Originally Orchid was a safe location where serious, well trained
Jewelry “Smiths,” could post to share helpful normally
or traditionally not revealed publicly amongst one another. There
was appreciation, not challenges. I have long been an advocate for
well constructed Workshops given by noted experts happily exchanging
their methods with students paying a fee.
A new fad be it Wire or Metal Clay came along with new participants,
some eager to learn others eager to argue. Some long time member
simply left, others reduced the posts. This is an open Forum, so
most were welcomed.
Today, while reading an online Jewelry site I saw what I perceive to
be different opinions on the same tool, it amused me. One comes from
a highly trained and regarded Jeweler and Instructor, the other from
an Editor whose entry into Jewelry Making has been well publicized
along her journey to several well presented Workshops.
One expresses the need to totally feel the tool in the hand without
anything interfering with sensing the tool as it is working. Michael
David Sturlin is a wonderful example of this and he stresses the
value in every workshop I attended. The other the need for exactly
what the first suggests removing. Different strokes, different
folks. You decide for yourself.
This first statement is from Alan Revere and was well shared over
Alan says, "Many pliers come from suppliers with cutesy handles and
springs that diminish their function. Rubber or plastic handles make
it cheaper for manufacturers because they do not need to clean up
the handles. just cover them in plastic for the hobby market. Aside
from the garish and distracting colors they usually choose, the feel
of rubber or plastic is downright slimy, just not as nice as metal.
You lose the sense of what is going on by having the cushion. So
take a blade and strip off the handles. The metal below may be a
little rough, but it can be filed down. As long as it is
comfortable, that’s fine; it does not need to look pretty.
Ultimately you have greater control by holding metal handles.
"The other extra that manufacturers often add to pliers is a pair of
springs. These are even worse than the handles, because they reduce
your ability to get tactile feedback. You must squeeze to overcome
the spring and then gauge how much to squeeze further to hold the
item. The only advantage of these springs is that they open the
pliers. But anyone can figure that out by slipping a little finger
inside the handles to open them up. So take a blade and pop these
off, too. If there is an objectionable weld mark, use a grinding
wheel (wear goggles!) to remove it.
“Traditional high-quality European tools do not include these two
add-ons for good reason. Both diminish the quality and function of a
pair of pliers.”
This second statement is from Helen Driggs, Editor and student
turned into instructor.
As I gathered together the for this feature, I received
some brand new Ultra Ergo pliers by EuroTool. I was eager to give
them a try because I have a damaged right elbow tendon connection
caused by my death grip on the computer mouse. Because of this,
extensive looping can be rough for me sometimes. I used the pliers
for several evenings of wire-wrapping and really like the way the
spring-back feature of the grips kept hand and elbow fatigue at bay.
I’ve got big hands, and the grips on these pliers are long and
padded enough not to hurt. The tips are small, short, and strong,
and I was able to move 10-gauge wire easily. They are a good fit for
me, and you might like to give them a try if you have RSI
(repetitive stress injury) issues.
Alan’s opinion comes from his personal need to feel his tool as it
works. Helen’s opinion comes from her need to protect her hands and
joints from tool use injury.
Both speak from experience, I have my own take on this. What I can
say is I see these methods posted on the same page as confusing or
mixed. What is someone reading this able to take away positively
from this message?