Wire Wrapping Tools

This pictorial guide to basic wire wrapping tools that every wire artist should possess was originally created by Tela Formosa for a book she wrote, and has been republished here on www.RockTumbling.com with permission.

Tela Formosa logo

The question about what to tools to get gets asked a lot. So, here is a one stop thread for tools and comments- add what you like, too. This is just what I think and what I use. I am a traditional border wrapper. If you are doing other styles of wrapping you may want to add other tools, such as a drill for coiling. These are old pictures that went into a book I wrote, but my tool use changes as I change and as I find new and or better tools. These are the basics.

First and foremost, I use a lot of different width flat nose pliers. You may want to add chain nose as well, although I don’t use them. Also, as mentioned in a recent forum post, you might find nylon jaw flat nose very useful, too. You can straighten wire with them.

Flush cutters for getting a nice parallel cut on the end of your wire. There are many to choose from. Not all of the expensive ones are good and not all of the cheap ones are bad. In the picture, the ones on the left are very inexpensive. On the right are some heavy duty Lindstrom- much more expensive. Semi flush are also used a lot, but you will have to be more careful about filing the ends of your wire.

I use a cheap and dull thin bladed knife a lot. They are good for separating wires. You will want a double ended pin vice if you want to twist wire. (Shown in the picture taken apart.) Not pictured is some kind of file or cup bur to round/debur/smooth your wire ends. There are plenty to choose from. I use a small needle file and a cup bur for earring wires.

You will probably want some needle nose pliers for making round shapes. They come in a variety of sizes and prices. I don’t recommend the Beadalon pair. They were pitched soon after the pic was taken. As with most of my tools, except for cutters, I prefer the Rio Grande Swanstrom tools (or, their cheaper German Rio tools). They are more expensive, but worth every penny and you can have them reconditioned.

Some people don’t know this, but you really can’t make a proper bail without bailing pliers. So, I find them indispensable. And besides, they come in handy for a lot of other things, too.

As you become a more proficient and experienced wrapper, you will be adding a lot of tools that you don’t always use but can’t do without for some things. This is an old picture. I have added more things to it and gotten rid of some, but as you can see there are lots of things that you can add to your arsenal. You’ll be picking up all kinds of things for use as mandrels.