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Durston pliers

This is a positive review of some Durston pliers.

Recently I wanted to make a bunch of ear wires, so gave it a try with a Wigjig my daughter got some years ago. It sort of worked, but not great, and it was tedious. Then I remembered that Rob Meixner posted a much better solution. A search found this:

How To Make Ear Wires Thanks, Rob!

Not having stepped pliers like his I checked the usual sources but didn’t see any as complete as his. I saw a few that were inexpensive, and then Durstons in two sizes at Otto Frei. $30 a pair for quality pliers seemed like a good buy to me. That’s about half what my flat nose Lindstroms cost. So I ordered those and they just arrived.

They are solid. They look very well made and have a nice feel to them. Much heftier than my flat-nose Lindstroms. That might be due to the different design of the pliers. The larger stepped pliers do have a lot of metal at the working end, but the shafts are also twice as wide.

It is hard to tell size from a website photo, but Durston flat nosed pliers may be similar in size, possibly more robust, than Lindstroms. At almost half the price Durstons are worth considering.

When I saw the Durston pliers ad on Orchid I just assumed they’d be expensive. They are not. I think they are a great buy.

Neil A


Neil…I think that I bought the pliers that I used in the PDF at Michaels. They work well if all you are doing is bending light wire. I do like Durston pliers. I have since stamped a number into each step in the pliers for reference when I document how I make things for whomever inherits my shop. Since I wrote the PDF, I have made one change. Both ends of the wire are sharp. I used to sand and polish them, but have found that I can ball them easily with my PUK leaving a very smooth finish. You can do the same things with a cup bur. I have also started using argentium or sterilium to cut down on tarnish. I am not sure if it is true, but argentium and sterilium don’t seem to work harden as fast as sterling when they are being drawn down, so I do my last anneal at 16 gauge. I just made 26 pairs getting ready for the show I will be doing in the fall…Rob


are these them?


well, i am thinking about a half round drawplate anyway, and i hate to pay shipping for just one item…omg!!!


are these them?

A-yup, those are them. :slightly_smiling_face: The overall size is standard, but I think the metal shafts / hinges are thicker than other pliers. The 140mm pliers are fairly modest in size, the 160 is definitely heavier due to the larger steps. I like the heft of them.

Neil A

I have since stamped a number into each step in the pliers

I was thinking of using a marker on the outsides, that wouldn’t receive wear. Stamping is a great idea, but I don’t have stamps.

I think a cup bur would be quicker, and since I’m of the “if a little is good then more is better” school, I think a cup bur would be safer. :slightly_smiling_face:

…argentium and sterilium don’t seem to work harden as fast as sterling when they are being drawn down

It’s been a long time since I’ve used standard sterling, but Argentium is softer until you preciptiation (heat) harden it.

Good luck with your show!

Neil A

i am thinking about a half round drawplate anyway

For those who don’t know, Otto Frei probably has the largest selection of drawplates in the U.S. It’s interesting how different suppliers may carry different inventory, specialize in some things, and it’s good to know which one has what.

Neil A

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