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Bead Mecca's Tool Tips
Our glossary of jewelry making tools will help you learn which tool you need for different beading techniques. Using the proper tools is important in achieving professional results and will make your experience creating beautiful jewelry a more comfortable and enjoyable one.
Chain Nose Pliers
These are a staple in jewelry tools. They are similar to a needle nose plier with a tapered jaw, but the jaw is shorter and the inside is smooth so it does not mar the wire. The jaw or nose of the plier comes straight or bent. Chain nose pliers are used to bend, grip and manipulate wire. They are also used for crimping, opening and closing jumprings and earwires and tucking the ends of wire wrapped loops. The bent chain nose plier is preferred by some wire workers as the angle helps you get in to tight spots.
Crimp Pliers
Crimp Pliers are used to get a more secure and professional finish to your crimp beads when stringing on flexible beading wire. They come in 3 sizes, but the 2 step process is basically the same and the size tool used depends on the size of the crimp beads and wire you are using.
The micro crimp tool works with 1x1mm crimp beads.
The regular standard size works with 1x2mm, 2x2mm and #9 or #12 French crimps.
The mighty crimp tool is used with 3x3mm, the #16 or #20 French crimp beads.
To learn how to use a crimp plier look at our crimping tutorial.
Round Nose Pliers
The round nose pliers have smooth, tapered conical shaped jaws that are used to form simple loops and wire wrapped loops when making earrings or linked jewelry. Look for jaws that are well machined and perfectly round. They should have a good taper to allow you to create different sized loops. When you hold them closed you should not have a large gap between the jaws and the tips should line up. To learn to make perfect loops see our basic simple loop tutorial.
Wire Cutters
Good wire cutters are important to getting professional results. The type of cutters will vary depending on what material you are cutting. When working with wire you need a flush cutter that will give you a clean, close cut that leaves very little tail end to deal with. Flex wire cutters have a harder cutting blade and will not pit as easily. Memory Wire Cutters are hard wire cutters that are for used for hardened steel. Do not cut memory wire without them, as it will ruin the cutting blade.
Beading Awl
This tool looks like a heavy needle with a handle on it. It is most often used to get the knots close to the beads when knotting pearls or gemstones. It can also be to pierce through fibrous materials, but be careful as this can bend or damage the tip of the awl. To learn to knot with an awl see our pearl knotting tutorial.
Beading Tweezers
Beading tweezers have a very fine tapered tip that is essential for picking out undesirable knots. Many people prefer using tweezers as an alternative method of knotting between beads.
Bead Reamer
A bead reamer looks similar to an awl, but is covered with a diamond surface that, when used properly, will help smooth rough edges or enlarge bead holes.
Split Ring Pliers
These specialty pliers have a bent tip on one side that is used to pry open the split rings that are otherwise difficult to use.
Beading Needles
Beading needles come in various sizes, the smaller the needle size, the larger the needle. Beading needles differ from sewing needles because they have a narrower eye to allow you to pass through bead holes multiple times and are a little longer to allow you to pick up beads while beadweaving. Sharps, are shorter which makes them stiffer and ideal for bead embroidery. Glover's needles have a triangular tip that allows you to pierce through leather. To see which size needle you need for the seed beads you are using look at our needle chart.
A jewelers hammer or chasing hammer is used to harden, flatten or texture metal and wire. One side is flat or slightly convex to flatten the wire and the other side has a ball peen for achieving texture. Always start with soft metal if you plan to hammer, as it will work harden.
A bench block is made from hard machined steel. It is used as the support for the metal or wire that is being hammered. It is important to use a block that is completely smooth, with no pits or marks as they will transfer to your work.

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