When I started beading, I admit to being very confused by all the different types of pliers. So, I have written a series of posts to help you tell the difference. This one focuses on flat nose pliers.
I’m going to be answering the questions: what are they? Why do you need them? How do you choose a pair?
What are flat nose pliers?
Once you understand that the ‘nose’ of a pair of pliers refers to the metal section, or the jaw, this question answers itself! So, on flat nose pliers, the metal section is fairly wide and flat.
Take a look at the photo. You may feel these look familiar. They are a jewellery-making tool, but you will also find them in electrical supplies. Is there any difference? No, not really. So, if you have a partner, family member or friend who already has a lot of DIY or electrical tools, you may be able to borrow theirs!
Why do you need flat nose pliers?
I’ve already mentioned jewellery making. Well, you are most commonly going to use flat nose pliers for this craft.
They are great for gripping, basically. So, you may find yourself gripping findings, like jump rings.
Think of these pliers as being like an extension of your hands. While your fingers may find it fiddly to grip a small piece of wire, the pliers do the job more easily.
So, you will use the pliers to hold an object firmly and allow you to manipulate it. I sometimes use them to help me hold small beads as well – just be careful not to squeeze hard and break the bead!
All different types of pliers are also commonly used for wire-work projects. If you want to find out more about that, then I can thoroughly recommend this book: Mastering Wirework Jewelry by Rachel Norris.
A little aside…
I was about to say that you won’t need flat nose pliers for bead-weaving. But then I remembered a little sneaky cheat I sometimes use
If I’ve stitched a bead in the wrong place and it’s going to be tough to remove it, I sometimes break the bead! So, I would use flat nose pliers to do this.
You can manipulate the bead outwards, then grip it with the pliers and squeeze hard to break it.
Just remember to shield your eyes though – the bead is glass and breaking it will send tiny shards of glass flying around! Also take care not to break the thread at the same time.
How do I choose flat nose pliers?
If you are new to all this, you may find yourself overwhelmed with choice. You’re probably not going to be surprised to hear that there are a lot of manufacturers out there. Also, a lot of price points!
My general advice is not to buy the cheapest tools. With these pliers, you may find defects like a bumpy surface on the ‘flat’ jaw. This will mark your wire and findings, so you don’t want that. You may also find that the pliers simply break quickly.
So, although it may seem like you’re getting a bargain, it’s really not if you end up having to buy ten pairs because they keep breaking!
There are a lot of good products out there. But I’m recommending a brand here that I know to be good…The Beadsmith. If you’re buying in your local shop, then look out for that brand and you know you’re getting good quality.
If you’re about to head off and shop online, then I can save you the trouble of hunting around. I’ve found these Beadsmith brand flat nose pliers and they’re a great price!
So, I hope that helps!