Tips on Selecting Tools
When purchasing tools, as your first tools, or replacement for ones
that have served you well for years, you always want to purchase the
best you can. Tools are an investment in your enjoyment with beading,
and can make or break the experience.
When you purchase tools, consider these tips. They have helped us
purchase many tools that we love!
Tools in General
Buy the best quality you can afford.
Always buy the best quality tools you can afford. Higher quality means better workmanship and higher consistency with the tools. Good examples of this include joints, handles, grips and tips. Hammer heads will be more secure to the handle. Plier joints are tighter. Plier tips will be harder, round where they should be round and flat where they should be flat.
Buy the right tool for the job.
It may seem obvious, but purchase the tools you need for the work you do. You wouldn't use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail, would you? The same philosophy goes for beading tools!
If you wire wrap, be sure to get round nose pliers for the loops. If you work with wire a lot, wire straighteners can be your best friend! If work with size 14 seed beads, size 10 beading needles will be frustrating for you!
Always use the right tool for the job. If you're unsure of what tool you should be using, ask! Beaders love to help!
Buy a size that fits your hands.
If you have small hands, working with large grip tools can be cumbersome and uncomfortable. If you have larger hands, small gripped tools can also be awkward and difficult. Try to buy tools that fit your hands.
Buy a style that fits your hands.
For the same reason you should buy a tool size that fits your hand, you should buy a style and shape that fits your hands. Everyone has different shaped hands: tools that work for one person may be awkward in another person's hands. Finger length, palm shape, previous experience: all these can be factors.
The grips of most variety of tools don't vary much: the grip of a needle nose pliers is similar among many vendors. However, there are some differences. Find a style that is comfortable in your hands.
Buy a weight that fits your strength.
Since most beading tools are small, this is usually not an issue with
beaders. However, we wanted to mention it. Heavy tools are difficult
to work with. Purchase tools you can use.
Beading Tools in Particular
Buy the right tool for the job.
Ah, yes, this point again. We're a big believer in this. Always get the right tool for the job.
Check the tips
When working with wire and beads, you don't want your tools to mar the wire. Check the tips of tools you are purchasing: serrated edges will chew your wire. Purchase tools with smooth jaws.
Consider the size of the tool.
If you do fine wire work, look for tools with fine tips. If you work with thicker wire, small tipped pliers will have a smaller area to grip, resulting in a weaker grip on your wire. Purchase tools that reflect the work you do.
Don't be afraid to experiment!
Okay, we did say always get the right tool for the job. If you're experimenting, there may not be a tool for the job yet. Experiment with your tools by using them creatively.
Try before you buy.
If you can, try using the tools you're thinking about purchasing. Bead store classes often use the same tools the store sells. If you don't want to attend a class, take a small project into a bead store to work on. Ask if you can test bead the tools.
Don't worry too much about purchasing tools: most lower quality tools will get you started, while the higher quality tools will stay with you for a long time. If you use the tools, their purchase was a good choice.
Remember, you can
always try another tool if the one you have doesn't work for you.