Beading Tools

Hey everyone, I am wondering if someone can give me any ideas on
where to get a very strong set of beading tools… Now I, already
have the set I am sure you all see in most of the tools
catalogues, but I find that they get dull very quickly… I saw a
large set of beading tools at the MJSA show in March but I didn’t
get a card… My mistake… I know there has to be a set of beading
tools made out of a harder steel or something that will stay
sharp longer… Or do any of you have any ideas on maybe work
hardening the set I already have… Oh by the way I should
mention that I did get a so called bead tool sharpening plate but
I am not impressed with its usefulness… any help on this will be
appreciated… Thanks in advance Marc Williams.

Marc, If you know someone that has a watchmakers lathe, or a
small metal lathe, they can sharpen the ends of the beading tools
for you. Scott Anderson

Okay…I’ve been doing bead jewelry (i.e. stringing)
professionally for seventeen years. What the heck is a bead tool
set? (Maybe I misunderstand the process you’re referring to; are
you making beads or stringing them? Am I missing something?)

Margery E.

In the book “Bead Setting Diamonds with Pave Applications” There
is a chapter on making and repairing beading tools.

The book is by Robert Wooding. Published by Dry Ridge CO.

You can get it from SWEST, RIO Grande or any other good jewelry

Timothy A. Hansen


Marc, I would like to try beading. Not on a large scale but
enough to have an idea how its done… thinking of trying the
illusion necklaces fad that is going around…one bead/pearl
every inch or so.

Recommendations as to reasonable source for beads and also
cultural pearls.

Do I really need a lot of new and different tools… I have a
pretty good jewelers bench?? Your suggestions,



Marc Williams- I tried to post to you off list, but was bounced
by AOL. Anyway, try using nail sets like trim carpenters use.
They are available at any lumberyard/ Home depot-type store and
cost about $1.00 and some change each and come in various sizes.
They are made of very hard tempered steel. If you find anything
better, please let me know, because I’ve also been looking for
years. I use these nail sets for punch dot backgrounds on
firearms and also on engraver platinum mountings- work well.

Ricky Low

Marc, Try Bergeron ?sp? a swiss tool company that specializes in
jewelry tools. Expect to pay a lot more for a lot better set. In
the mean time you can sharpen your old tools with the use of a
small ball burr, the appropiate size, to recut the depression in
the center of the tool. Now take a sanding disk and carefully
work around the edges to thin them to the desired taper. works
great with the softer beading tools. you can then use that
beading block to help polish the surface to produce a polished
bead. Hope theis makes sense. Frank

Marc hello!

You should be able to pick up a harder set from A. G. Findings
in Miami 1-800-327-4360. If I’m not mistaken Stuller now sells
the same or similar beading tools. The tools you have are quite
useable with a little work. The time it takes to renew a beading
tool doesn’t quite equate with the time spent. Here goes. Anneal
the tool with your torch. Red hot, air cool. Take an old ball
bur (that still cuts) and make the desired impression in the end
of the tool. Take too your beading block and gently (you will
collapse, or ruin with to heavy a hand) tap on the size bead you
want. Use the block as intended. Tap on #1 bead, #2, anneal tip
of beading tool, tap on #3, #4, anneal and finish on #5. I know
that is sounding like overkill, but you won’t need to replace a
beading block with this method. Before # 5 make sure the edge of
the tool is flat with emery board. Chase around circumference
with emery to make a uniform edge and then a final few taps on
#5. Nope not done yet. Heat again now to red hot; and quench in
water. Emery the entire tool to expose an even steel color (not
blackened and discolored, clean) you may chuck it in your
handpiece and run with emery paper in your fingers to clean.
Here is the hard part. With a very bushy reducing flame you must
start at the flat end and move the torch along the tool to the
business end, attaining what is called a “straw yellow” color on
the entire length of the tool. You must quench immediately.
Water is all that you need. Common drill rod is available and is
what beading tools are made of for the most part. I don’t like
the harder one’s for fear of chipping stones. For other steels
you quench in oil and such. After a few times this procedure
should take less than 10 minutes. When you need a sharp fresh
tool, and you have no extras, this is the way I was taught.
Personally I keep stocked, and use new when they get ratty, and
rarely sharpen. are still fairly cheap. Sorry for the length of

Smoldering fingers (chuckle!)

Dear Margery,

Beading tools don’t have anything to do with bead stringing.
They are sets of small rods with a round concave indentation. I
use mine for several things but the most common uses are in
stone setting. A “bead” is raised with a graver and the tool is
used to round out the metal so that it is a nice smooth
semi-sphere. People who prong set stones also use them to
smooth prongs. I hope you can picture it from my description,
the tools are very simple but the process is best seen.

Best Wishes,


Okay...I've been doing bead jewelry (i.e. stringing)
professionally for seventeen years. What the heck is a bead tool
set? (Maybe I misunderstand the process you're referring to; are
you making beads or stringing them? Am I missing something?)

Beading tools are used when setting diamonds and other faceted
stones in a technique called “bead setting”.

Timothy A. Hansen


I don’t have any pictures of bead settings on my web site at this time.
If you can’t find a picture, I can e-mail one to you off line.

Hi marc I have been making enamel on copper tubbing beads for 5
years now & I go to the nearest weld shop & buy stainless steel
rod which can be cut to size - then just grind with a stone wheel
-walla - a mandrel - it comes in different dia. so you can match
the dia of the tube that you want to use. I also use a Bernz O
matic #JTH7 torch I have tried the Sears one & Flex fire from
Bourget, but this one is just right for enamel & I solder my cast
wood peices & reticulate very easily, this torch can also be used
with map gas - havent had to go to that temp - propane is just
fine Aileen Geddes

Sorry, not for bead stringing. To see the use of beading tools,
look very closely at a prong-mounted faceted stone (Diamond). the
very tip of each prong should be a pretty little half-ball of
polished metal. Achieved with a concave-tipped steel rod that
burnishes or rubs the metal shiny, and more securely clamps the
stone. Beading tools typically come in sets of many sizes, and a tip renewer
is sold separately.

Marc ,just a small clarification on Frank Goss’s reply , The
company he is referring to is Bergeon (they can be found at ). They make excelent tools mainly for the
watchmaking industry but also for the jewellery trade.I studied
at The Irish/Swiss Institute of Horology in Dublin from 1986 to
1988 and we only used Bergeon tools. I am still using them
today.Frank is right about the prices, Bergeon tools are
expensive, but then you do get what you pay for.

Neil KilBane.

Hi Margery, Just sorting through the thousands of emails that
piled up while I was away from the computer the past week.
Noticed your post and wanted to fill you in. Beading tools that
they are talking about have nothing to do with actual beads as
you may have figured out by reading the posts. It has to do with
stone setting and refers to the bead that you form after using a
graver to set a stone into the metal. A beading tool smooths into
a half round bead the sharp sliver of metal that is formed from
setting the stone . Hence the misleading name beading tools. A
beading block is the tool that people use to reshape the concave
surface of the beading tool.

The Newport metals party lasted til midnight this year.

Neil, Thanks for the spelling correction (where were you when I
was in school) I had to go to the office to look it up and just
now remembered it. thanks for the web site as well. Check out
their millgrain tools for those who are disgusted with the ones
you buy here in the states.They actually make little round beads.