, a tool that is highly recommended if you plan to do a lot of wire wrapping and wire working is a pair of flat nose pliers with Nylon jaws.
Nylon jaw pliers come in really handy for a couple of different things. Most of the following techniques apply to the smaller gauges of wire like 22, 24, and 26 gauge, but not so much the larger gauges of wire, so just keep that in mind.
First, you can use flat nose nylon jaw pliers to straighten wire that’s right off the coil or spool.
So if you’d like to eliminate that curve before you start working with the wire, all you have to do is pull the wire through the jaws of the pliers several times until you get the wire nice and straight. These pliers are also good for straightening out kinks in your wire. This same technique applies – just use a slightly stronger grip to pull out the kinks. Sometimes you might make a mistake and want to try and fix it without wasting the wire.
The process of wrapping wire, unwrapping it, straightening it, and then wrapping it again can make the wire really brittle and that’s more so with some materials than others, so please just use your best judgment.
Carefully inspect the wire after straightening to see if it seems strong. If it seems really chewed up or brittle or you have any deep gouges or grooves in the wire, it’s best to just start over. Brittle wire breaks very easily, and you don’t want that! Another way you can use flat nose nylon jaw pliers is to grip your work to bend your wire without leaving tool marks.
This is especially handy if you’re working with soft wire, including craft wire or artistic wire and you want to avoid those unsightly tool marks. If you’re making spirals, for example, it can be difficult to avoid marring the wire as you work. You do have to squeeze really really tightly or the piece will just slip around while you try to make the spiral.
Finally, nylon jaw pliers can be used to ‘work harden’ jewellery wire. So if you have a wire that’s a little bit too soft for a project and you want to give it a bit more strength, you can simply pull the wire through the jaws of these pliers until you start to feel it harden up. You don’t want to go overboard with this though because remember – the process of working the wire like this can make it more brittle.
Just pay attention to the feel of the wire and stop when you start to feel it change.
Nylon jaw pliers are made with removable jaws because pulling wire through them eventually leaves grooves in the nylon. When they start to get really chewed up like this, you’ll need to change the jaws for a fresh pair.