To start out in chainmaille, all you need are two sets of pliers. But what kind of pliers should you buy? Here’s the abridged version on the two most common types – chain nose and needle nose.
Technically, needle nose pliers are thinner, finer versions of chain nose pliers. Unfortunately, this description does not always apply since there are so many manufacturers of so many different styles and sizes of pliers. So while it’s important to pay attention to what the pliers are called, there are other factors that are actually more important.
Chainmaille Plier Buying Guide
1. Not round nose
Round nose pliers are for curling and wrapping wire. They do not allow for a good, strong grip on jump rings that is needed for chainmaille. Make sure that you are buying chain nose, needle nose or even flat nose pliers, as long as they fit your other requirements.
2. Smooth face jaws
One of the essential considerations is the surface texture of the pliers’ inner wall. Ideally, you will want flat, non-marking pliers as opposed to pliers with ribbed or serrated jaws. Using pliers that have toothy jaws is a sure fire way to mar the smooth appearance of your jump rings. Pliers with a smooth inside surface have a much smaller chance of damaging your metals while you work.
3. Small tip width
The next factor to consider is the width of the plier tips. I recommend using pliers with tips that are no wider that 2mm; widths of 1.5mm and 1mm are definitely preferable. This will allow you so much more maneuverability, especially when working with smaller jump rings.
Although this may not impact you much at first, you will definitely notice the handle style of your pliers after a while, especially if you are working on a time-intensive project. Wherever possible, I like to use pliers that have gel handles that conform to the shape of my grip or pliers that have ergonomic handles.